Summer Spirit, a continuing education and discipleship event of the Uniting Church WA, will be held on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 February 2022. This year’s event will explore values, as the Uniting Church WA goes through it’s own process of considering its values for its next strategic plan.
Included in the line-up of speakers is Hugh Mackay AO, Australian psychologist, social researcher and author of 22 books, including The Kindness Revolution. Hugh will be sharing insights from this new book, as well as from his book, The Inner Self: the joy of discovering who we really are and will encourage guests to think about the kinds of values that Australian society aspires.
Hugh believes that through kindness, we can create a better world.
“I would define kindness as anything we do to show another person that we take them seriously – and that can be anything from a friendly smile or wave to an offer of a meal, a helping hand in a crisis or, most particularly, our commitment to being attentive and empathic listeners,” he said.
“In The Kindness Revolution, I’m suggesting that whenever we face a crisis – like the pandemic, or fires, floods, wars, etc – we always rise to the occasion and act in ways that are true to the best of our human nature.
“We are kind to friends and strangers alike. We look out for the most vulnerable people in our communities. We rediscover the importance of neighbourliness. We make sacrifices for the common good.
“The question is: why don’t we go on acting like that, even when the crisis has passed?
“The answer is that our innate capacity for kindness, because we belong to a social species that needs social harmony to survive, can easily be overlooked in favour of more selfish, Hugh believes that churches have a lot to offer when it comes to kindness. He said the best way for Christians to be part of the kindness revolution, is to read the Sermon on the Mount, and then put it into practice.
“If Christianity’s role is not to foster kindness and compassion, then it’s hard to see what its social purpose is,” he said.
“When churches let dogma and doctrine – or even ‘religious identity’ – get in the way of serving others and responding to the needs of a wounded society, their true mission is lost.
“By influence and example, Christians can help bring about the transformation into a culture built on kindness and compassion. What if Australia became known as ‘the loving country’ rather than simply ‘the lucky country’!
“Kindness is the purest form of human love, because it involves no emotion or affection. We can be kind to people we don’t like, couldn’t ever agree with, and don’t even know – this is how we make sense of Jesus’ injunction to ‘love your enemies’.
“As Samuel Johnson wrote: Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.”
Summer Spirit will also feature two afternoon workshops with staff of the Uniting Church WA: Rev Hannes Halgren, Associate General Secretary (Strategy); Rev Dr Christine Sorensen, Presbytery Minister (Formation and Discipleship); Rev Rob Douglas, Presbytery Minister (Mission); and Dr Elaine Ledgerwood, Presbytery Minister (VET).
These sessions will work through the values of the Uniting Church WA, as a Christian community of hope, justice, creativity, compassion, integrity, accountability and compassion.
Guests can also join a discussion exploring how they can live out their values in their own contexts.
Summer Spirit will be held on Friday night 18 to Saturday 19 February at All Saints Floreat Uniting Church. All Uniting Church members, leaders, ministers and friends are invited to join.
Registration is $120 per person, or $100 early bird before 31 December 2021. Register five people and get the sixth free!
For more information or to register, visit eventbrite.com.au/e/summer-spirit-2022-tickets-200697380267 or email PA.Education@wa.uca.org.au