Midwives of change

Midwives of change

The third Common Dreams Conference, “Midwives of Change: Progressives Shaping Religious Communities” will be held at the Manning Clark Centre at Australian National University, Canberra, September 19–22, 2013.

The conference draws together people from Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world to explore ways that progressive religion can shape religious communities and contribute positively to the common good, so that religion enhances human life rather than diminishes it.

The 2013 conference will feature Marcus Borg, Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, USA, and Bruce Sanguin, a minister of the United Church of Canada.

After 16 years serving as minister at Canadian Memorial United Church and Centre for Peace in Vancouver, BC, Bruce Sanguin recently moved to a half-time position with the church so he can focus on the teaching and practice of evolutionary spirituality.

He is a member of the British Columbia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

He has authored several books including Darwin, Divinity & the Dance of the Cosmos: An Ecological Christianity; The Advance of Love; Summoning the Whirlwind; The Emerging Church; and If Darwin Prayed.

Professor Borg is known in both academic and church circles as a biblical and Jesus scholar. He was Hundere Chair of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University until his retirement in 2007.

He is the author of 20 books, including Jesus: A New Vision and the bestseller Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time; The God We Never Knew; The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions; Reading the Bible Again for the First Time; and The Heart of Christianity.

More recent books include Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary; Conversations with Scripture: Mark; three books co-authored with John Dominic Crossan, The Last Week, The First Christmas; and The First Paul; his first novel, Putting Away Childish Things; and Speaking Christian.

His newest book is Evolution of the Word, a chronological New Testament in which the books of the New Testament are printed in the chronological order in which they were written, with introductions to each.

Key events at the conference

  • Prof Marcus Borg will deliver two major public lectures (Thursday & Friday evenings) and leads a workshop (two sessions);
  • The Rev. Bruce Sanguin will give a major public lecture (Saturday evening) and leads three workshops;
  • Dr Val Webb delivers her keynote address “Midwives of Change” and is a member of a panel discussing theological education;
  • The Rev. Dr Lorraine Parkinson presents a keynote address “Teachings the Church Forgot: Jesus’ Blueprint for the Best Possible World” and leads a workshop;
  • The Rev. Dr Margaret Mayman gives a keynote address “Birthing With Blood Sweat and Tears: Progressive Public Theology” and leads a workshop;
  • The Rev. Dr Nigel Leaves will deliver a keynote address “Who Do You Say That I Am? Preaching Jesus Today”;
  • The Rev. Glynn Cardy will deliver a keynote address “Praying When G-O-D is not a Person: Non-theistic Prayer” and leads a workshop;
  • The Rev. Dr Steven Ogden will deliver a keynote address on “Empowerment: Freedom, Power and the Church”;
  • The Rev. Dr Alan Race will give a lunchtime address “Honest to God: The Makings and Celebrations of a Midwife of Change”;
  • Rabbi Aviva Kipen presents a keynote address on “Sabotage at the Birthing Stool: Heroines and Heroes or Saboteurs of Change in Today’s Diverse, Sacred Communities?”
  • The Rev. David Felten will deliver the closing address “The Progressive Future is Now”
  • Pre-conference Forum (Free: 2 pm September 19) “Offering An Alternative: Being Progressive About Politics” – an introduction to the work of “A Progressive Christian Voice (Australia)”.

For more information and to register visit www.commondreams.org.au.

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