Richard Gibson and Richard Shumack are highly respected speakers in their own right, and St Bart's was delighted to host them to the CMS Toowoomba conference. Richard Gibson is now principal of the Brisbane School of Theology having spent about 20 years as a lecturer at Moore College in Sydney. His talk, centred on 2 Corinthians 4 and 5 started with the reference to “this treasure in jars of clay” representing Paul’s human frailty and unworthiness. He included an interpretation on what the word “groans” or “groaning” to God really means in this context that rather than complaining it is more about our submission to God. His talk ended with the last verse of Chapter 5 that through our weakness we can be totally free of sin and reconciled to God.
Richard Shumack has been to St Bart's before. As a Christian he is one of the foremost authorities on ministries in Muslim cultures, and is a research fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity in Sydney. Richard’s talk included many testimonies of God’s miraculous ways in a world of terror. From the public execution of fearless Coptic Christians which had a profound effect on the world, to individual stories of Christians standing up for their faith with only a Bible as their defence, the power and triumph of good over evil through God’s intervention engaged strongly with the audience. Closer to home, the action of Christians in Sydney suburbs which have a high representation of Muslims, some of whom are embracing ISIS philosophies, has been to engage in dialogue with Imams in a conciliatory manner.
Over 140 people from the region attended the conference, the biggest Toowoomba conference to date. Thanks goes to the many helpers from St Bart's who assisted in the kitchen and elsewhere.