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International Speakers Present at 11th Annual Bonhoeffer Conference

8 December 2015 | General Interest

For the first time in its 11 year history, the Bonhoeffer Conference welcomed two international scholars to present at the event: Dr Michael Mawson from the University of Aberdeen and Dr Don Fergus, Minister of Religion in Christchurch, New Zealand.

In previous years, this respected academic conference was ably run by the University of Newcastle. This year, The Broken Bay Institute (BBI) took up the mantle with the topic ‘Discipleship in Bonhoeffer’ to examine how Bonhoeffer continues to challenge our understanding of the Church today.

Dr Rachelle Gilmour, Lecturer in Biblical Studies at BBI said “The Bonhoeffer conference was a beautiful retreat from the busy-ness of life to reflect on the life and thought of one of the most profound thinkers of the 20th century. The presentations on themes such as suffering, community, confession and ecology were stimulating and deeply relevant to the challenges of our contemporary context.”



The event was held over 3 and 4 December in Kincumber NSW and also featured keynote sessions from Dr Maurice Schild, a retired lecturer from the Lutheran College, Adelaide and Di Rayson, doctoral candidate, University of Newcastle.

Dr Schild is a long-time scholar of Bonhoeffer held in high regard by members of the International Bonhoeffer Society and Ms Rayson, who is currently completing a thesis on Bonhoeffer, is a former winner of the annual Flechtheim Scholarship for work that enhances Bonhoeffer scholarship.

The conference delved into key issues such as forgiveness, eco-theology, Christology, ethics and political engagement.

Professor Terry Lovat, Bonhoeffer Conference Chair, said “I was delighted to be able to welcome four esteemed and emerging Bonhoeffer scholars to deliver keynote presentations this year. My special thanks to BBI for their ongoing support of the event.  All the guests and participants were most impressed with the generosity and professionalism of the Institute in its sponsorship and organisation.”

In 2016, BBI will again sponsor the conference, with Professor Clifford Green, Union Seminary, NY, as the main keynote presenter.  Professor Green is among a handful of the most eminent Bonhoeffer scholars in the world, having spent 30 years being mentored by and an academic colleague of Eberhard Bethge, Bonhoeffer’s biographer and friend. Bethge was the recipient of Bonhoeffer’s ‘Letters to a Friend’, documents that contain the heart of what is referred to as Bonhoeffer’s ‘Prison Theology’.


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