For some time now the word is that the Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA) in its present form might not see out the decade.
Founding Eternity magazine editor John Sandeman, the 2020 Gutenberg awardee, ARPA’s premier award, only two years ago in 2019 at the Christchurch conference wondered whether ARPA as an ‘annual event’ is enough.
This started ARPA members thinking. At the 40th ARPA annual awards in Canberra Ramon Williams (now retired) but the then doyen of Christian media in Australia, explained that ARPA had a lobbying role in the 1970’s – to Government for postal cost reductions and highlighting Christian media outside of itself.
In recent years this discussion has continued - as today - many Christian publications are on line and compete in the internet marketplace - let alone the razzle-dazzle Pentecostal media mass market.
Who are APRA’s members
Constitutionally, ARPA’s members are the Mastheads of Christian print and on-line media - independent writers are Associate Members.
An illustration - Sydney Anglican’s Southern Cross is an ARPA member. Retired NZ Bible Society magazine and a former ARPA President editor Errol Pike - is an associate member.
The reality was that several years ago, in Melbourne 2013, delegates that turned up to the ARPA annual conference were those who held senior positions in a Christian publication - ie - an older generation. It wasn’t cheap either – sending two delegates was a serious financial outlay.
There was such a fuss made - ARPA introduced a Youth Scholarship paying for a young person to attend the ARPA conference with the fees paid. It was appropriately named the Ramon Williams Scholarship. It has not been held these past two years due to Covid.
Ideas have been invited by ARPA President Sophia Sinclair into her 3rd year, a mum of two and husband a minister in a New Zealand North Island expanding community an hour and a bit north of Wellington, to find ways to illicit fresh agenda’s for ARPA.
The word is, if not, ARPA in its current form, might simply fade away.
One idea is a monthly fellowship newsletter - not the official bi-monthly communication - but something quite different. The current bi-monthly communication has an invaluable ‘members’ helps.
A fellowship newsletter is a very different animal. It could engender fund raising. Highlight the lead people in a member publication, and the like.
Another idea is to use twitter and other on-line communications promoting ARPA member publications. The Australian public know little of them – yet the gems within their publications are a delight.
Let us see where all this goes …. if ARPA does finish up, what might take its place? What format? What form? It would be useless repeating ‘what it is now’.
I enjoy ARPA
I for one enjoy the annual ARPA conference – the fellowship, the people, the annual awards are fascinating! Our young writer ministry has now won three ARPA awards
2021 - Andrew Hill - a SILVER
2019 - Matthew Thornton - a BRONZE
2015 - Casey Murray - a GOLD
2019 the young writer ministry ‘Press Service International’ won the Gutenberg, ARPA’s premier award.
Moreover I find much satisfaction in writing about ARPA. I have been the official photographer at ARPA conference 2016, 2017, 2018 and in 2019 the conference day - not the awards (as we won the Gutenberg).
Religious press organisations necessarily seek publicity and promotion (it’s in their DNA) - so this is an idea ARPA might address - journalism 101 – even Christian media ‘editors’ are themselves public figures within their constituency – but many shy away from using such a platform.
Why not at ARPA conferences have a ‘how to’ seminar on ‘using your editor platform’.
Another example - for almost 50 years of ARPA conferences, photographs have been front and centre. Even this is being challenged. Woke-ness will certainly place another nail in ……
I sent to the ARPA President one photo from each of the following ARPA conferences – 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 ….. public figures such as religious editors - at ARPA conferences where these editors meet - do not have an automatic indelible right to privacy in their professional roles.
Wasn’t it the UK high court in a highly publicised case - not two weeks ago - reaffirmed this?
One Christian publication editor who is also engaged in the persecuted church keeps an on-line –‘no image’ policy. This is legitimate and wise. But having a personal objection while their photo is large and live in their publication as editor – an abuse of good-will. Woke 101.
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 44 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 44 years with 4 children and 5 grand children