Dear friends,

We are pleased to announce that registrations are now open for the Christ and Culture Conference in March 2011.

The third NATSIEC Christ and Culture Conference will focus on contextualising and re-reading scripture from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective. The starting point of this conference is to recognise that the Bible grew out of ancient cultures and myths that represented the attempt by Hebrew people to speak of the One God they knew. This conference will be an opportunity for us to develop a ‘mother tongue’ theology; one that speaks to the God that we know – the God in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and contexts. This conference will be workshop based and be practical and engaging and will provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a rich opportunity to explore their own understanding and interpretation of the Bible and theology ably facilitated by our guest speaker and facilitator Dr. Anthony G. Reddie.

Anthony G. Reddie is the Research Fellow Black Theology for The Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education. Dr. Reddie is the leading scholar in the practice of Black theology in grassroots communities of faithful practice. He is a specialist in using educational methodology and grassroots work on conscientization and formation in order to create a more praxis driven and practical approach to Black theology that impacts on communities of faith (particularly churches) in order to empower ordinary people. Dr. Reddie has published several books and numerous essays and articles, in addition to more popular material that is often eschewed by conventional theological scholars.  Dr. Reddie is also a Methodist Local Preacher.

We are excited that Dr. Reddie will join us for the next Christ and Culture conference. We are looking forward to working with him to explore how his work and perspective can hold up a mirror to the Australian Indigenous situation and reflect back on our context, new insights and concerns that will affirm and develop the mission of the church in the Australian context.

The 2011 Christ and Culture conference will continue the tradition of providing a practical and participative experience with participants learning from each other and sharing their experiences of their lives and ministries.

Please note that after much thought we have decided that this conference will be for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples only. There are benefits when Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can come together and have the opportunity to listen and learn from each other, as has been the case at our previous conferences. It is also important however that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the opportunity to come together and discuss issues of importance to them in their own context amongst themselves. Given the nature of this conference and the workshops we are planning we consider that it will be most beneficial if this is one of those occasions. For that reason we will only accept registrations from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. For non-Indigenous supporters and past participants we hope you will understand and will help disseminate news of this conference amongst your Indigenous colleagues and friends.

We know that there is widespread interest in Anthony G. Reddie’s work so we are in the process of organizing events in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and possibly Canberra. These will be open to all and we are confident that they will also provide a thought provoking and challenging experience.  We will send out further details when they are to hand.

In the meantime, registration forms and information about the conference are available at http://www.ncca.org.au/departments/natsiec/theology/christ-and-culture

Graeme Mundine

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