Youth to engage with two Bishops at the 'Hot Potato Shop'

Bishop Bill Wright of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and Bishop Peter Stuart of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle will welcome more than 100 Year 11 students to Bishop Tyrrell College on Thursday 17 October to discuss a range of moral and ethical questions as part of the aptly titled ‘Hot Potato Shop’.


The serving Bishops of the Catholic and Anglican dioceses have met annually since the Tri-Diocesan Covenant was signed in 2008. The Two Bishops Dialogue has traditionally been an evening event enjoyed by an older audience. The Dialogue has always aimed to be a vehicle for engagement with the local community on spiritual, religious, ethical and theological issues.


This year, Bishop Bill and Bishop Peter will benefit from the insight and enthusiasm of a younger audience with Year 11 students from all Christian schools within the dioceses being invited to ask questions on a range of ‘hot topics’, in a Q & A style forum.


Vice Chancellor Pastoral Ministries at the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Teresa Brierley, anticipates that the questions posed by students will cover a wide range of ethical issues, including questions on euthanasia and asylum seekers. She believes that everyone in attendance will gain an insight into how Christianity is relevant to our modern world.


“The forum will be an amazing opportunity for young people to meet two committed men who happen to be bishops and will allow them to see them as human beings who are, like them, on a journey of faith,” Mrs Brierley said. “Young people may well ask the bishops if Christianity really matters in the modern world. We are hoping the ‘Hot Potato Shop’ will help them make sense of Jesus in 2013,” she said.


Mrs Brierley believes that the dialogue between the bishops and the young people will also add an extra layer to the students’ study of religion.


“In 2 Unit Studies of Religion the students look at religious expression in Australia, the current religious landscape, secularism, the rise of New Age religions and the impact of Christianity on our society. To have the opportunity to engage with the leaders of their own religious communities can only add a special depth to their understanding of what they are being taught,” Mrs Brierley said.


Maitland Mercury journalist and 1233 ABC producer Josh Callinan, a former student of St Mary’s Campus, All Saints College, Maitland, will be the MC of the forum.


People are invited to attend the forum but will need to RSVP by contacting Sharon Murphy on 4979 1111 or via email


What: Two Bishops Dialogue, ‘Hot Potato Shop’ Forum
When: Thursday 17 October, 1.30pm – 3.00pm
Where: Bishop Tyrrell College, 256 Minmi Road, Fletcher


MEDIA OPPORTUNITY – Media are welcome to attend the Forum. For more information please contact Communications Manager Emma Blackford on 0419 263 901.