Ministry Conference 2019

Broken vessels mended with gold
A cracked bowl restored with precious metal formed a powerful symbol of resilience for this year’s Ministry Conference.

In the Japanese art of kintsugi, broken fragments of pottery are joined together with gold, silver or lacquer to create an object that is beautiful in its brokenness.

About 100 clergy and ministry leaders gathered at the Auckland Cathedral over two days in mid-July to reflect on resilience – the ability to come through adversity strengthened.

The topic was chosen with the understanding that those in ministry are not immune to trauma, conflict, burnout and grief. Expectations of leaders and the changing context of mission can take their toll. Guest speaker The Venerable Dr Justine Allain Chapman drew on themes of the desert, Leonard Cohen, the Japanese art of kintsugi, and the life of St Peter as an example of a disciple who came through difficulty to live compassionately and courageously.

“Coping with change and the difficulties of life is something we can’t avoid if we are to live well and become more compassionate to ourselves and those we live amongst. Our spiritual resources can be deepened and shared with greater understanding and we can become wiser, more mature,” Justine said.

As Archdeacon of Boston in the Diocese of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, Justine is familiar with the challenges of parish life. Resilience was the subject of her research into pastoral care as a curate and vicar in South London and head of religious education in a multi-faith school. It led to a doctorate and her book Resilient Pastors: the role of adversity in healing a growth (SPCK 2012).

Conference participants enjoyed the opportunity to share together in small groups and build relationships with others from across the diocese. Newly appointed Diocesan Ministry Educator The Reverend Sarah Moss was commissioned and new altar copies of the eucharistic liturgies were blessed at the conference service.