12th Assembly 2009

National conferences progress

The Rev. Dr Tony Floyd, National Director, Multicultural and Cross-cultural Ministry, led discussion on the work of national conferences during the Uniting Church’s 12th Assembly.

He talked about the large size of the eight national conferences — Tongan, Samoan, Fijian, Indonesian, Korean, Tamil, Chinese and Vietnamese — and said that 1,500 attendees was a “significant number”.

The report from the task group on national conferences was accepted by consensus.

One comment from the floor of Assembly was that ordinary church-goers did not always know enough about the conferences and needed to be more informed.

Dr Floyd addressed the issue of communication between congregations. He mentioned “significant relationship breakdowns” several years ago that unfortunately resulted in some people leaving the church.

He said action undertaken by Multicultural and Cross-cultural Ministry would help the national conferences to “more effectively care for one another and deal with important issues”.

Dr Floyd said there were plans to hold a conference in 2010 involving “second generation members” only. He said the second generation was “very clear that they want to remain distinct from but not in competition” with its overall conference.

There were then some issues raised about the term “second generation members”, with one Assembly member saying he thought it was another way to discriminate.

President Alistair Macrae said there was room for an “ongoing discussion about the right language and words” at another time and place.