The early bird catches the conference

exclusion and embraceA multi-faith conference exploring the relationship between spirituality and disability takes place this August at the Jasper Hotel in Melbourne. The conference, ‘Exclusion and Embrace: Disability, Justice and Spirituality’, is endorsed by a wide number of organisations including the Jewish Christian Muslim Association, the Faith Communities Council of Victoria and the Victorian Council of Churches. It will feature perspectives and stories from a range of faith traditions, as well as leading academics from Australia, the Netherlands and the USA who will share insights about theology and disability.

The Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania is providing secretariat support. Andy Calder, who is responsible for disability inclusion in the synod, is the convenor of the conference.

“We have a wide range of subjects to explore,” he said. “The place of people with disabilities within faith communities has been problematic, and this unique conference will explore theological understandings and practical responses.”

The keynote speakers are focusing on topical issues and Mr Calder is also calling for delegates to nominate as presenters. “We would love to hear from those attending who believe they have a unique perspective on this topic. Sharing of knowledge is an important element of the conference. Those who are interested in presenting need to submit their abstract by 10 April.”

There is also an opportunity to take advantage of the Early Bird registration special for delegates who register before 17 June. As well as hearing from speakers like Prof Hans Rinders, Chair of Ethics at Holland’s VU University and Rev Bill Gaventa, an international expert in faith-based support, delegates will be treated to an art exhibition that reflects people’s experience of disability and spirituality.

Anyone seeking more information on the conference can visit the website or phone Ann Byrne on 03 9251 5404.  Information on the website is also available in Easy English.

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