Pastoral Planning Conference underway in Newcastle
Around 50 clergy, religious and lay people arrived in Newcastle at the weekend for a three-day conference exploring "issues, trends and signs of hope in Church life as the Church seeks to become more relevant in people's lives now and into the future".
The local Diocese is hosting the Conference in association with the National Pastoral Planning Network. The theme is: Signs of hope in an emerging Church.
The Network promotes pastoral planning across the Australian Catholic Church and facilitates the exchange of knowledge and skills among pastoral planners so that the quality of professional service in this field is continually enhanced.
"Pastoral planning happens at national, diocesan and parish levels", explained Paul O'Bryan of the Maitland-Newcastle Diocesan Pastoral Support Unit. "It's the process by which the faith community, with a deep appreciation of its past and an understanding of its present strengths and weaknesses, seeks to respond to the spiritual and pastoral needs of people within and beyond the community to further the Kingdom of God."
Speaking on behalf of the Conference Organising Committee, Mr O'Bryan said, "We hope that the conference will facilitate an exchange between keynote speakers who research and reflect theologically on people's experience of Church today, and those who come with the local experience of pastoral planning and a view to gaining deeper insights and a better appreciation of the 'signs of hope' - the things that are working effectively for the building-up of the Church in today's world.
"Participants will be involved in processes that help them pray together; read the signs of the times; share initiatives, insights and experiences from around Australia and New Zealand ; and reflect on material presented by keynote speakers," Mr O'Bryan said.
Keynote speakers include the Fr Richard Lennan, a theologian and lecturer at the Catholic Institute of Sydney, and Dr Scott Cowdell, a Canberra-based Anglican Pastor and lecturer in theology at Charles Sturt University .
Newcastle hosts national conference on Church pastoral planning (Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle 21/10/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
National Pastoral Planning Network
24 Oct 2005