Thursday, 13 August 2020

Changes to President's Conference 2020

In light of the resurgence of COVID-19 cases across Australia, Dr Deidre Palmer has announced significant changes to "Called by God" - her second President's conference in Adelaide in October 2020.

Dr Palmer writes:  

It is with sadness that I advise that we have decided to defer the President's Conference until next year – from Thursday 29 April to Sunday 2 May 2021. 

I have been deeply concerned for all of our communities that are being impacted by the growing number of COVID cases. 

The decision to defer has been made as a response to continuing uncertainty that comes with the second wave of COVID cases , and the precautions our states and territories are taking to protect their communities from the spread of this disease, that involve border closures, travel restrictions and the quarantining of travellers at their own cost.

While we hoped that a combination of online and face-to-face options might make it possible to encourage participants in their faith and ministry at this time, we have decided to postpone in the hope that next year we may be able to gather together face-to-face.

We will of course be monitoring this possibility, as we see what emerges in efforts to control the pandemic. 

Instead on the first weekend of October I will offer an opportunity for the Church to gather online at a series of webinars, to open up the conversation about God’s call to us in our everyday lives, as a ‘taster’ of the full Conference in April/May next year.  

On Saturday October 3, three online panel discussions will showcase some of the Conference themes - Called by God, Every Member Ministry and Faith in Public Life.

It is free to register for the webinars and we will be sending sign on details in the coming week.

Please watch for them in the Assembly National Update and via Facebook.

I hope you might join us online for these sessions.

On Sunday October 4, we will also offer worship in two ways – 

  1. Livestreamed through the Assembly Online Worship forum 
  2. As a written liturgical resource and a short pre-recorded sermon that you may use with your own community.

The webinars will be recorded and they will be made available for you to use in any of the many forums you have for Christian education in your community.

If you decide to use them, I would be delighted to join with you online as you have this important conversation in your context. 

As the Church we have been called into spaces that we had not expected.

This global pandemic on top of the crises caused by bushfire, flood and drought, has called us to deeply consider and reconsider how we might be bearers of God’s love, compassion, hope and comfort in this time of crisis.

I have been encouraged and inspired by the ways our Church, our local congregations, faith communities, community service agencies, aged care organisations, schools, and Councils of our Church have responded with such grace, generosity, kindness and hope.

I hope that you will save the date for next year and join us online for the webinar and worship on October 3 and 4.

In the meantime, thank you for being the people of God, pilgrims on the way with Christ who continues to be our Light, our Hope and our Risen, Crucified Lord.


Dr Deidre Palmer
President, Uniting Church in Australia Assembly  

For more details on the upcoming webinar and to be registered for it click here.