Recapturing Our Soul -
Congregations, Agencies and State Relations
Recapturing Our Soul will examine the complex theological positions, social issues and regulatory requirements governing the relationship between faith communities, their agencies and the Australian state today.
Many institutions within the community service sector have a religious background and motivation. This service grows out of belief. However, with the professionalisation of health provision in an increasingly plural society, some gap has developed between believing communities and the associated agencies. Recapturing Our Soul examines this gap and considers various ways of uniting communities, church congregations, community service delivery and the state sector. It will stimulate a clearer understanding of the added value of the church’s core values to community service provision and explore the future connections between the church and agency/ third sector community work. In partnership with the Diaconal Research Institute of Heidelberg University, Recapturing Our Soul addresses the particular Australian context by facilitating a dialogue between German and Australian voices. The evident differences of church context and governmental relationships set the similar issues of relationship into clear relief. This conference brings together theorists, high-level agency and church administrators, along with practitioners from both the religious and the service provision contexts. The Recapturing Our Soul conference will map the key issues, and present constructive proposals for the complex variety of challenges and opportunities facing the church, its agencies and the state today. We hope you will join us in this important conversation and look forward to welcoming you to diverse metropolitan Melbourne in September, 2016.
Rev Dr John G Flett
BMin, MTheol, PhD, DTheol Habil
Three parallel streams will examine:
1. Theologies of agencies:
This stream examines the range of theological supports for agency work as a clear outworking of Christian faith and witness. It concentrates on existing theological themes, the integration of insights from service provision into complex agendas about theology and the nature of the church and the creation of bridges between agency administrators and theologians.
2. Economics of funding:
Funding is not neutral. It directs the economies or forms of service provision, and this in ways that might conflict with congregational agendas. This stream considers the benefits and constraints of popular funding models and the potential of alternative models (e.g. social impact bonds), especially as these inform the relationship between agencies and churches.
To what extent can agencies that receive public funding also advocate for policy change, and what different forms might such advocacy take? This stream examines the range of available options, the different levels of advocacy, the potential limits funding imposes, and the freedoms agencies, churches and theological voices have due to the formal incorporation of agencies as service providers.
Prof Dr Johannes Eurich
Professor for practical theology and diaconal science at Heidelberg University, Germany
Dr Hanns-Stephan Haas
CEO of the Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf, the largest social foundation in northern Germany
Professorial Fellow in the Department of Politics at Melbourne University
PhD student at the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University in Canberra
Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
Prof Dr Annette Noller
Professor for theology and ethics in social areas of work / diaconal studies at the university of applied sciences in Ludwigsburg, Germany
Professor of Economics and Dean of Business Alphacrucis College
Executive Director, the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, and Professor of Theology, Charles Sturt University, Canberra
Executive Director, Uniting
Agency, professional, synod delegates:
$450 full, $400 early bird*
Ministers, church representatives:
$200 full, $150 early bird*
Church members, student delegates:
$100 full, $70 early bird*
(*Early bird registrations close 30 March, 2016)
Contact and Host Organisations:
John Flett, Conference Convenor
firstname.lastname@example.org | +61 3 9340 8827
Date: 2-4 September 2016
from mid December 2015
The conference program and full list of speakers will be released early in 2016
so please bookmark the conference website.
You can download the launch invitation here.