This was my first time attending one of these conferences and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be boring? Would I know anyone? Will I enjoy it? How does it work?
My initial fears were allayed as I was welcomed with love and enthusiasm by smiling faces on Friday morning.
Through the banterous leadership of our National and District Superintendents we navigated the administration of running a Church/District. There was a healthy balance of unanimity and lively debate as delegates had a say and motions were passed.
On Friday night we had praise and a sermon and we were introduced, with spectacular singing and dancing, to the newly formed Wyndham Samoan Wesleyan Methodist Church.
Saturday morning brought the remainder of our business agenda, with voting on various positions interspersed with reports from some of our Pastors. The Pastors’ reports were a great insight into some of the work being done in the Churches across our District.
Saturday afternoon was a chance to break into smaller groups and learn a bit more about different issues and events relevant to the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Rev David Collins gave a missions update from the Solomon Islands whilst elsewhere Mr Rob Ward and Rev Lindsay Cameron led a discussion about the interface between church and politics. Rev Beryl Baker and Mr Fred Watts talked about ministry to the disadvantaged while Rev Kevin Brown ran a session on interpreting the Bible.
During this time, and despite being delayed by a humorous entrapment in the wheelchair lift, the younger kids went for a trip to the aquarium. Quite a few of the older ‘kids’ tagged along too!
Saturday night was an opportunity for various auxiliaries to gather and hold their own conventions, with one for youth, women, and men. The women worshiped together and heard testimonies from Amy and Taina. I was not privy to the men’s or youths gatherings but others tell me that Rev Lindsay Cameron shared something of the history of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Australia and the Pacific region.
On Sunday morning the Doveton congregation led us in a polyglot praise session and the Upper Room worship team led the worship during which we got to hear and sing some original songs!
The big event of Sunday was the Ordination of Rev Taina Vea and the official receiving into the denomination of Rev Len Calhoun. This was followed by communion.
After the service ended, the youth started jamming and conference drew to a close over the sound of praise and hearty lunchtime conversation.
It was my first conference, but after a weekend of fellowship and praise, conviction and learning, I know that it will certainly not be my last.