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Powerful Words


Powerful Words

Saturday, 23rd September

Audio of the conference talks is freely available here

Chaplaincy is a prayerful cross-cultural ministry that focuses on the needs of others. Chaplains meet people at times of special need, loss and vulnerability and offer a safe place to explore issues of meaning and belonging. This conference explored how faith, love and hope inform pastoral relationships.

The conference featured keynote speaker Dr Rhys Bezzant, Dean of Missional Leadership and a Lecturer in Christian Thought at Ridley College, Melbourne who opened the conference with his address ‘Our Days and God’s Years: Pastoral Care in Times of Change’. Other speakers included David Pettett (Head of Chaplaincy at Anglicare Sydney), Peter Ellem (Chaplain at Children’s Hospital, Westmead) and Peter Frith (Mental Health Chaplain & Disaster Recovery Chaplain). The conference was concluded with a live performance of a radio play written and produced by Kate Bradford.


‘Our Days and God’s Years: Pastoral Care in Times of Change’

Dr Rhys Bezzant, Ridley College

In Psalm 102, the fleeting days of human life are set in the context of God’s timing and his power to make a difference. With reflection on the importance of individual care in the course of Christian history, this address expounded how to value our opportunities to serve our neighbour in pastoral settings.

Rhys Bezzant’s address set the tone for the day by building an excellent foundation and creating a theological context for all that was to follow. He demonstrated clearly the way in which the 'one-to-one' ministry of chaplaincy is an important and authentic Protestant ministry.

‘A Captive Audience – Christian Ministry to people in prison’

David Pettett, Prison Chaplain

  1. What does a prison chaplain do?
  2. Questions prisoners ask.
  3. Prisoners of other Faiths and none.

‘Chaplaincy at the Crossroads’

Peter Ellem, Hospital Chaplain

  1. Chaplaincy happens at the crossroads, it's where suffering crosses into people's realities as an unexpected and unwanted guest, but there, God can be found.
  2. The cross tells us God is there, the cross tells us how He is there, and the cross points to hope when everything might seem hopeless.
  3. Chaplaincy helps people encounter God in the harsh realities of everyday life, in the anguish of their suffering and in the public space where private agonies are borne.

'Chaplains in the firing line: The Lindt Café siege'

Peter Frith, Mental Health & Disaster Recovery Chaplain

  1. When terrorism came to Sydney
  2. Christ in the chaos
  3. Would I do it again?

'The Job Verbatim: What not to say' based on The Bible – Book of Job

Written and produced by Kate Bradford, Anglican Lay Minister & Hospital Chaplain

The radio play explores Chaplaincy themes of loss, blame, retribution, minimization and theodicy through the scriptural lens of the Book of Job.

The Job Verbatim allowed us to demonstrate powerfully the importance of recalling pastoral conversations for the invaluable information that they contain for assessing the nature and effect of pastoral interactions. The verbatim also allowed us to work creatively with one of the essential and non-negotiable aspects of all civil chaplaincy training - that is - the participation in case study reviews and the ensuing and related self-reflection on the pastoral encounter (listening to self).