Summer Spirit, CEDAL’s* flagship summer event, was held on Saturday 19 February, 2022. This year the theme was “The Heart of an Unspoken Gospel: Kindness and Other Values”.
Held at All Saints Floreat Uniting Church and with record attendance, Summer Spirit lived up to its expectations as an event not to be missed. In the lead-up, host, Dr Elaine Ledgerwood described Summer Spirit as “refreshing you for the year, equipping you for ministry in your location, and supporting you to explore your faith with opportunities that individual congregations cannot host”.
Hugh Mackay, renowned psychologist, social researcher and author was the keynote speaker. Over two hours (with a tea break in-between) Hugh discussed, distilled and explored with the audience relevant topics for the Uniting Church and its congregations, including social fragmentation, individualism, the effects of the pandemic, how catastrophes build our resilience, staying relevant as a Church, kindness as an expression of love and more. Hugh’s talk was based on his books The Kindness Revolution and The Inner Self: the joy of discovering who we are in which he researched and discussed these subjects in-depth and at length. Hugh also read some quotes from his books – some of the quotes are included here.
Other Summer Spirit speakers included Rev Rob Douglas, Presbytery Minister (Mission), Ana Lea’aetoa, Candidate for the Ministry of Deacon and Rev Hannes Halgryn, Associate General Secretary (Strategy).
Rob spoke to Genesis 18:1-15, about Abraham welcoming strangers. Ana shared with us the values of Tongan society and the learning curve of raising children between two cultures – Australian and Tongan. Hannes led the audience on a journey of discernment to define, as a Christian community, our values of hope, justice, creativity, compassion, integrity and accountability. The discernment process was a reflective “bottom-up” process led from the heart, rather than from the mind.
After this, attendees joined selected workshops for further group discussions on values and belonging. These were led by Elaine, Hannes, Rob, Rev Claire Pickering and Rev Dr Christine Sorensen.
The event closed with a reflective prayer.
And just like the season of summer, Summer Spirit turned on the heat, rejuvenated us, set the tone for the year and equipped us for the seasons to follow.
* Commission for Education for Discipleship and Leadership