The gathering is on Saturday 9 (Auckland) and 10 March (Christchurch), with the young writers coming together from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. It's been a logistics exercise with the assistance of Julie Belding, the NZ young writers fellowship co-ordinator based in Auckland.
The NZ young writers program was initiated in August 2012 with twelve young writers each providing a monthly Comment article of their interest. Their Christian Today publishing days were Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.
In 2013 this was extended to 15 young writers, an addition of three, as a cyclical fifth week was introduced.
The venue for the Auckland NZ young writers mini-conference is at Rydges in the city, in Christchurch at the CMS office. The program has Christian Today's David Chang addressing the young writers on the philosophy of the program and designed to allow the young writers express the sorts of issues they experience.
Origins of the young writers program
The NZ young writer program sprung out of the Australian young writers program which has 33 young people contributing a monthly article (a 5 week cycle) which includes a full week of international young writers.
Christian Today Australia approached me in 2008 to write a daily column and in 2009 a further request for a daily Sport article saw the development of five young Sport writers in 2010 and this expanded in 2011 to young Comment writers. In 2012 the NZ young writers was developed.
Meanwhile in 2009 Christian Today invited me to become their Theological and Philosophical Advisor which has in turn meant answering numerous 'e-questions' sent in by Christian Today readers across the full gamut of their publication. (au.christiantoday.com)
A number of Australian young writer mini-conferences have been held and the NZ young writers initial mini-conference had been planned for November of last year but logistical issues postponed it to March this year.
PSI - Press Service International
PSI is the vehicle by which the Australian and New Zealand young writer programs are engaged with Christian Today. PSI provides a web-presence for each young writers as a CV, as an archive of their specific articles. (www.pressserviceinternational.org)
In addition, each day PSI sends to Australian and New Zealand Christian Media that day's young writer articles and each Friday, the week's young writer articles are packaged and sent to an international data base of Christian media editors around the world.
PSI is designed so that Christian Media across the board are invited to republish the young writers' articles in order for their names to become familiar and that their "Voice" is provided a wider net. We find their articles reproduced in a broad range of Christian media around the world. It's been an astonishing program.
NZ young writers
Cycle Week 1 - Sam Burrows, Tash McGill, Mercy Cornish
Cycle Week 2 - Andrea Earl, Peter Rope, Chloe Pryor
Cycle Week 3 - Elesha Edmonds, Daniel Buckingham, Brad Mills
Cycle Week 4 - Amanda Robinson, Joelle Bautista, Sophia Sinclair
International - Daniel Jang, Lehi Duncan, Casey Murray
Cycle Week 5 - Gemma Taylor, Dale Wang, Jared Diprose
UK young writer Gemma Mergerison spent three years in New Zealand where she became one of the young writers. In 2013 Gemma returned home to Britain and has maintained her writing as part of the International young writer troupe.
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