Thursday, 04 July 2019

School of Discipleship 2019 Unmasks Revelation

Written by Rev. Adrian Sukumar-White

More than 135 students, ministers, academics, young professionals and a handful of children from across NSW, ACT, Queensland and Victoria attended School of Discipleship (SOD) 2019 on 28-30 June at Naamaroo Conference Centre  in the northern Sydney suburb of Chatswood.

The theme this year was: Seeing Differently: Unveiling Evil, Unveiling God in the Book of Revelation, with keynote sessions led by Rev. Dr. Robyn Whitaker, the Coordinator of Studies – New Testament at Pilgrim Theological College in Melbourne.

Robyn invited participants to delve deeply into the Book of Revelation, and to explore the role and purpose of apocalyptic literature, how Revelation influences and impacts our understanding of the Triune God, and how Revelation invites us to consider how we name, expose and witness to evil in today’s world.

School of Discipleship was again blessed with a range of fantastic electives  - Gospel Singing (with members of the Café of the Gate of Salvation), Gender and Sexuality in the Bible (Robyn Whitaker), the Challenge of Animal Ethics (David Clough - Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of Chester), How to Lead Someone to Jesus (Rev. Dr Peter Hobson & Rev. Janet Staines), Aboriginal Dreamtime: Truth, Treaty and Discipleship (Pastor Ray Minniecon & Mike Hercock), and How to Read the Bible (Rev. Dr John Hirt & Dr. Ben Cross).

Across the weekend participants engaged in times of worship, led by Rev. Radhika Sukumar-White, Rev. Kent Crawford and a worship band.

A highlight was learning the new song ‘Worthy’, written on the theme of the conference, and available for download at

The tradition of SongFest continued on Saturday night.

Songfest is always a highlight with participants sharing in performances of music, storytelling, drama and comedy.

This year saw an eclectic range of performances, from a hilarious dramatic interpretation of Revelation 13, through to a call to action for students to participate in the “School Strike 4 Climate”. 

These dedicated students gathered after the show to begin organising a significant Uniting Church presence at the September 20 rally.

2019 marked the 16th year of School of Discipleship, which began in 2004 to support the work of tertiary ministry in Sydney Presbytery and around NSW/ACT. 

Planning for School of Discipleship 2020 has already begun – it will be held on 3-5 July, 2020 with Rev. James Bhagwan (General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches) as the keynote speaker.

We would like to thank the SOD Steering Committee for its leadership, and Sydney Presbytery, Leichhardt Uniting Church and Rev. Dr Peter & Brenda Powell, whose financial support makes School of Discipleship possible.

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