BEING HEARD

THE IMPACT OF DISCRIMINATION, INCLUSION & JUSTICE

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Julie McCrosSIn

Julie McCrosSIn

Broadcaster, Freelance Journalist, Facilitator

A committed Christian, Julie is an Elder and a member of the Church Council at the South Sydney Uniting Church.

After 20 years as a broadcaster with ABC Radio National, ABC TV and Network Ten, Julie is now a freelance journalist and facilitator. She presented the radio show Life Matters on ABC Radio National for 5 years, covering countless health, welfare and educational topics with a frequent rural focus.

Currently Julie writes for the NSW Law Society Journal and facilitates conferences and seminars nationally. Julie is especially known for her capacity to guide forums on sensitive topics, such as suicide prevention, mental health, child protection and family law.

Julie has qualifications in the arts, education and law. She is a Patron of Targeting Cancer, Coastrek, Wagga Women’s Health Centre and FRANS Inc (Making Things Happen for People with Disabilities), and is an Ambassador for the Fred Hollows Foundation, Red Cross Australia and Adult Learning Australia.

Matt Glover

Matt Glover

Counsellor

‘Stories from the Counselling Room – The Impact of Discrimination, Justice and Inclusion’

In these unprecedented times for the LGBTI community in Australia, both sides of the marriage equality debate have claimed to be the victims of discrimination and injustice. But what is happening in the homes of LGBTI people who don’t have the attention of the media? Those who have to live as if it is “business as usual” as they go to work, listening to colleagues discuss the validity of their relationships? Those who attend school and have their futures set as an essay topic in class? Those who suffer in silence as they listen to sermons condemning their very existence?

From his experience as both a pastor and counsellor, Matt will share real life stories of what discrimination actually looks like in Australia today. Matt will also look at the various efforts, both large and small, to bring justice for LGBTI people in Australia and ways the church can better work towards full inclusion.

Matt’s full-time ministry was with the Baptist Church in Victoria, before moving into counselling. Pastoral care is one of Matt’s strengths, and this has been utilised as a chaplain in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bush fires, running a play group for homeless fathers, helping people recover from spiritual abuse, and in his extensive work with the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) community of Melbourne. Matt is a member of the Australian Counselling Association.

MORNING WORKSHOPS

The RISE OF AFFIRMING EVANGELICALS


Scott Higgins

A small but growing number of evangelical leaders are calling for the affirmation of gay and lesbian partnerships and the full inclusion of lesbian and gay people in the life of the churches. This workshop will explore why this growing call is emerging in evangelicalism and the major ways the Scriptures are being read.

‘I Shall Seek Your Face – Discrimination, Justice and Inclusion’

Benjamin Oh

THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL

What does discrimination actually look like? How is it experienced by the person directly affected? Why is there a gap between the personal experience of discrimination and what we think it looks like?

Importantly, what is true inclusion and why is it so inseparably tied with justice?

This will be a highly interactive workshop, designed for those concerned with bringing about a truly inclusive Christian community, and for anyone who seeks to first understand before being understood.

 

Orientation Change: Myths, Harm and the Reality

Benjamin Gresham with Michael & Phyllis Gresham

Many in the Christian church have heard of sexual orientation change efforts, and ministries claiming to help people change their orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. These are often referred to under the banner of ‘ex-gay’ ministries. The belief is widespread that these ‘ministries’ have shut down in Australia. However, a number of groups still operate under the guise of ‘supporting people struggling with same-sex attraction’.

Ben Gresham will share his own story of the harm resulting from ‘ex-gay’ programs, including years of depression and a suicide attempt. At a time when the validity of such programs is again being raised by some in the church, it is critical to hear first-hand from someone who has been there.

Ben’s parents Michael and Phyllis will also spend some time sharing their own story of reconciling their Christian faith and their views on sexuality, and why it’s important for Christians to love their LGBTI children.

AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS

The RISE OF AFFIRMING EVANGELICALS. HAVING THE CONVERSATION

 Scott Higgins

If there is one thing certain to stir up controversy in evangelical churches is the question of sexuality. Yet  it is a conversation we need to have. This workshop will explore  a model for dialogue  around sexuality that Scott has implemented  with a number of churches in the last two years.  It is built around the idea  of storytelling.  Rather than beginning with a debate about the meaning of biblical texts, we start by exploring stories – our societal story, our church story, our personal stories, and the stories of others.   this provides a relational and empathetic framework to then read the biblical story and ask what it means for us today.

‘I Shall Seek Your Face – Discrimination, Justice and Inclusion’

Benjamin Oh

THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL

What does discrimination actually look like? How is it experienced by the person directly affected? Why is there a gap between the personal experience of discrimination and what we think it looks like?

Importantly, what is true inclusion and why is it so inseparably tied with justice?

This will be a highly interactive workshop, designed for those concerned with bringing about a truly inclusive Christian community, and for anyone who seeks to first understand before being understood.

 

Orientation Change: Myths, Harm and the Reality

Panel Discussion with Hannah Baral, Nathan Despott, Tash Holmes and Anthony Venn-Brown

This panel discussion follows the morning presentation at which Ben Gresham presents on his personal experience of ‘ex-gay’ therapy and the impact on his life and faith.

The afternoon panel session will give attendees an opportunity to hear from people of faith across an age spectrum, and to unpack and explore questions they may have about the  impact of such programs directed at sexual orientation change.

Panel members will share their stories followed by Q&A from the audience. Questions may be submitted by attendees ahead of time or during the session.

TELLING OUR STORIES: HEARING TRANSGENDER & INTERSEX VOICES

Naomi & Elise

The voices of gender diverse people are rarely, if ever, heard in church and most Christians would struggle to understand what it means to be transgender or intersex. Gender is often confused with sexuality; the experience of transgender and intersex people are very different from gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

Additionally, transgender and intersex are often confused. In this special and powerful workshop, Naomi and Elise will guide attendees to an understanding of: What does transgender mean? What is intersex? How should pastoral care look? Why are intersex people invisible in church? How can transgender and intersex people lead us to a deeper understanding of the body of Christ, and the church? Come away with a greater understanding of our siblings in Christ.

VENUE

The entire symposium will be held in Building 6 (Peter Johnson Building, School of Design, Architecture & Building), University of Technology Sydney. Building 6 is at 702 – 730 Harris St Ultimo, right next door to the ABC’s Ultimo Centre.

Registration, keynote addresses and the final panel will take place in the Guthrie Theatre on Level 3 (street entry level). Other workshops will be in nearby breakout rooms.

To find Building CB06: http://maps.uts.edu.au/map.cfm

Access for people with mobility needs is via a ramp at the front of the building. Movement between levels is via lift or stairs – and those with mobility needs will have priority use of the lifts.

 

GETTING THERE

Via train
UTS is a 10-15 minute walk from Central Station (George St / Broadway exit). If coming from interstate Central Station is a 10 minute train journey from the Airport Station.

Driving
Nearest parking is at Interpark parking station, Thomas St (near the corner of Wattle St). The car park is open from 8am – 5pm Saturdays; weekend rate is $15.

PROGRAM

8.30am
Registration & Arrival

9.00am
Opening & Welcome

9.15am
Keynote Speaker. Julie McCrossin

10.00am
Morning Workshops

12.00pm
Lunch and Networking

1.00pm
Keynote Speaker. Matt Glover
“Stories from the Counselling Room. The Impact of Discrimination ,  Justice & Inclusion”

1.45pm
Afternoon Workshops

3.45pm
Afternoon Tea

4.00pm
Panel Discussion

4.45pm
Closing Address

5.00pm
Departure