Inspiracy for spiritual and social change

Inspiracy 2 Sustainability Festival is back for another jam-packed four days in Newcastle.

From the 17th – 20th May 2018, Inspiracy is weaving together spirituality and social justice through workshops, art, music, spoken word performances and key note speakers.

The festival is in its second year and one of the organisers, Rev. Dr Rod Pattenden, said the goal is to connect people of faith with the wider community in a unique way.

“[The goal is] to try and engage…to cross the boundary of church and community,” said Rev. Dr Pattenden.

“So we hope that, that will appeal to people involved in the church who are looking [to] address the larger issues of the world in which we live, ranging from aboriginal issues, refugees, climate change and sustainability.”

The four days will be a mix of general talks and performances as well as workshops specifically addressing Christian concerns.

“Often the church tends to isolate itself in its own conversation and in this (festival) we’re trying to be quite open and transparent,” said Rev. Dr Pattenden.

Inspiracy is a culmination of partnerships with Adamstown Uniting Church and community groups and local businesses.

“We’ve got a very strong ethos of being engaged in our community. Not being afraid to engage our community with the questions that people kind of asking.

“So let’s mix it up and have a conversation and do it creatively not an argument or a debate but let’s have a conversation that’s rich and imaginative.

“And help fill that out through music and art and its proving to be a really great way of having that kind of conversation and getting the church back in there in the middle of the issues which we need to address,” said Rev. Dr Pattenden.

Rev. Dr Pattenden went on to describe the four days as “a series of pearls on a string.”

The Thursday night launch will feature an award ceremony for the Youth Film Competition. Submissions for the competition is still open, with entrants asked to produce a short four minute film about social justice. The night will also include a spoken word performance by Egyptian Australian singer, songwriter Nardean.

Friday is all about Sacred Earth Conversations in Eco-theology, featuring a number of leading theologians including Dr Mick Pope, Dr Dianne Rayson, Dr Anne Elvey and Professor Neil Ormerod.

Saturday will feature workshops on topics ranging from refugees to sustainable living. There will also be a keynote presentation by President of the Australian Refugee Council speaking on the refugee crisis. At lunch there will be a number of multicultural and international food stalls before a special edition of Adamstown Uniting’s successful Café Expresso performances to end the night. (Check out our feature on Café Expresso here.)

The final day of Inspiracy will see guest speakers visiting local churches for Sunday services and then a big picnic in the city where a statement will be made  about climate change (more details to come). These are just some of the highlights, and you can view the full program here.

As Rev. Dr Pattenden puts it, Newcastle is set to “catch the wind of change.”

Melissa Stewart

 




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