Embracing Life and Gathering Wisdom

29 May 2018

Embracing Life and Gathering Wisdom was a conference on aging co-hosted by the Australian College of Ministries, the Sydney College of Divinity and Charles Sturt University. It was held at the Sydney College of Divinity from 27-28 September 2018 and explored the theological, pastoral and clinical insights into human flourishing at the end of life.

Community service and aged-care agencies, helping professionals and individuals, are exploring how to foster flourishing
for ourselves and those we care for throughout different life stages.
What are the theological implications of ageing?
What unique pastoral demands arise?
What clinical insights inform best practice for care?

The conference explored the nature of embracing life and gathering wisdom, especially in the context of ageing and as we approach the end of life. It addressed these important questions from the perspectives of practitioners, academics and students, and from reflection on professional practice and personal narrative.

Paper presentations and workshops included:

  • chaplaincy and pastoral care
  • theological insights into flourishing at the end of life
  • challenges faced by clinicians in providing wholistic care
  • insights into the impact of mental health issues, disability, dementia and chronic pain on human flourishing.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Kirsty Beilharz is Director of Music Engagement at HammondCare and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh U.K., applying music research in the context of aged, restorative and palliative care, with a focus on music in dementia research. She is author of ”Music Remembers Me: Connection and Wellbeing in Dementia”.

Professor Bruce A Stevens is Wicking Professor of Ageing and Practical Theology and Director of the Colloquium for Ageing Perspectives and Spirituality ( CAPS) at Charles Stuart University. He has written eight books, including two for Wiley-Blackwell and one for New Harbinger on schema therapy. Most recently he is the is author of “Emotional Learning: The way we are wired for intimacy”.

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