By Rosie Schefe and Serena Williams
Approximately 1000 participants gathered in the humid embrace of spring in Brisbane for the fourth Australian Conference on Lutheran Education (ACLE) from 30 September to 2 October.
The Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre main hall was transformed into an auditorium for worship and keynote addresses, while a nearby exhibition space provided room for sponsors and exhibitors to talk to participants during breaks or less formal parts of the program.
The strong elective program included a ‘mini-conference’ on Tuesday afternoon: an extended opportunity to try something new, visit the Brisbane cultural precinct or meet with colleagues to discuss mutual areas of responsibility.
Meeting under the theme ’Wise Up! Transforming Mind, Body and Heart in Lutheran Education’, the conference drew not only teachers and other educators, but also pastors, people in non-teaching roles and international guests from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the United States.
But it wasn’t just about professional and spiritual development: ACLE has always been about meeting old and new colleagues from around Australia, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, as people share their experiences and memories of service in Lutheran schools.
On the stage were 16-year-old Amy DeMartino and 17-year-old Tom Smith, bringing tears to the eyes of some of the 900 assembled teachers as they sang How Great is our God in opening worship on the final morning of ACLE …