Held every fifth year in New Zealand, a huge effort to promote the New Zealand hosted ARPA conference has been a hallmark of this 2012 event.
When held in Australia, a hearty group of New Zealand delegates fly across the Tasman. The past four have been held in -
My wife Delma and I have found we bring home a 'super new idea' each year to further develop our media ministry. We have been attending since 2008 when Christian Today invited me to write a daily column and as we developed Press Service International (PSI) with a troupe of young writers.
We've been exploring ways to see some of our young writers likewise be blessed by ARPA. There are 28 Australian PSI volunteer young writers (Comment, Culture, Music, Ministries, Sport), many of them students, some with young families and in positions where to get away for 3-4 days without remuneration would be very difficult.
The only way forward was to develop some sponsored funding and to offer that funding to any of the PSI young writers who could get away. Two did, Belinda Croft married and a mum of one starting a degree on journalism and Laura Veloso, married and a mum of three little boys, former short term overseas mission experience.
The registration figures for the 2012 Wellington New Zealand ARPA conference is 73 full time delegates, of that number 44 are coming from Australia and 29 locals from both the North and South Islands.
A whole lot more are attending the ecumenical lunch with the Maori welcome and more still for the Saturday evening banquet annual "awards presentations' including the highly esteemed annual Gutenberg Prize. 50 accommodation rooms have been booked by delegates at the Wellington Rydges conference hotel centre.
In June, Belinda Croft was attending the CMA conference (Christian Management) for PSI, writing a story on the conference for Christian Today where she met Peter Bentley who is the ARPA NSW Chapter Co-ordinator. He recognised her name and mentioned he was aware she was attending the Wellington NZ ARPA conference in September. Peter Bentley greatly encouraged young writer Belinda Croft.
Networking is one of the benefits of the ARPA conference. When I initiated the NZ young writers program, it was this same networking with NZ ARPA people I'd met at these past conference that linked me to numbers of bright young NZ Christian writers.
Errol Pike: Chair Organising Committee and ARPA President
"In two days and two nights you cannot hope to cover the whole spectrum of contemporary Christian media so while we have covered the principal areas of writing and publishing in our seminars, we have emphasised digital communications more than previously.
"But a conference such as this is not all hard slog! We're making sure that there are plenty of networking opportunities, times to informally share expertise and of course, at our annual awards dinner, a time to honour and congratulate the very best in the business of Christian communication.
"Here in Wellington we're all set and ready to roll – and hoping for some fine spring weather. As the locals say, 'you can't beat Wellington on a good day!' We're hoping for just two of them in a row."
Errol Pike: 2012 ARPA Conference, Wellington, New Zealand email@example.com
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