Awe and Wonder

For three days in August, more than 300 delegates from across Australia met in Hobart to engage in stimulating discussion, fellowship and learning as part of the 2019 Anglican Schools Australia (ASA) Conference.

With a conference theme of ‘Awe and Wonder’, what better place to express awe for the world around us, to celebrate children’s curiosity, imagination and wonder and to marvel in the beauty of God’s creation than in the beautiful harbour side city of Hobart?

We heard from a group of inspiring speakers who explored the theme of Awe and Wonder through rich stories and reflections. John Zeckendorf led us in reflecting on God’s word and world, by taking us to the summit of Mt Everest and into the everyday beauty that is all around us. Canon Chancellor at St Paul’s Cathedral, London Dr Paula Gooder spoke of tracing awe and wonder through the biblical tradition and Reverend Dr Daniel Heischman, Executive Director of the National Association of Episcopal Schools USA presented a paper on Anglican identity as reflected in Australian schools.

We also learnt more about the wellbeing of Gen Z from social researcher, Claire Madden and University of Tasmania Vice Chancellor Professor Rufus Black spoke about place-based education, while Olympic champion, Duncan Armstrong entertained and inspired us all to unlock our potential.

A special feature of this year’s conference was the launch of the inaugural ASA Student Celebration. This wonderful initiative highlighted the breadth and extent of student service projects in school, local or international communities.

A highlight of the conference program was a Eucharist at St David’s Cathedral that featured a thought-provoking sermon from The Right Reverend Dr Richard Condie, together with beautiful music from the three Tasmanian Anglican Schools, The Hutchins School, St Michael’s Collegiate School and Launceston Church Grammar School and a large congregation that filled the Cathedral in number and fine voice.

The Anglican Schools Australia Conference is an important event on the calendar as educators, chaplains and clergy from around Australia come together to share their immense collective knowledge and experience. Hobart proved the perfect place for a conference theme of Awe and Wonder as together over 300 delegates marveled in God’s creation and celebrated the wonder and enthusiasm that children bring us in our work in Anglican Schools across this country.

Dr Rob McEwan, 2019 ASA Conference Chair, Headmaster, The Hutchins School