The National Conference
By now, our most eventful Conference, seems but a distant memory…almost! This issue and future issues of AJL will publish keynote addresses from the Conference Worship Under the Southern Cross, held in Kurri Kurri in January. If you haven’t caught up with the news, on Day 2 of the Conference, bushfires surrounded the Hunter Valley Hotel Academy. Fortunately, most Conference delegates were away from the property on the excursion. Six of us, though, were trapped for two hours and unable to evacuate from the property. When we were able to leave safely, the Hotel Academy was closed for the night…meaning we had to find emergency accommodation for sixty people. That everything – even these most unforseen happenings – was managed with the greatest of calm was down to the careful planning and preparation undertaken by Doug Morrison-Cleary and the NSW Chapter. We are most grateful for their efforts – it is a conference we will never forget!
The Royal Commission
The public hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse have now concluded. As our churches have been under scrutiny for our past practices, we have learnt of the hurt experienced by many members of our communities. For some, the Royal Commission has been part of a healing journey. But for others, there is nothing that will ever be able to heal their hurt. Some have walked away from the Church, never to return. And for those who do stay, there is a sense of shame. As liturgists at the service of our Church, perhaps our response at this time could be to help our communities with liturgies of lament and reconciliation. My own community gathered in prayer during Passiontide to lament and seek healing. For us, it began our journey of coming to terms with the sins of our Church and the hurt of others. It was a first step. Carefully chosen words, gestures, music, and symbol can be a means by which others can experience the grace of healing and hope.
Around the Academy
There has been some movement amongst Chapter Convenors. Garry Deverell has stepped down as Victorian Convenor after his second stint in the convenor’s chair. Kieran Crichton has taken up the responsibility as Victorian Convenor. Kieran holds a PhD in musicology, was a keynote speaker at our recent Conference, and is currently student at Trinity College Theological School.
Personnel and other changes in Tasmania have left the Tasmanian Chapter with very few members and no representation on the National Council. In November last year, I flew to Hobart and met with two of the remaining Tasmanian Chapter members. Neither of them felt able to take on the role of Convenor. After much discussion with them, and following further discussion at the National Council, it was decided that the Tasmanian Chapter would, for the time being, come under the special care of the President, who would, from time to time, gather together with the members of the Tasmanian Chapter either in Melbourne or in Hobart. This seems like a better option than letting the Tasmanian Chapter fold altogether.
Ken Howell, a member of the Queensland Chapter, has recently been appointed Auxiliary Bishop for the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane. We thank Ken for accepting this ministry of service and wish him every blessing.
May the greeting of the Risen Christ to his own following the resurrection – peace – be with you and those close to you this Easter.
Report by Anthony Doran