Christian Living

What to expect at the 2022 P&A Annual Conference: An interview with Director Jane Tooher

ACR: Thank you Jane for taking the time to answer our questions! Firstly, who is the conference for?

The P&A conference is aimed primarily at women and men in vocational ministry, but other Christians are most welcome to attend, and do come each year. The annual conference in 2022 is on 31 January, 8.30am-5pm.

ACR: One thing that God has perhaps taught us during this season of Covid is to really mean it when we say, ‘If the Lord wills it’ (Jas 4:13-15). Having come through the lockdown/s of 2021, an important thing to ask is, will the conference be in-person? (And is there an online option just in case, or for those who can’t get to Newtown?)

The conference will be both in-person (if the Lord wills it!) and livestream. In-person tickets are limited, so if you want to come face to face, register soon! We will also have an overflow room for the plenary sessions, so some delegates won’t be in the same room as the main speakers. But for all the electives, delegates will be in the same room as the speakers.

Delegates will have access to the talks for 2 weeks after the conference, except for one elective which will not be recorded as per the speaker’s request. We hope the flexibility in timing will help not only those in Sydney, but also those in different time zones.

ACR: Can you give us a taste of what to expect this year?

Too often when we consider the ministries of men and women, we limit our scope to the classic passages, for example 1 Corinthians 11, 14 and 1 Timothy 2. But there are many other passages that help us better understand the ministries of women, and the ministries of men and women together. One area that I believe has been largely neglected are the ‘one another’ commands. Peter Orr will give the plenary talks on these commands and Lucy Williams will illustrate some of them by sharing her testimony. I will also give a short talk.

I think the 10 afternoon electives will prove to be a treasure trove that will further help us better understand God’s word, and life and ministry practice as disciples of Jesus Christ.

The speakers and topics are:

  1. Dangerous Scripture? How should we trust 1 Peter 3:1-7? (Peter Jensen)
  2. Working as a complementarian team in student ministry (Candice Bergamin & Pete Sorrenson)
  3. Is Huldah also among the prophets? (Paul Williamson)
  4. Equality, identity and unity: Basic biblical thinking about human relationships (Mark Thompson)
  5. Women patrons in Luke and Acts (Jess Sheely)
  6. Hannah More: Abolitionist, writer, teacher, businesswoman and woman of God (Susan An)
  7. Another turn on how women should learn (Nathan Walter & Talar Khatchoyan)
  8. The other half of church: Living out the ‘one another’ commands once the formal church service is over (Simon & Margie Gillham)
  9. The fruit of the Spirit in ALL God’s children: How not to confuse virtues with gender (David Höhne)
  10. ‘Among the apostles’: Junia, Apostolic Plurality, and ‘Team’ Ministry in Romans (Lionel Windsor)

ACR: There are so many great Christian conferences to choose from every year (certainly in Sydney!). Why would you encourage people to come to this one?

A proper understanding of humanity is second in importance only to a proper understanding of God. To understand what it means to be human, we need to keep thinking about what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman. And we need to keep thinking about how men and women can minister together to build Christ’s church and reach the lost with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is rare to have a conference that aims to both encourage the ministries of women, and to think seriously and creatively about how men and women can minister together. So the P&A conference is really looking at the ‘application end’ of complementarianism. Too often we can assume what we think on the topic without being able to give a good defence of our position from Scripture. And too often we don’t think creatively enough about the many and varied and wonderful ways we can live out complementarianism. The P&A conference helps delegates embrace complementarianism. This is extremely important as it impacts how we understand ourselves, others, and each of the ministries at our churches.

ACR: The P&A Centre does more than run an annual conference. How can people benefit from the ministry of the P&A Centre?

We have over 1000 free resources on our website. We also advertise ministry positions for women.

In 2022 we plan to host two evening seminars aimed at Christians. These will both be face to face (Lord willing) and livestream.

In June, Archdeacon Kara Hartley and Canon Phil Colgan will speak on the very much neglected subject of church discipline. They will look at what it is, when it should happen, who should do it, and if there are any differences we need to consider between men and women when it comes to the topic.

In October, Andrew Heard, senior pastor of EV church (FIEC) in Erina, will speak on Proverbs 31. Many Christians are confused about this passage and how it applies to us today, so it should prove to be an excellent evening that provides much clarity.

ACR: Many thanks, Jane – looking forward to all of these!