OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - “Re-imaging God and Mission within Australian cultures” ecumenical conference: Catholics prepare for World Mission Sunday

Monday, 17 October 2005

Melbourne (Fides Service) - As World Mission Sunday 23 October approaches, all manner of missionary events are taking place in Australia organised by the Pontifical Mission Societies and individual missionary institutes and congrenations.
Mission was a topic discussed recently by 150 mission leaders and teachers from many Christian denominations at the Australian Missiology Conference 2005 held at Whitley College in Melbourne. The title of the ecumenical conference was “ Re-imaging God and Mission within Australian Cultures” and its purpose was to re-think mission in the light of the rapid changes in Australian society
It emerged that among young Australians in particular there is growing interest for the ‘spiritual’ but that this is not always connected with a faith or traditional cult.
More than forty workshop papers were given on a wind range of topics from analysing the Australian context to indigenous issues, justice, congregations, evangelism, welfare, multiculturalism and public theology. As with many conferences many said they gained most from networking - the encouragement of meeting many others engaged in mission in a variety of ways. One of the Catholic speakers, Dr Maryanne Confroy RSC a lecturer in Practical Theology at a Jesuit Theological College suggested a model of ‘interculturation”, meaning the process of respectful conversation across and within diverse cultures and belief systems.
An Australian Association for Mission Studies AAMS was formed with plans for new ways of networking Australians interested in mission studies. The new ecumenical association will have a Melbourne based committee and an editorial board to continue publication of the South Pacific Journal of Mission Studies.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 17/10/2005 righe 24 parole 272)