By Natashya Fernandez
A first for WA, the National Billings LIFE Teacher Training Conference brought together nearly 40 teachers from across Australia as well as three Billings Ovulation Method ®Teachers from New Zealand for a three day event for the upskilling of knowledge and skills over the weekend of 5 to 7 May, 2017.
Targeted at current teachers and attendees who are keen on becoming teachers of the Billings Method, key speakers included The University of Notre Dame Australia Manager of Campus Ministry, Mr Tom Gourlay, Mrs Gillian Barker from Mercy Hospital for Women, Melbourne and
Naturopath BHlthSc (ComplMed) TCM Acupuncturist MAppSc (Acu), Mrs Jasmine Langlands with Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey celebrating Mass on Saturday at the Pallottine Chapel.
Billings LIFE Senior Teacher, Mandie Bowen said that the aim of the Conference was two-fold – professional development and a place to share stories and support for each other.
“Professional Development is necessary for ongoing Accreditation of Teachers,” Ms Bowen said.
“Teachers are accredited for three years and are given this opportunity to attend to fulfil the criteria for re-accreditation. In a professional sense these events provided the collegiality necessary for the upskilling of knowledge and skills.
“As the ‘Billings family’ we are like any other family, sharing our stories and providing love and support for each other. We also acknowledge the ‘older generations’ who gave us a sense of the spirit of Drs John and Evelyn Billings – a spirit of service through love,” Ms Bowen said.
“The stories of the recipients of outstanding service have been recorded in a special book that is displayed during Conferences and at the Head Office in Melbourne at all other times,” said Mrs Bowen.
Mrs Bowen said the three-day conference held at the Epiphany Centre in Rossmoyne provided the environment for both professional and personal aims.
“It was a setting that allowed people to come together for learning and socialising as well as a tranquil space for reflection. It is wonderful that the Pallottine Community continue to provide such a venue for a variety of groups. We were very grateful for the support given by the Pallottine Fathers.
“Everyone was thankful for the support given to them by their individual Bishops and Dioceses. Billings LIFE WA would like to especially thank the Archdiocese of Perth for its support, enabling the Conference to come to fruition in our beautiful city,” she added.
Mr Gourlay opened with his address on ‘Receiving the Gift: A Way of Life Open to Reality’, followed by Mrs Barker and Mrs Langlands.
Mrs Barker has made significant contributions to the scientific verification of the Billings Ovulation Method ® as a collaborator with Professor James B Brown, and is currently involved in Obstetric Health research at the Mercy Hospital for Women Melbourne.
She described the Billings Ovulation Method® as being the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in relation to all that physiologically underpins fertility and reproduction.
Mrs Langlands’ presentation followed with the delivery of a current research paper related to diet and fertility.
Some key points that helped many of the teachers, was the provision of insight and guidance in client interaction, sharing knowledge of fertility, placing emphasis on The Billings Ovulation Method® and most importantly, rekindling friendships and creating a wonderful family-focussed environment.
One of the major lessons Bernadette Davies from South Australia learnt at the Conference was the renewal of loving friendships which began nearly 30 years ago.
“As Marian Corkill always says, ‘We’re family’, and every conference and meeting is a family reunion. It invigorates us to continue the work God has put into our hearts and enthuses us to be brave and ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation (Mk 16:15)’,” she said.
Participant Jo Bell from Broome WA was also impressed and stimulated with new life and love from everyone.
“I was especially pleased to see an equal number of young women, in the next generation, who were keen to become accredited and promote what they consider is the best way to live married life and stay healthy,” she said.
Participant Carol Ann Norris from Perth, also said the conference was professional and presented a lot of learning materials.
“The scientific basis for the Billings Method as explained on the training course re-enforced my confidence in the method. The quality of the conference presentations made the learning experience interesting and enjoyable. Knowing that the support team in Melbourne is available to answer many varied and challenging enquiries gave me confidence in my role as a Billings teacher.
“For anyone to prepare and deliver a conference is an amazing feat; but to have delivered not only a conference but also an extension training course was very impressive. I appreciated the continual reinforcement of basic principles that have not changed since the guidelines of the Billings Method were introduced in the sixties,” said Mrs Norris.
Following the three-day conference, Mrs Bowen said that the teachers were involved in a two-day extension program to further develop understanding of the scientific knowledge that verifies the Billings MethodTM.
“Many of our Trainees took advantage of the opportunity to be a part of this extended learning experience. This knowledge is then applied to the teaching of the Billings Ovulation Method® to couples as they experience the different stages of their reproductive lives in a natural and normal perspective,” she ended.