Crisis and Hope: Reading Bonhoeffer for Today

 ‘We should have so much love for this contemporary world of ours, for our fellow human beings, that we should declare our solidarity with it in its crisis and hope’ (DBWE 10:326).

The XIV International Bonhoeffer Congress, “Crisis and Hope: Reading Bonhoeffer for Today,” was held January 14-18, 2024 in Sydney, Australia at the Wesley Conference Centre. Plenary speakers and papers delivered in concurrent sessions were focused, in one way or another, on the question: how can engaging Bonhoeffer help with understanding and negotiating some of the many challenges that we are facing today? 

The Congress featured an opening service at St. Stephen’s Uniting Church, plenary presentations by Dr. Anne Pattel-Gray, Dr. Robert Vosloo, Dr. Willie James Jennings, Dr. Lisa Dahill, Dr. Dianne Rayson, and Dr. Lap Yan Kung, more than twenty concurrent paper sessions, morning devotions, and a closing plenary panel. Dr. Pattel-Gray, Professor of Indigenous Studies and inaugural Head of School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Divinity offered a powerful opening address that set an important tone for the entire conference. Describing Bonhoeffer as an “unfinished hero,” she challenged participants to read Bonhoeffer against the co-opting and colonizing powers of racism, white supremacy, and nationalisms. These themes echoed in other plenary and parallel sessions, in reading Bonhoeffer to pay attention – for example – to the climate crisis, to war, to carceral systems and to ethics, vulnerability, creation, and joy.  

The XIV International Bonhoeffer Congress was organized by a committee led by Di Rayson and Michael Mawson. Other members of the committee included Terry Lovat, Jason Lam, Peter Walker, and Andrew Clark-Howard. Nearly 150 participants from around the world attended. 

Apineru Tavita

Lap Yan Kung, Di Rayson, Willie James Jennings, Lisa Dahill, Lori Brandt Hale, Robert Vosloo




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