Date16/04/2020 - 17/04/2020
Being and Belonging: Disability, Church, and Community
It is with sadness, but conviction that this is the right course of action, that we inform you that the ACT has decided to postpone Being and Belonging: Disability, Church, and Community, our conference which was due to be held on 16-17 April 2020. This is due to the current measures in place in response to COVID-19, and an awareness that further measures may be introduced. We also believe we are called in Christ to show care for our community by doing what we can to prevent the spread of the virus.
We will look to reschedule the conference later this year and will let you know new details as soon as we can.
We thank all those who have been working towards this conference and supported it in various ways, including our organising team, presenters, and our venue Anglican Deaconess Ministries. And we continue in prayer for all those affected by this virus and its management.
May the Lord sustain and comfort all of us at this time.
[Alt text: A multicoloured abstract artwork by studioA artist Peter Dudding with white type that reads “Being and Belonging: Disability, Church and Community. An Australian College of Theology Conference 16 to 17 April, 2020”.]
Being and Belonging is a two-day conference which brings together academics, practitioners and theological educators to engage in conversation around disability and its relationship to community, church, theology and the Bible.
As Christian people, leaders and scholars, we value being human and belonging together. We wrestle with scripture, theology and practice, taking on the big themes: identity, faith, doctrine, prayer, hope, love, sex, community. What if we added cognitive disability, cerebral palsy, mental health challenges and dementia to our concerns? How might the being and belonging of all kinds of people be blessed? And how might our own theology be refreshed? The Australian College of Theology’s inaugural conference on disability and theology will help you see the wonder that we call disability in a new way.
Thursday 16 & Friday 17 April, 2020
Anglican Deaconess Ministries
St Andrews House Level 1, 464-480 Kent St, Sydney, Australia
Full conference: $175 ($135 student/concession)
Single day: $100 ($80 student/concession)
The following link will direct you to the ticket booking page:
Thursday 16 April
Professional Development Day for Theological Educators
This day will be primarily focused on theological education within the colleges of the ACT consortium but is open to educators from any tertiary theological context.
• “Engaging all Learners to Engage with God: Universal Design for Learning and Theological Education” by Dr Louise Gosbell.
• “Towards a Model for Inclusive Education in Christian Higher Educational Institutions” by Dr Karenne Hills.
• “Laidlaw’s Journey of Inclusion” by Fiona Sherwin.
• Workshops for educators.
Friday 17 April
This day is open to everybody and will feature a wide range of presentations from academics, practitioners and people living with disability.
• “The Dynamics of the Self and the Other: How the Book of Job May Contribute to Disability Theology” by Rev Dr Kirk Patston.
• “Jesus, Healing and Isaiah’s Prophecies” by Rev Jason Forbes.
• Morning presentation streams: Cognitive Disability OR Identity and Belonging.
• Afternoon presentation streams: Experiences and Practices OR Eschatological Texts and Themes.
Dr Louise Gosbell
Louise Gosbell is an Australian theologian working in the overlap of disability and biblical studies. Louise completed her PhD in Ancient History at Macquarie University in 2015. Her thesis, on disability and the gospels, was published by German publisher Mohr Siebeck in 2018 (The Poor, the Crippled, the Blind, and the Lame: Physical and Sensory Disability in the Gospels of the New Testament). Louise has published a number of articles on disability and biblical studies, the most recent (published December 2019) is a chapter in a book on Romans which examines Paul’s imagery of the Body of Christ in light of disability studies. Louise is currently working on a volume on the senses in the gospel of John, as well as a book on disability and the gospels for a broader, non-academic audience. Louise is a lecturer in New Testament at Mary Andrews College and is the Project Officer, Public Engagement at Anglican Deaconess Ministries. In addition, Louise served as the Sydney Coordinator for 10 years for CBM Australia’s Luke 14 program training churches and Christian organisations on disability and inclusion. Louise is also on the oversight committee of Jesus Club which is a ministry aimed at teaching the Bible to adults with intellectual disabilities as well as coordinating the fortnightly Jesus Club program at her own church (MBM Rooty Hill). Louise also oversees the running of the Deaf ministry at MBM.
Dr Karenne Hills
Karenne Hills maintains a ‘portfolio lifestyle’ with a number of professional interests. She completed her PhD, Spirituality in the Context of Nonverbal Autism, in 2019 and is passionate about exploring the spirituality of people who may experience barriers to traditional religious teaching and involvement. Karenne operates a private practice combining her professional qualifications in the areas of counselling, nursing, teaching, disability and autism. She works with individuals, couples and families in a variety of contexts, specialising in supporting families and organisations with a member with a disability. She also consults to local disability organisations and is currently working on an innovative program designed to support students with specialised learning abilities achieve success in post school educational and employment opportunities. She regularly speaks at local, national and international conferences on a variety of topics pertaining to people with disabilities, spirituality and autism. Karenne has published in several academic journals and books.
Fiona Sherwin has had a long history of living life with people with disabilities as a caregiver and a friend. Fiona is part of the student support team at Laidlaw College, based on the Henderson Campus. In 2011, Laidlaw wanted to become more intentional about how the college should support students with impairments, so Fiona was tasked with the responsibility of being the disability liaison. While she has responsibility to support the Henderson based students, she also advises on all campuses around disability support. Fiona is writing her Master of Theology thesis exploring the church being a place of belonging for people with disabilities.
Rev Dr Kirk Patston
Kirk Patston is a lecturer in Old Testament at Sydney Missionary & Bible College and also involved in Presbyterian ministry. His life has intersected with disability in a number of ways. He has worked as a Speech Pathologist and Rehabilitation Case Manager. He is the father of a man with intellectual disability and autism. He has experienced clinical depression. His PhD through the University of Sydney addressed Job, otherness and Christian theology of disability. He has presented conference papers on disability theology and has designed and delivered the ACT unit on Disability, Theology and Religion. He and his family are currently beginning a project to create an intentional Christian community for those with and without disability.
Rev Jason Forbes
Jason Forbes is a Minister in the Presbyterian Church of Australia. He has Cerebral Palsy which affects his speech, mobility and fine motor control, yet maintains an independent lifestyle. Jason works for Jericho Road (NSW Presbyterian Social Services) as the Disability Advocate to the NSW Presbyterian Church. This involves raising the awareness of disability and equipping the Church to respond to the needs of people who have disabilities. Jason graduated from the Presbyterian Theological Centre (now Christ College) in 2012 with a BTh and AdvDipTh. He expects to graduate with his MTh in 2020. In his academic work, Jason has addressed topics including the work of the Holy Spirit in a person with a disability and their relationship with the church, disability and the Fall, and the fulfilment of the prophecies of Isaiah in the healing ministry of Jesus. He has a keen interest in biblical languages and would like to extend his academic work in theology and disability in the future.