North East Victoria Presbytery Field Days: Connect, Grow, Serve
Under the banner of Connect-Grow- Serve the North East Victoria Presbytery took us through a series of online studies and workshops that explored the connections between our faith, the environment and how we live.
These workshops were via zoom between the 1st and 8th of May 2021.
These workshops were recorded and have been uploaded for personal or shared use.
Day 1: Saturday 1st May 2021
Colossians Bible Study – Rev. Dr. Vicki Balabanski
Keynote Speaker- Rev Dr. Vicky Balabanski Director of Biblical Studies, Uniting College for Leadership and Theology, Adelaide. – Colossians Bible Study. Small group discussion to follow.
The Letter to the Colossians has the highest view of Christ of any of the New Testament writings, and its theology of divine permeation invites us to notice the ecological potential of this letter. Vicky Balabanski brings contemporary ecological questions into dialogue with the distinctive Christology and cosmology of the letter.
Day 2: Monday 3rd May 2021
For God so loved the world – thinking theologically about creation – Wendie Wilkie
Wendie Wilkie shares resources and approaches to incorporating ecology and creation into worship services and meditations. Starting with a review of Bruce Sanguin’s book “Darwin, Divinity, and the Dance of the Cosmos” Wendie leads a discussion about seeing God’s love for the whole of creation.
Day 3: Tuesday 4th May 2021
Community gardens share the faith – Tanya Walker and Tim Angus
Tanya Walker talks about how she was inspired to start a community garden in the grounds of the Benalla UCA.
Tim Angus talks of responding to community interest and opportunity and establishing a community garden in the little church at Axedale.
Two very different congregations, some differences in approach, but opportunities for personal growth, community engagement and outreach.
Day 4: Wednesday 5th May 2021
What does it mean to be a ‘green church”? – Mark Zirnsak
With climate change representing an increasing threat to our well-being and the well-being of neighbours overseas, the session with Mark Zirnsak will examine what congregations can do to be ‘greener’. Measures and actions include what can be done in worship, what can be done to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from activities in the church building and what can members do in their own homes.
Mark Zirnsak, is the senior social justice advocate with eLM, having joined the Synod in 1999. He is a member of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Ministerial Advisory Council, the Commonwealth Government Seasonal Worker Program Advisory Group and the Commonwealth Attorney General’s National Roundtable on Slavery and Human Trafficking. Mark is also a member of the Secretariat for the Tax Justice Network in Australia and is actively involved in anti-corruption movements.
Day 5: Thursday 6th May 2021
Living simply –Children and Families – Heather Woodman
The Woodman family from Colbinabbin firmly believe God created the world and that, in turn, they are caretakers of this precious resource.
Embedded in this video are some short videos excerpts of how the Woodman family try to live in a sustainable way by growing and cooking their own food, minimising the waste that goes to landfill and recycling plastics through the local school. Participants engage in discussions to reflect on their own connection to the land.
Workshop Leader Heather Woodman is a member of the Colbinabbin UCA, a lay preacher, authorised lay celebrant for communion, primary school teacher and mother of two young children.
Day 6: Friday 7th May 2021
The Season of Creation. Rev Tony Davies, Presbytery Minister – Pastoral Care and Mission
The Season of Creation is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through celebration, conversion, and commitment together. During the Season of Creation, we join our sisters and brothers in the ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home. Starting in September and running across 5 Sundays the season covers 5 themes: Forest, Land, Outback, Rivers, and Animals.
Led by Rev Tony Davies, Presbytery Minister – Pastoral Care and Mission, this workshop allows worship leaders to familiarise themselves with the themes and explore how they might use the Season of Creation in worship. During the workshop participants broke into break out rooms to discuss a specific theme. These have been edited out of the video.
Day 7: Saturday 8th May 2021
Ecological theology: an introductory discussion of some of the ways Christian thought has been responding to the environmental crisis. Dr Debrah Guess
Keynote Speaker- Dr Deborah Guess, from Pilgrim Theological College. presents an overview of Ecological Theology; an introductory discussion how it became a significant approach to thinking about God and of some of the ways Christian thought has been responding to the environmental crisis.
Dr Deborah Guess is a systematic theologian whose primary writing and teaching focus is on ecological theology. Other research interests include Christology, Anglican thought and the Christian contemplative tradition.
Deborah’s doctoral thesis at the University of Divinity (2015) was titled: God So Loved the Cosmos: an Ecotheological Discussion of the Incarnation. The thesis explored the ecotheological implications of the work of two Anglican thinkers, Norman Pittenger and Arthur Peacocke, in relation to the Incarnation. The supervisor was Professor Andrew McGowan.
Deborah currently teaches the Pilgrim unit A Changed Climate for Theology and was formerly tutor then teacher at Trinity College Theological School for the unit Christianity and Ecology. From 2012 to 2016 she was Copy Editor and Business Manager of Colloquium: the Australian and New Zealand Theological Review.
In recent years she has been involved with the project Ecological Aspects of War: Religious Perspectives from Australia and is currently co-editing a book exploring the topic of a just and ecologically sustainable peace.
Deborah is currently writing a monograph on the meaning of place in relation to ecological theology.
Deborah’s main research area focuses on the issues raised for Church and theology by contemporary questions of ecology and environment and the extent to which the tradition is equipped to respond to these. Within this field, Deborah has specifically focused on thinkers Sallie McFague, Charles Birch, and Thomas Berry, on Christology (especially the Incarnation), and on Anglican thinkers Arthur Peacocke, Norman Pittenger and William Temple. Current and future research is focussed on the theology of place in relation to environment, the theology of a just and ecologically sustainable peace, and the treatment of the natural world in the Christian mystical tradition. Deborah is a member of the Centre for Research in Religion and Social Policy, University of Divinity.