About "Setting Out for Home" – Our National Gathering for Sustainability at EREA

On June 1, representatives of the EREA Network will gather at the National Arboretum in Canberra to respond to Pope Francis’ call to come together and care for our common home. At this place of renewal and restoration, overlooking our nation’s capital, we will pause to look back on our absence from our common home, to perceive the emerging horizon of our return and to co-create a path that might enable us to get there - together. In doing so, we will be seeking to follow Pope Francis’ claim that, “…when our hearts are open to universal communion, this sense of fraternity excludes nothing and no one.” (Laudato si’, 92).

Significantly, at this gathering, we will be joined by Principals from across the country, who are also meeting in Canberra for their National annual conference to focus on our collective response to Pope Francis’ radical call. As such, this gathering will provide our network with the opportunity to inquire into and co-create our emerging sense of a sustainable future that responds to the call to come together and care for our common home. As a network of schools across Australia, with increasingly global links, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to create a path towards a future we have been promised.


Click here for the invitation to nominate school delegates to join with Principals across the EREA Network at the National Gathering for Sustainability.

Wider Context of the National Gathering for Sustainability


Each year EREA Principals participate in a significant gathering which addresses issues relating to the role of principal, the church in the world, and signs of the times which impact upon education, leadership and justice. In 2017, we meet in our national capital, Canberra, hosted by St Edmund’s College and the National Arboretum.

Inspired by the encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ and encouraged by the work of our EREA Board Sustainability Committee, we join with invited delegates from our schools to reflect upon and discern the shape of a network wide response to ecological sustainability. Through the process of Connecting, Nourishing, Naming and Illuminating, we will share our wisdom and determine a practical response.

Most significantly, we gather on June 1 at the National Arboretum, a significant place of regeneration, renewal and healing, to proclaim as a family of Edmund Rice Schools, a National Apology to the Victims and Survivors of Sexual Abuse in our Schools.

As we explore these connected, confronting, yet inspiring themes, we continue to strengthen our relationships and deepen our solidarity. We are challenged to look back, acknowledge past wrongs against our earth and our fellow humans, and seek a pathway to a future which affirms the dignity of all created life. In doing so, we firmly reject any option or actions which diminish life and undermine our solidarity.

Purpose of Our National Gathering for Sustainability at EREA

  • To gather around the invitation from the EREA Sustainability Committee to come together as a national network and shape our response to the call of the encyclical to care for our common home.
  • For those gathered to gain clarity and coherence around the nature of this invitation and to enrol their support and participation.
  • To inquire into and name possible ways of responding to and shaping a network wide response to this invitation - including discernment of parameters, scope and needs.

In striving to provide space for the above, we would hope that the National Gathering for Sustainability at EREA enables…

  • a breaking open of the personal and communal implications that the call for an ecological consciousness informed by an integral ecology requires.
  • a growing appreciation of the skills, attitudes and practices (prayerfulness) that might enable the emergence of an ecological consciousness for sustainability.
  • the emergence of possible ways that schools and the national network can respond to and shape the invitation from the EREA Sustainability Committee to come together and care for our common home.

Attending the National Gathering for Sustainability at EREA

The EREA Sustainability Committee is seeking to invite delegates from across our schools, to join with Principals, members of the EREA Executive and EREA Sustainability in pioneering our collective response to care for our common home at the National Gathering for Sustainability at EREA.

As Pope Francis states:
 “A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal.”
(Laudato si’, 202)  


What would it take to animate the call for an integral ecology such that we learn together how to live and work sustainably on our planet?

What is required for your school and the wider EREA Network to take the transformative journey to ecological sustainability?

Are you interested in coming together with colleagues, including all Principals from across the EREA Network, to meet this challenge?

If your heart leaps at these questions and at the prospect of being a part of this significant gathering, then you should apply!

Places at the National Gathering for Sustainability are limited. If you are interested in attending, you need to submit an application (see below).


Key Information for those applying as delegates:

  • Keep in mind that as places are limited, not all who apply to be a school delegate will be able to attend. However, as this gathering is the beginning of a network wide response, all applicants, regardless of whether your application is successful, will be enrolled as members of a regionally based Learning Community for Sustainability. It is the intent of the EREA Sustainability Committee that these learning communities would gather regionally as a follow up to the National Gathering for Sustainabilty. The specific details for these regional gatherings as well as the scope of commitment to the learning communities will be shaped by the outcomes of the National Gathering for Sustainability.

Click here to apply – Applications close on Monday 8th May, 2017

Registration Process

Once delegate applications have been reviewed and delegates selected, delegates will receive an email titled “School Delegate Registration for Sustainability Gathering” which will include a link for online registration.


Delegates will be accommodated at Abode Narrabundah, 61 Jerrabomberra Avenue, Narrabundah, ACT, 2604, Australia, (02) 8066 2490; Abode Narrabundah

Bookings via phone

Bookings can be made via phone 1300 122 633 or email When booking your accommodation, the group block code is 1705EREAGR and the group block name is “St Edmund’s College (EREA Group)”.



Selected School Delegates are asked to book flights, then arrange for EREA to be invoiced for reimbursement with the reference “School Delegate for National Sustainability Gathering” and forwarded to

Taxis to and from the airport take approximately 15 minutes. Buses will be arranged for transport between The Abode and The Diplomat for the Briefing and Dinner on May 31 and for transportation from The Abode to the National Arboretum on June 1.

Acquittal of National Gathering for Sustainability Costs

Expenses will be aggregated and the net cost spread over all schools. The invoices to schools will be sent before 30 June 2017. The cost of parking and taxi fares are to be met by individual school delegates. It is also understood that delegates will pay for any mini-bar expenses or other charges made against their room.

As stated earlier, attendees will book and pay for their own travel and send an invoice to EREA ( ) seeking reimbursement. The cost of travel reimbursement will be limited to $500 per attendee with the exception for those travelling from Townsville, Yeppoon or Perth. The limit for these attendees will be $700.