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Bishop’s podcast to engage Aussies

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Bishop Richard Umbers talks at the Scholarship at the Cathedral lecture series at St Mary’s Cathedral Hall on 29 June 2018. PHOTO: Anthony Milic

New podcast offers smart faith formation for millennials

Sydney’s Bishop Richard Umbers has launched a podcast which aims to bring the elements of the Christian intellectual tradition to bear on contemporary issues.

The first episode of The Episcopal Podcast will be available on 17 June at the website and on social media platforms.

In the style of informal discussions with local and international guests, topics will include philosophy, theology, history, the sciences, languages and the arts.

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Bishop Umbers will be joined on the free fortnightly podcast by a number of co-hosts including Silvana Scarfe, his research assistant, and Dr Matthew Tan, formation and outreach officer for the University Chaplaincies of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

Ms Scarfe is a graduate of the former John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family and holds a Graduate Diploma in Canonical Practice. Dr Tan is a theologian, author, and blogger at

Pitched at university-educated men and women aged in their 20s and 30s, the podcast is an attempt to correct an over-reliance on American resources when it comes to adult faith formation.

Bishop Umbers has a deep interest in social media and its connection with the Church’s mission of evangelisation and formation and already has a library of his own podcasts.

He said the Episcopal Podcast will “apply the life of the mind, the adventures of contemporary culture and bring it to our experiences of Christian living”.

Dr Tan said there is a gap in intellectual formation available online “which enables people to treat the faith as intellectually serious and not rely upon a certain form of pietism or fideism that has no relation whatsoever with the greater world at large”.

“Australia makes a significant contribution in Catholic education in a number of higher institutions such as the Australian Catholic University, the University of Notre Dame Australia, Campion College and the Catholic Institute of Sydney which often goes unacknowledged,” he said.

The podcast also aims to partner with established intellectual formation event providers, including Scholarship in the Cathedral and the Q&A series by the Institute for Ethics and Society at the University of Notre Dame Australia.

Listen to the pilot episode of The Episcopal Podcast here.


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