The Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA) annual conference was held in Christchurch 6-7 September at the Christchurch City Novatel.
The glittering annual awards evening saw new ARPA President Sophia Sinclair introduce her good friend and guest speaker Rosie Fyfe, the National Director of the NZCMS (New Zealand Church Missionary Society). Rosie has an honours degree in History and Statistics from Victoria University in Wellington and a Masters of Church History and Theology from Trinity School for Ministry in Pennsylvania, USA.
Rosie Fyfe has been connected with NZCMS for many years including serving in Cairo (Egypt) for five years as a mission partner with the Anglican Diocese of Egypt and North Africa and the Horn of Africa. Six months after arriving, the Arab Spring began, Rosie lived through two revolutions with increased sectarian violence and more frequent attacks on churches.
Rosie spoke on whether we can learn from the Church in the Middle East about ‘hope filled responses to crisis’. Rosie Fyfe gave many examples and illustrations of her experiences in the Middle East through which all were moved.
New ARPA Life Member
Auckland’s Julie Belding was welcomed into the esteemed group of ARPA Life Membership. Julie has been involved with ARPA for what seems a life time, as the New Zealand ARPA President and thereby the Vice President of ARPA itself. Julie gathered the various NZ ARPA groups from North and South Islands for regular functions over all those years and produced a team publication titled ‘Scuttlebuck’.
Julie was also very helpful 2012-14 in supporting the Kiwi young writer program in its early stages speaking at various Kiwi young writer conferences encouraging them and speaking in particular the benefits of ARPA.
In 2012 Julie Belding was awarded ARPA’s premier award The Gutenberg. This year the young writer program (Press Service International) was awarded The Gutenberg with Julie Belding excitingly congratulated us.
Meanwhile Dr John Harrison of the University of Queensland and a friend of ARPA of many years received a welcome ARPA Citation.
Long standing ARPA Treasurer Allan Sauer sought to move on after many years of service but no one stepped up, and similarly seven year ARPA executive officer Liz Harris did step down (after 12 months notice) without anyone willing to take on this heavy duty role. These two roles are left with the ARPA Executive to sort out.
Peter Bentley the seven year President of ARPA had also alerted ARPA members that he too was moving on. Peter did a stirling job as President presiding over the celebrations of ARPA 40th anniversary in 2014 in Canberra.
The AGM elected New Zealand ARPA President (and ARPA Vice President) Sophia Sinclair as its new President. See feature article last Monday.
Next year’s ARPA will be in Perth 4-6 September at the Mercure in the city.
The annual awards saw 22 categories - and the big ones
ARPA’s premier award The Gutenberg went to ‘Press Service International’ – see last Monday’s feature article. Its remarkable Citation was a highlight. PSI ministry is a platform for young writers (18-30) - published in Christian Today Australia and Christian Today New Zealand and providing article fillers for Christian publications in Australia, New Zealand and across the world.
Salvation Army’s Major Peter McGuigan the previous President of ARPA who served to 2011 (then Peter Bentley 2012-19) wrote this – with permission: “Congratulations on the Gutenberg. I read the citation and your response. So well-deserved. I’m so thankful Mark to you for what you and your team have done to nurture young writers.”
The ARPA 2019 Publication of the Year - Eureka Street - The citation read – “provides a thoughtful combination of relevance, currency and orthodoxy, which represents and reflects to its audience core Christian values …. “
Eureka Street is one of the most quoted religious publications in Australian secular media and news casts. Editor Tim Kroenert is an all round ‘good fellow’ (good bloke), who offers a welcome hand to all and sundry at every ARPA. We like Tim.
Two publications were Highly commended -
‘Eternity’ is the success story of Christian publishing whose editor, the highly respected John Sandeman (25 years with the Sydney Morning Herald) and housed by the Bible Society, established this wonderful hard copy and on-line ‘main stream’ Christian journalistic publication. Its distribution is phenomenal into churches across the nation. Some of its video ministry statistics (such as the footballer faith testimonies) challenges secular media video viewing numbers.
The other Highly commended publication was the Tui Motu InterIsland magazine - the commendation highlighted its wonderful art work. This publication has a long history with ARPA and was represented at ARPA by Ann Hassan.
The New Zealand War Cry (Salvation Army) was also mentioned at the awards dinner – their team did a Christchurch Earthquake ‘NZ Warcry Edition’ presentation at the ARPA conference. A very welcome team - the entire NZ staff attended the ARPA conference.
Next year Perth, West Australia 4-6 September at the Mercure in the city.
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 mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html