Conference Rationale

Following the success of the last four conferences, the fifth Mission: one heart many voices conference 2021 will directly identify and explore the challenges of living the Gospel and Leading Mission Now in Australia and globally.

Drawing on the concept of ‘liminal leadership’ (Bateson, 2017), 2021 needs a new type of leadership, one that recognises the interdependence, patterns and relationships that exist between contexts and institutions. Theologian Richard Rohr recognises this liminal space as the moments where authentic transformation can take place, recognising this action as God’s presence (Rohr, 2020).

“It is God’s dream that our world would be healed, that it would be full of peace and joy. Anyone who promotes love, peace and joy is sharing in the mission of Jesus.”

 Columban Priest Trevor Trotter

This time calls the Church to lead ‘into the world’ recognising the places of transformation the Spirit is calling us to. “It is God’s dream that our world would be healed, that it would be full of peace and joy. Anyone who promotes love, peace and joy is sharing in the mission of Jesus.” (Columban Priest Trevor Trotter). Responding to this dream, Leadership for Mission Now explores approaches to engage, lead and co-create with those Pope Francis refers to as ‘people of good will’.

This time of global challenge has opened up opportunities for critical collaboration that are new. International organisations and governments are recognising the importance of working together to seize the moment to re-create and re-build in ways that value all of humanity and creation. The Church and its agencies are being called to leadership in these spaces. A parallel organisation which is seeking to build a ‘fullness of life’ through its Sustainable Development Goals is the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which is responsible for implementing these quality of life indicators over the next decade.

The UNDP has commenced a collaboration and dialogue, recognising the need for massive transformation to accomplish 2030 agenda. This has led to an awareness that to achieve this transformation in our communities, societies and our world we need to become aware of our own inner lives, reflecting on our blindspots and then engaging with these uncomfortable truths (Scharmer, 2009). Our blindspots are characterised by minds which deliberately avoid seeing connections between experiences such as Australia’s colonial past and the current trauma experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; hearts which avoid empathy and compassion and hands that do not act.

Leadership for Mission Now will encourage participants to explore through the frame of an open mind, open heart and open will, embracing curiosity, compassion and courage. These frameworks represent new opportunities for Church leadership as secular leadership recognises the interdependence of all contexts, opens to collaboration and recognises the importance of the spiritual dimension.

The overall conference aims:

  • To empower people with a vision of mission that is collaborative, scriptural and deeply theological, one that affirms, enables, encourages and inspires. We see the Conference as a critical part of professional and vocational development for the many people who work for Catholic agencies, parishes, Religious Congregations and other organisations to help build the Reign of God in Australia and beyond.
  • To hear the many and varied voices within our Church. Mission is a single but complex reality, and it develops in a variety of ways. [Redemptoris Missio #41]. It includes proclamation, witness, building community, prayer, dialogue, mercy, charity, working for justice, ecology, reconciliation, inculturation, equality among other ways. We share in Jesus’ mission of building the Reign of God, one of “righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit” Rom 14:17. There is much we can share and learn from one another.

All those who are passionate about mission and people serving in leadership roles in dioceses, parishes, communities, organisations and agencies are invited to come together and join a conversation that may enable us all to live the joy of the Gospel and Lead Mission Now.

We have many voices but only one heart, one mission: to bring about the Reign of God.

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