Way back in 1987 Ramon Williams was awarded ARPA's top prize the Gutenberg Award, and now a quarter of a century later, ARPA has once again honoured him. His unique Christian news distribution service has the motto: 'Telling others what others are doing for the Lord."
It was a delight to have been contacted by ARPA some months ago whether they might use my article on Ramon Williams as the backdrop for this much acclaimed citation. That article can be viewed on Christian Today: au.christiantoday.com
The 2013 Gutenberg Award went to Marjorie Lewis-Jones and Stephen Webb who both individually and collectively have made an outstanding contribution to journalism and especially Christian journalism. For 20 years they served as editor and deputy editor of the Uniting Church 'Insights' magazine and have each won a multitude of awards. In their remarks, Stephen noted that his first ARPA conference was 27 years ago.
ARPA also acknowledged with Life Membership to the remarkable work of its immediate past President Errol Pike of Wellington New Zealand. Everyone who knows Errol Pike is aware of his astonishing contribution to Christian media in New Zealand.
Our own (PSI) Press Service International young writer Sophia Sinclair from Christchurch New Zealand whose paid job 'Communications Officer' with CMS NZ, and who under that cap was awarded the Bronze for: 'Best Publication Small Team'.
Plenary's and work shops
The initial plenary was conducted by Dr Margaret Simons, an award winning freelance journalist and author. Dr Simons is the Director of the new Masters in Journalism at the University of Melbourne and writes on media for Crikey.
Interestingly her topic had already been covered that same morning at the PSI Young Writers Conference by Auckland's 23 year old Sam Burrows: The Printing Press of the 15th Century revolutionised the world, so too in this period in which we're living, 500 years later, with all the variants of the astonishing modern technology.
The following morning national commentator Father Frank Brennan addressed the ARPA delegates on the topic: Is Moral Outrage our only trump card? As part of the question period he acknowledged that the Green's 30,000 figure and the ALP's 27,000 were reasonable figures for refugee immigration recognising the professional academic Population Debate.
The World CafÃ© was a pro-active participation engagement where various issues that had been raised by the delegates. Sadly the subject of encouraging Young Writers to ARPA saw only four people participate and when another opportunity was given to this subject only one additional delegate saw this as a vital component – what made this poignant was that most of the delegates were on the better side of 50.
One suggestion was to communicate to each member publication (ARPA is made up of publications, not member people) and encourage them to send to ARPA young staffers (if there are any).
Peter Bentley from Sydney was elected as the new ARPA President with next year's conference celebrating ARPA's 40th anniversary.
The Melbourne ARPA Committee led by Penny Mulvey worked tirelessly and certainly without Mailcare's major sponsorship of the 2013 conference along with CBN, Fineline, SparkLit.org, church resources, MCD University of Divinity and OpenbookHowden design and print, costs would have been prohibitive to those delegates without publication financial support.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html