Directors of Religious Studies from Palmerston North and Wellington primary schools came together in May for a three-day conference themed ‘Fully Alive’.
Shane Winterton, psychologist for the Ministry of Education, was the keynote speaker overviewing the ‘Human Givens’ approach to understanding the ways individuals and society work.
Through his presentation the group saw that human beings come into this world with a clearly defined set of physical and emotional needs. If our emotional needs are met we remain in ‘good health’.
Dr Chris Duthie-Jung, Archbishop John Dew, Mark Richards and Fr Patrick Bridgman followed Shane’s presentation, showing clear links to our own Catholic faith understandings with specific links to our sacramental calling.
An example of this is our human need to belong to community and our baptismal call to participate in our Church community.
Day two of the conference was held at Hato Paora College.
The DRS team was welcomed onto the school grounds with a powhiri and Fr Matt Crawford celebrated Mass.
Rex and Theresa Begley then led a retreat on the conference theme. While at Hato Paora the group had the privilege to join the school as they briefly hosted the family and friends of a deceased old boy of the school.
Experiencing this deeply moving ‘welcome back’ to an ex-student and his family and friends was recognized as a gift by all of the DRSs and highlighted the beauty of Maori spirituality.
On the final day of the conference the group welcomed back Wendie Hildred, previous Religious Education Advisor for Palmerston North.
She joined Maureen Phillips working with the conference participants to look at ways of taking the conference message back to schools.
The conference, hosted by the Palmerston North Diocese, was seen as a successful sharing of time, talent and treasure by both diocesan groups.