President’s Report for AJL, Volume 15, Number 4, 2017

Societas Liturgica Congress XXVI


Over a dozen Academy members made the long trek to Leuven in Belgium for the XXVI Congress of Societas Liturgica. Australia has always had a very faithful and long-travelling band of Societas members who have been prepared to journey to the other side of the world to represent those of us who live and move and have our being under the Southern Cross. At Leuven, I was also told that Australia has the third highest membership after Germany and the US. Over the years, we have also been represented on the Societas Council by various Academy members such as Robert Gribben, Anthony Kain, Tom Elich, Jenny O’Brien and Carmel Pilcher. We punch well above our weight!

Whilst in Belgium, I met with scholars from around the world, including Thomas O’Loughlin from the UK. He had learnt of the Academy when he picked up a copy of the AJL whilst on a lecture tour of Australia. He was very impressed with the quality of our journal and has written an article for this edition of the Journal.

This Congress marked the 50th Anniversary of the Societas which was founded by Wiebe Vos, a pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church. The first SL Congress was held in Driebergen in the Netherlands in 1967. A special guest at the Congress in Leuven was Cornelia Vos, the daughter of Wiebe Vos, who addressed us at the Congress dinner, sharing memories of her father and his vision for ecumenical liturgical co-operation.

Jenny O’Brien from the South Australian Chapter has written a report on SL XXVI which appears elsewhere in this volume of the Journal.

The 2019 National Conference – Looking Forward

Remote preparations have begun for our next conference, to be held in Perth from 15-18 January 2019. The Council has done its best to avoid clashes with other conferences which regularly take place at this time…and this time, we think we may have succeeded! Having spent time in Kurri Kurri considering the role of culture on our worship, our Perth conference will develop this somewhat and focus on the Arts – as one expression of culture – and the role of, and the interplay between the Arts and worship. Planning will continue over the coming months and your Chapter Convenor will keep you informed of developments.

Waiting in Joyful Hope

As this edition of the Journal reaches your desks, our thoughts will soon enough start turning to Advent and our preparations for Christmas. All too easily for those of us under the Southern Cross does Advent get lost in the myriad end-of-year celebrations and the various functions which mark the end of the civil and school year. The retail industry does not help us – I even saw Christmas cakes and mince pies in the supermarket this week. As so many parts of our world are torn by disaster and strife – both natural and human-made – and people are displaced and afraid, we could renew our efforts to make Advent a space of peace and quiet for our people in the end-of-year merry-go-round, and a graced time of prayer waiting in joyful hope for the One who is to come: our Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, and Prince-of-Peace.

Anthony Doran
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