Australian based missionaries from Russia, India, the South Pacific and within Australia met for two and a half days and two nights with two facilitators, the Reverend Harry Munro and the Pastor's Pastor the Reverend Dr Rowland Croucher both of whom, from Melbourne.
Although Sydney lawyer Dr Clive O'Connor presented a session on Mission, the real basis of the gathering was to allow these mission couples to say what they really felt within a safe, sacred and secure environment. Moreover, they took this opportunity to get a lot of 'rubbish' off their chests, much of what could never be said within the confines of their mission organisations.
It was Harry Munro who set the theme for Well-Being Australia's ongoing ministries when he cited: "Never touch the glory, it belongs exclusively to God."
One of the mission couples later wrote that it was the most liberating professional experience of their years in missionary service. Another said it was the first time they had gone somewhere without their children with them, and that alone was so very special for them. Others wanted to see this repeated for their mission associates having witnessed its intrinsic value for their inner heart.
Since that initial Around The Tables (ATT) missionary gathering, Well-Being Australia has repeated the process in many different forms as it soon became obvious that to find eight missionary couples at any one time and available to take three days away from their duties was quite beyond normal circumstances!
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson said that numerous ATTs have been held over these past eleven years with very different formats and with varying degrees of time allotments, numbers and contexts. They nonetheless have the same philosophy as the initial ATT. Mark and Delma Tronson now tend to do the travelling rather than bringing mission people to them.
He is not new to Mission and how missionary's ponder over a range of critical issues. He and his wife Delma have been faith financed for 30 years, he founded the Sports and Leisure Ministry in 1982-2000 under Heads of Churches and served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years. He was released to Well-Being Australia in 2000 and one of the ministries developed is the Around The Tables.
The Laguna Quays Respite house on the Whitsundays for missionary couples opened in June 2011 by Mark and Delma Tronson is in a very real sense a broadening of ATT's providing a facility at no cost to missionaries. To date mission people from SIM, WEC, CMS, TEAR, SU, BCA, YM, CM and others have enjoyed timeout for respite.
Earlier this year in January an Around The Tables was held in Tasmania while Mark and Delma Tronson were conducting a Country Town Tour and, more recently late February on the Gold Coast where six mission people gathered and two others joined them a little later.
Mark Tronson said that the Around The Tables (ATT) ministry continues to be a very special rolling ministry.
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