On October 12th and 13th, Janita, Kim, and Chloe from the Understanding Faith team attended the National RE Symposium at the Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre. This conference is organised by BBI-TAITE, The Australian Institute of Theological Education, with this year’s theme of ‘Rethinking RE: Context Diversity and Pedagogy’.
The Understanding Faith team attended as an exhibitor and took this opportunity to interact with current subscribers and connect with potential subscribers by offering new schools a free trial. These interactions took place during the morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea breaks.
Between breaks were keynote speaker sessions and workshops, which we too were able to attend. The first keynote from Emeritus Bishop Eugene Hurley was about ‘RE and the Regional Context’, followed by the following workshops: Early Career Teachers in Regional Catholic Schools, Implementing a RE Curriculum from a Regional Diocese Perspective, RE in Regional Schools, Religious Leadership and the Future of Catholic Schools, and Responding to the Need for Student Engagement and Self-Efficacy in Religious Literacy in a Regional Context.
The next keynote was given by Fr Rob Galea, who spoke on ‘RE Outside the Classroom’ and was followed by the following workshops: Rethinking Engagement, Recontextualising Charism in Today’s Catholic Regional School, Liturgy in the Life of the School, Social Justice – Ideas for RE outside the Classroom, and Engaging Young People in Faith and Mission.
On Thursday afternoon, delegates attended an audience engagement session with Br Aenges Kavanagh. There was then an optional network dinner available followed by a praise and worship session led by Fr Rob Galea and supported by Ps Ryan Black.
On Friday morning, delegates celebrated Mass at St Brigid’s Catholic Church before their final keynote session given by Sharon Cooke on ‘Indigenous Spirituality in RE: What it is and What it isn’t’, where they also heard stories from Aunty Doreen Flanders and Aunty Louise Campbell. The final workshops were: Weaving Indigenous Spirituality into RE, Indigenous Spirituality in the Classroom, Contribution of Indigenous Spirituality to Sacraments, and Indigenous Spirituality Resources and Ideas from a National Perspective. The delegates concluded the Symposium with a Closing Liturgy.
As we do each year, we ran a conference competition with the prize of a 1-year free subscription, for either a new or existing subscriber. Congratulations to St Joseph’s Primary, Barraba, who was the winner of this year’s prize!