From Thursday 22nd to Saturday 24th September around 180 people from all over South Queensland District of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia met together at LifeChurch Maryborough for the 2016 Conference. The conference focused on the theme ‘GO’ introduced by our National Superintendent Rex Rigby at the 2015 National Conference.
Here’s an A to GO of what went on in Maryborough:
A: ALL TOGETHER: We worked, shared, prayed, listened, ate and worshiped together – young and old, from city and from country, children, youth, delegates and visitors, lay people and pastors, from different cultures and ethnic groups – blended for three days of being the Wesleyan Methodist Church.
B: BUSINESS: Each morning the business sessions were held, with presentation of reports, discussion of current and new directions, and election of office bearers and members for various positions and committees. Rex Rigby was re-elected District Superintendent, with Rob Simpson as Assistant DS. But the business sessions each day were preceded by a time of worship, and fervent prayer in small groups, as we sought God’s guidance and peace to surround the day’s proceedings.
C: CHILDREN AND YOUTH: While the adults were in Business and Elective sessions, around 25 children enjoyed Pearls, Pigs and Parties – a program that focused on some of Jesus’ parables, with songs, stories, craft, games, memory verses, and even a Master Chef afternoon. Prepared and led by Kathy Eddie, Kerri Burton and their team, life in the Children’s program was hectic but enjoyed by the participants. Meanwhile about 40 Youth, working with Rachel Mayer and her team, learned that you don’t have to be an adult to be in ministry – and that you can GO without necessarily leaving home. On Thursday they wrote cards of encouragement for each of the delegates (pastors and lay people). On Friday they extended their ministry to pray for themselves and others, including churches and missions, using the Lord’s Prayer as a model. But it wasn’t all work – one afternoon they enjoyed a Scavenger Hunt in Maryborough. The youth also joined in the Conference worship sessions each morning.
D: DEVOTIONS: On Thursday and Friday mornings, before the business sessions, we began our day with devotions focusing on the GO theme. On Thursday Rev Rob Simpson helped us reflect on Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (John 4) and the choices Jesus made to GO through Samaria, to speak to the Samaritan woman, and to offer her life. On Friday morning Rev Risatisone Taufao spoke from Hebrews 11:1-7, encouraging us to GO with faith that perseveres.
E: ELECTIVES; EVENINGS: On Thursday and Friday afternoons from 1.30 to 3.00 it was time for Electives. Topics included Pastoral Care of Children, Finding Purpose in Your Retirement, Marriage and the Family, Multicultural Ministry in the Local Context, and Inspirational Worship.
Each evening we enjoyed a time of worship, with our guest speaker Rev Clint Ussher, pastor in Christchurch NZ (but back at the church he attended as a child!). Thursday evening Clint spoke from Genesis 12:1-9 about Abram’s call to GO with God. Friday night’s focus was on Jonah, and his attempts to GO away from God.
F: FOOD; FUN; FAMILY; FRIENDSHIP; FELLOWSHIP: LifeChurch members took care of all our needs for food each day, with a sumptuous spread for Morning Tea, Lunch, Afternoon Tea and Dinner. After Electives each afternoon there was free time to catch up with family or friends, have fun sightseeing around the Maryborough and Hervey Bay area, or just catch up with some needed sleep.
G: GOING OUT: During our final service from 11am on Saturday our District and National Superintendent Rev Rex Rigby spoke on Rediscovering the Missional Heart of the Gospel. He challenged us to GO out to minister to people of all cultures, backgrounds and experiences, especially those who are different from ourselves. At this service Rev. Doug Baigrie and Rev. Anamani Logo were welcomed as Commissioned Ministers within the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia.
So on Saturday afternoon 24th September we went out refreshed, revitalised, and renewed, and enthused, enriched and encouraged to work in our churches and ministries in South Queensland District for the next 12 months.