School of Discipleship Postponed
School of Discipleship (SOD) is an annual conference held in Sydney each winter that explores radical discipleship. The conference has hosted a plethora of powerful keynote speakers, alongside moving worship, specialised electives, and invaluable community time. Grown largely from students and alumnae of Christian Students Uniting, SOD is now in its eighteenth year.
2020 saw an online edition of SOD, with pre-recorded worship, a zoom keynote session presented by Ched Myers and Dr Elaine Enns, and a panel discussion of leaders from different parts of the church and its organisations.
The SOD Steering Committee hoped that the conference would return this year in a hybrid format, with limited-capacity in-person attendance as well as livestreamed sessions. SOD was planned for next weekend, on 2-4 July, however, due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Sydney, it has been postponed.
SOD organiser Carol Hirt told Insights, “After running SOD-2020 fully online last year, we were excited to plan a face-to-face SOD-2021, albeit a hybrid version. ‘Being in Community’ is one of the core ingredients of SOD and one that we truly missed last year.”
Of the postponement, SOD organiser Rev. Adrian Sukumar-White said, “It’s obviously disappointing, but with the escalating outbreak of COVID-19 in Sydney, we couldn’t proceed with an in-person conference that is only a week away – the risks and uncertainty are just too great. The safety of the SOD community is always a priority.”
Attendees were set to hear from keynote speakers Dr Anne Pattel Gray and Dr Janice Mc Randal about “Protest / Resistance & Radical Discipleship.” Carol Hirt emphasised how important it is to explore these themes “in community.”
She told Insights, “We… felt that it would be much better to come back together when it is safe to do so and share in these important conversations about protest and resistance, and what it means for our discipleship, face-to-face.”
Rev. Adrian Sukumar-White praised “the awesome team at Uniting Venues – Naamaroo which has been the home for School of Discipleship for 10 years. They have been wonderful in helping us plan a COVID-Safe event, and when it became clear that we would need to postpone, they were incredibly helpful and accommodating.”
A new date has not yet been set for this year’s hybrid conference, but attendees can stay up to date via the SOD website.
Gabrielle Cadenhead is Insights’ intern