Tuesday, May 17, 2011

National Ministers' Conference Vanuatu

Last week 42 Uniting Church Ministers gathered in Vanuatu for the first of a series of three National Ministers Conferences to be held this year. The Conference was hosted by our partner church, the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu, and its congregation at Mele, just outside Port Vila. We started with a reception dinner, along with local church leaders, at the home of the Australian High Commissioner, Jeff Roach. The following day the Conference opened with a colourful 'challenge' by the warrior, pictured, which thankfully morphed into a greeting. We were all then draped with luxurient garlands. This spirit of welcome and hospitality would continue throughout the week.

The program comprised of sessions helping us reflect on 'ministry in a time of transition' led by Rev Jenny Tymms. Then we had a series of inputs from local church and political leaders throughout the week. And we tried to allow enough time for delegates to rest and explore the area. Mele is right on the coast and snorkelling around the coral reefs was a popular recreation.

Early feedback indicates that participants found the experience very worthwhile. Apart from the stimulating input, and opportunities to reflect on this 'odd and wondrous calling', the chance to develop collegial friendships from across the country was appreciated.

Our thanks to Uniting World for all their work with local arrangements and especially to our hosts. I understand that the third of these Conferences (Adelaide in October) is fully booked so any Ministers in placement who want to participate in one of these great events will need to hurry to register for the Alice Springs Conference in July.

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