Conversations and explorations with friends by the sea

Worship in the 21st Century

A conversational event that draws people together to explore and create ideas that push the edges of worship leadership and discipleship

October 8 – 10, 2019

St Andrews By the Sea, Jetty Road, Glenelg


Delve into your own creativity in worship planning and artistic expression.


Engage with other worship curators and creators from around the world.


Dive into the depth and breadth of why and how we do worship.

Key presenters

Meet Our Key Presenters

Libby Byrne
Libby Byrne
Malcolm Gordon
Malcolm Gordon
Mark Pierson
Mark Pierson
Charissa Suli
Charissa Suli

Presenter Bios

Learn more about each of our fantastic presenters.

Libby Byrne

As an Artist:

Libby’s art making practice is a means to explore questions of meaning and existence that capture her attention. Within the studio she is seeking to discover ideas, images and experiences that will extend the way she thinks, perceives and responds to these questions. Within her practice she explores that which is particular and also shared in the experience of being human, whilst seeking and sometimes finding the presence of God in those places. In this way, her studio practice is theology in the making.

As an Art Therapist:

Over the past decade Libby has worked as an art therapist in the public health sector in Melbourne, with a particular focus in Palliative Care.  Libby has specialized in assisting people to use art as a means of honouring and reflecting on significant life experiences as well as creating opportunities to develop meaningful and personal ritual in and around the experience of death. Libby now works as a Lecturer, teaching in the Art Therapy Programs at La Trobe University.

As a Theologian:

Libby completed a PhD with the University of Divinity, developing and trialling an art-based method of theological inquiry method. This work is a visual exploration of  ‘Healing Art and the Art of Healing’. She now works as an adjunct lecturer with Whitley College and an Honorary Post-Doctoral Researcher with the UD. Over the past decade, Libby has been engaged to develop liturgical images that feed the spiritual health of congregations and communities.  These images challenge and engage people with questions of ultimate concern.  Libby has engaged ‘art in ministry’ with:

  • Merri Creek Anglican
  • Box Hill Baptist Church.
  • Brunswick Uniting Church.
  • Centre for Theology and Ministry, Parkville.
  • Chapel on Station Gallery, Box Hill.
  • Hartwell Church of Christ.
  • St John’s Anglican Church, Diamond Creek.
  • St Stephen’s Anglican Church, Belmont.
  • All Saints Anglican Church, Greensborough.

Malcolm Gordon

An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, Malcolm has just completed 5 years as the Worship, Music and Arts Enabler for the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership. This role saw him developing fresh, creative resources for worship, forming collaborating communities of artists around NZ and teaching on the formative potential of creative worship. Central to this was the Illustrated Gospel Project, 
which saw new voicings of Luke and Mark’s Gospels created:  


He has now moved into fulltime doctoral study in the area of lament through Otago University, exploring the interface between human grief and divine love. Malcolm teaches on worship at Carey Baptist College, Laidlaw College and the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership. 


He is also an accomplished songwriter, in both congregational worship and as a singer/songwriter. His latest album, ‘Thistledown’ (Dec 2017) reached #11 on the NZ album charts. He lives in Dunedin with his wife Vanessa, and thier three children, Sam, Lucy and Robbie. He likes cricket.




Mark Pierson

Mark Pierson is passionate about designing worship events and spaces that enable people, inside and outside the church, to engage with the trinitarian community of God in appropriate, creative, life-giving, formative and transformative ways.



Living in Auckland and a minister in the Baptist family of Churches in New Zealand, he has developed the model of worship curator over the last 15 years. In that time he has written extensively and led many seminars about integrating the arts, faith and worship curation, with a wide range of denominations and Christian organizations, seminaries, conferences, and festivals in the USA, UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. For the last four years Mark has been  pastor/curator with the independent Rhythms of Grace church community in Newmarket, Auckland. 


Mark’s Master of Ministry was an analysis of how God can speak through art – specifically contemporary Stations of the Cross. His hope is that his young grandsons will find Christian communities of faith that engage them and nurture their spirituality without their having to undergo cultural circumcision. His book, “The Art of Curating Worship: reshaping the role of worship leader” contributes to this discussion.


Charissa Suli

 Charissa Suli is a second generation Tongan Minister of the Word, ordained in 2014 she currently serves as Assembly National Consultant with the Uniting Church in Australia, she spends her time in the many different cultural communities across the Uniting Church, encouraging UCA members to be disciples of Christ and building networks of trust along the way.

Charissa has previously served as a Cross Cultural Consultant in the NSW/ACT Synod’s Board of Mission, Youth Leader in Dee Why on Sydney’s northern beaches and as Convenor of the Tongan National Conference (TNC). Her role on TNC was to mentor emerging young leaders, lead programs for youth and young adults and bridge the gap between the first and second generation Tongan community.

In her spare time, Charissa enjoys walks along the beach with her husband Langi and spending time with their four children Susitina, Liekina, Latu and Azariah.  

Conference Schedule

Balancing the input thing and the conversation thing blurb

Where It’s At

St Andrews By the Sea
Jetty Road, Glenelg

St Andrews By the Sea


Early Bird


Discount price before August 31




Any concession




Full price individual




Unlimited congregational participation


Day Rate

$120 per day 



* for rural discount pricing, please email