From left: Amy-Jill Levine; Bishop Mark Edwards; Sr Sheila Flynn; Fr Ronald Rolheiser
The 2016 CaSPA Conference Committee have finalised details of the Keynote Presenters for our bienniel conference at the Crown Conference Centre in Melbourne from July 3-5, 2016.
Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leonda B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences
Amy-Jill Levine is Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leonda B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences. Holding a BA from Smith College an MA and Ph.D. from Duke University and an honorary doctorate of Ministry from the University of Richmond, Amy-Jill Levine has been awarded grants from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. Dr Levine is an internationally respected Biblical scholar and has written widely on various areas of Biblical study. One of her most widely known books is "The Misunderstood Jew: the Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus". Dr Levine has held office in the "Society of Biblical Literature", the "Catholic Biblical Association" and the "Association for Jewish Studies". A self-described "Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches in a predominantly Christian Divinity school in the buckle of the Bible Belt", Professor Levine combines historical-critical rigor, literary-critical sensitivity, and a frequent dash of humour with a commitment to eliminating anti-Jewish, sexist and homophobic theologies
Born the eldest of four children to a family in the oil industry, Mark Edwards moved frequently in his youth. His family eventually settled in Glen Waverley, Melbourne, where he completed Grade 5 and 6 at St Leonards and his secondary education at Mazenod College. After completing a Science degree at Monash University in 1979, Mark joined the Oblates and was ordained a priest in 1986. He gained a Bachelor of Theology and Diploma of Education during this time.
Father Edwards' priestly appointments have all involved education. He was a teacher at both Mazenod College, Mulgrave, and Iona College, Brisbane and held middle management positions as Co-Ordinator of Religious Education, Mathematics and Year 8 at various times. After 11 years of teaching, Father Mark was involved for 13 years in priestly formation holding a variety of roles in this area at St Mary's Oblate Seminary. He gained a PhD in Philosophy through Monash University and did a little tertiary lecturing at Catholic Theological College, East Melbourne. He was then reappointed to Iona College, Brisbane, as principal in 2011. This concluded with the announcement of his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in November 2014.
Bishop Mark values the Church and community very highly and he self-identifies as being a missionary.
While Bishop Mark is still working out what an Auxiliary Bishop does, he believes that the core of the role is to be a living witness to the Resurrection of Christ and he is awed at the experience of being a minister of the Holy Spirit particularly through the sacraments of Confirmation and Orders.
Sheila Flynn joined the Dominican Sisters in London, England, in 1969. In 1988 Sheila was missioned to South Africa where she studied Fine Arts at the University of Johannesburg (then called Witwatersrand Technikon) obtaining distinction in printmaking, sculpture and theory, where she also trained as a teacher in the visual arts. She founded the first academic support programme there for black students, as well as the first papermaking research unit. Sr Sheila lectured for 8 years at this tertiary institute before going into full time development work. Sr Sheila remains a practising artist. Her work has been exhibited in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, India, Switzerland and the United States. Responding to the deep need for women's empowerment within a climate of HIV/AIDS where loss and struggle are part of everyday life, Sr Sheila founded the Kopanang Community Trust (situated 55 km south east of Johannesburg), a project that addresses these critical needs in life-giving and creative ways, within the context of a faith-building community. Sr Sheila is a member of the Dominican Sisters of Eastern Australia and the Solomon Islands and remains missioned in South Africa, living in the black township of Tsakane, representing the Congregation there.
Ronald Rolheiser, a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is President of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio Texas, a position he has held since 2005. He received his doctorate at the University of Louvain and is a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the Canadian Theological Society and the Religious Studies Association of Alberta. He is a specialist in the fields of spirituality and systematic theology. He is also a community builder, lecturer and writer. His books are popular throughout the English speaking world and his weekly column is carried by more than seventy newspapers worldwide. His latest book "Sacred Fire" was named the "Top Book in Spirituality" in the USA in 2015. Fr. Ron still is very involved in the life of his large extended family and most Christmases you will find him in his home church, St. Donatus, near the former family farm in Cactus Lake, Saskatchewan. Fr. Ron is also known for his commitment to prayer and exercise, a continuing love of sports, his sense of humour, his loyalty to his friends, and the enjoyment of the odd cigar and the odd scotch.
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