Meet our Synod 2019 guest speakers

Meet our Synod 2019 guest speakers

Three guest speakers will address the Living Church Synod 2019 meeting, with TedX style talks that reflect the theme of each day. Each speaker will help the Uniting Church reflect on issues facing society and therefore what areas the Church should be directing it’s time and energy toward.

Over the three days focus will be turned to social justice and inequity, climate action and community engagement.

Jon Owen will address the Synod on day one. Mr Owen took over as Pastor and CEO of The Wayside Chapel in Sydney in 2018.

Mr Owen told Insights that his talk would focus on, “rediscovering our missional voice.”

“I will be addressing ways we can take social inequality head on,” he said.

He cited his own ministry’s example of how this principle could be put into place.

“Wayside has around 12% of staff who at some stage in their lives were sleeping rough or were very close to it.”

The first day will also see the premiere of a documentary called Half a Million Steps followed by a panel discussion. Register for this free screening here.

Joshua Gilbert will be the second day speaker. Mr Gilbert is a Worimi man who uses Indigenous wisdom and values alongside agriculture and the environment. He manages PWC’s Indigenous Consulting and is an author and sought after speaker.

“My talk will focus on my experience as a young Aboriginal man, with a particular interest in agriculture and the environment,” he said.

“I want to distill my thoughts on a changing society, how this has impacted our thoughts, beliefs and faith.”

“I am currently investigating Indigenous values in agriculture, particularly livestock. Our mob have a long and close history with livestock in Australia, with various experiences that I would like to unearth, share and investigate.” 

Karina Kreminski is a Lecturer in Missional Studies at Morling College and a minister. Her book Urban Spirituality was released in 2018. The speaker for the final day, she will speak on the subject of God’s Mission in the Neighbourhood.

“What does the world need? More of the church not less,” Dr Kreminski said.

“However, the way that we have lived out the life of the church has been more of an expression of our institutionalism rather than the values of beauty, justice, mercy and humility before God. Instead of asking ‘God what are you up to in the church?’ we want to shift to ask, ‘God what are you doing in my neighbourhood?’”

“Once we discern what God is doing locally and we connect with his Spirit there, we will be able to embody Christ’s love to our neighbours. In an increasingly polarised world we can begin healing though our daily interactions with the people who we live with and bring change into that space so that we see the reign of God manifest before our eyes.

“When we embody the gospel locally, only then will people begin to see the church as a place of refuge, transformation, peace and beauty in our world.”

The 2019 Synod meeting takes place at Knox Grammar’s Great Hall from 5-7 July.

Jonathan Foye is Insight’s Editor.

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