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The Art of Reconciliation

This unit explores the possibilities and challenges of growing into agents of reconciliation in Australia today. It will examine: 

  • Theological foundations for a ministry of presence and reconciliation today;  
  • Key causes and effects of relational breakdown and dysfunction in Australia, including between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians; 
  • Gifts and challenges of engaging in forgiveness and reconciliation with First Nation Australians, and in wider personal and social relationships; 
  • The art of fostering justice, truth, mercy and peace in the church and society; 
  • Personal and communal resources for sustaining a ministry of presence and reconciliation across diverse contexts in Australia. 

Lecturer: Tim McCowan
Offered: On-Campus – Refer to Timetable
Also delivered online DP/DS3/9730S 

Undergraduate: Level 3
Postgraduate: Level 9 elective

Discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies  


Undergraduate: 2 units in Field D, 1 unit in Field B & 1 unit in Field C
Postgraduate: AIFC’s Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Integrated Psychotherapy (Spiritual)
OR 1 unit  in Field D, 1 unit in Field B & 1 unit in Field C

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Articulate theological foundations for a ministry of reconciliation and presence with First Nation Australians and in other personal and social relationships; 
  2. Articulate critical causes and effects of relational breakdown in personal and social contexts; 
  3. Communicate the gifts and challenges involved in the ministry of reconciliation with First Nation Australians and in other personal and social relationships;  
  4. Demonstrate practices that foster and sustain a ministry of reconciliation and presence across Australia; 
  5. Apply research to communicate the possibilities and challenges of promoting forgiveness and reconciliation for a specific context in Australia.


Seminar Paper  (2000 words) 50%
Essay (3000 words) 50%

Research Project (3500 words) 50%
Essay (3500 words) 50%

Select Bibliography:

*Recommended reading

Armstrong, KTwelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. 

Benner, D.G. Presence and Encounter. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2014. 

Cherry, SHealing Agony. London: Continuum Intl Pub Group, 2012. 

Grant, STalking to My Country. Sydney: Harper Collins, 2016. 

Grattan, M. (editor). Reconciliation: Essays on Reconciliation. Melbourne: Black Inc., 2000. 

Greenspan, MHealing through the Dark EmotionsBoston: Shambhala Publications, 2003. 

Mollica, R.F. Healing Invisible Wounds. Nashville: Vanderbilt Uni Press, 2006. 

Newell, J.PThe Rebirthing of God. Woodstock, VT: SkyLight Paths Publ., 2014. 

Palmer, P.J. Healing the Heart of Democracy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011. 

Perkins, R. and M. Langton, eds. First Australians. Carlton: The Miegunyah Press, 2010. 

Reynolds, HWhy Weren’t We Told? Ringwood, Vic.: Viking, 1999. 

Schreiter, R.J. The Ministry of Reconciliation. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1998. 

Walters, KPracticing Presence. Franklin, WI: Sheed & Ward, 2001.