A Message from the President of ARPA

Tēnā koutou,

A big thank you to all of you who attended our conference in Christchurch this past weekend.

Every year, there is a line in our conference booklet which reads: 'The Australasian Religious Press Association is YOU’… and it's true. Thank you for attending and being so willing to share your insight, support, encouragement, challenges and friendship.

On a personal level, this was a very moving conference as we reflected together on what it looks like to provide a hope-filled response in disaster and recovery. A very special thank you to all those who presented their experiences and insight—we were moved, challenged and encouraged in our roles as communicators.

Congratulations to all our wonderful award winners! I pray these awards will give you encouragement in what is sometimes a lonely task, and that your readers, oversight teams and supporters would honour your achievements.

While it might seem far off in the distance, now is a great time to start planning for next year’s event in Perth. Keep an eye out on flights, and book it in the diary. We’d love to see you there as we discuss the changing landscape of communication.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Sophia Sinclair

More to come…

ARPA Bulletin May - June 2019

Providing a Hope-filled Response:
6 - 8 September

The ARPA Executive members are excited about the plans for Christchurch 2019 and look forward to your participation. The ARPA 2019 Christchurch Conference begins with registration and lunch on Friday September and concludes with morning worship on Sunday 8 September and of course the much anticipated  Awards Dinner on Saturday 7 September.

Registration fee: A 20% discount (off the individual registration) is available for members registering with 5 or more attendees, provided they pay by 30 June 2019. This would be $240 per registration based on the early bird.

ARPA Registrations:  However you pay the registration for the conference, a copy of the registration form must be scanned and forwarded to Elizabeth Harris (eoarpa@bigpond.com)

Plan to attend now: There are some good flight specials available  and The Novotel Cathedral Square Hotel venue has been finalised as the venue for the conference. Accommodation is available at the Novotel, Cathedral Square or the nearby Ibis Hotel. Details for accommodation

Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square looks forward to welcoming delegates from Australasian Religious Press Association.Accommodation:  ( from 4th -9th of September). Rooms at Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square are subject to availability.  These can be accessed online via www.accorhotels.com/6592 preferential code: BGPG or by dialling our Christchurch reservations team on +6433722111

Special Rates Offered:  Superior King/Twin Room – Room Only   $219.00 per room per night; Restaurant Buffet Breakfast $32.00 per person per day. Alternatively, delegates are now able to self-book at Ibis Christchurch online via www.accorhotels.com/5983 preferential code: BGPG or by dialling our Christchurch reservations team on +6433722111

Special Rates Offered:  Standard King/Twin Room – Room Only   $139.00 per room per night. Restaurant Buffet Breakfast  $25.00 per person per day

Internet: WiFi is included on the Conference Floor, connect to “NOVOTEL CONFERENCE WIRELESS” as a guest and use the code “OPERA”


Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square offers a valet parking service on a first come, first served basis. We are delighted to offer you $10 day parking for the duration of your event or 24 hour valet car parking at $35 per vehicle, alternatively public parking options surrounding the hotel which include a Wilson’s public car parking lot directly adjacent to the hotel.  The costs for this are currently $2/hour, $5/early bird and $7/overnight.

ARPA Awards.

Members are reminded of the conditions for entry regarding accompanied registrations:

Entry for the annual ARPA Awards must be accompanied by payment of at least one awards dinner ticket, thus confirming intention to attend the awards dinner, or if not accompanied, then written advice confirming intention to attend the awards dinner and an agreement to pay for at least one awards dinner ticket by 4 July of the related conference year.

Reminder: Each member is entitled to lodge 7 Award entries (accompanied by the entry form).  If the publication has included staff members in the 2018/9 subs ($50 per member in addition to the basic sub), then they are able to submit one additional entry for each paid up staff member.  Please refer to your 2019 directory entry for clarification as only paid up members are included.

Ramon Williams Scholarship for 2019

The deadline for the Ramon Williams Scholarship has been extended to 31 May 2019.  

ARPA Citation for Dr John Harrison

Following the 2018 AGM, the ARPA executive reviewed honorary award arrangements and is pleased to report of the well-received advice provided to Dr John Harrison of the awarding of an ARPA Citation. This will be presented at the 2019 ARPA Conference and will be the fifth citation awarded in ARPA’s history.

News from the Executive

A video conference meeting of the ARPA executive was held on May 15 by ZOOM. Among continuing matters and planning for the conference, the executive approved job descriptions for the honorary roles, noting that these would be reviewed each year. The job descriptions will also help as the executive continues to look at succession planning.

A committee for the ARPA conference for 2020 in Perth (4-6 September) has been formed, and will begin to liaise with ACPA about local arrangements.

Question for the 2019 AGM and following. The Executive would like to hear from members on the question of ARPA 2024: What is your vision for ARPA?   2024 will be ARPA’s 50th anniversary.

Zoom Chapter Meetings: The executive raised the possibility of chapters holding zoom based meetings to encourage greater networking and support, especially noting that travel is often difficult for members today.

Next ARPA Executive meeting: 12 August.

Coming to NZ for the ARPA conference this year?

Kia ora koutou katoa to our Australian ARPA members!

Coming to NZ for the ARPA conference this year? Then why not take a couple of extra days and a few more dollars and treat yourself to seeing a little more of our magnificent ‘shaky isles’.

Recently my wife and I flew into Christchurch from Wellington for a family event. Afterwards we took the slow way home – by train and ferry. It took a day’s travelling but it was totally worthwhile and a day trip I would highly recommend.

We boarded the Coastal Pacific passenger train in Christchurch in time for a 7.00 a.m. departure, heading to Picton. The journey took about six hours, including a few stops. Then a 3-hour ferry trip from Picton to Wellington, arriving at 5.30 p.m. 

The Christchurch-to-Picton railway line only opened again last December after it had suffered major damage in the November 2016 Kaikoura 7.8 earthquake. The repairs to the road and the railway – which run closely together along the coastal part of the line – were massive and are still being completed. You get great views of the extent of destruction and the impressive repairs, as the train travels north. Nowadays, you may not see much of what the Christchurch earthquake left in its wake, but from the train, you will certainly get a vivid idea of the devastation left by the Kaikoura earthquake and some idea of the bravery of some of the abseilers, among others,  who made the repairs. 

There’s an on-board commentary that gives details of the places the train passes through and, of course, information about the earthquake and its aftermath.     

The train itself has very comfortable seating. Carriages are heated and there is an on-board café, the offerings of which would satisfy anyone’s hunger or thirst. 

The Coastal Pacific Train arrives in the delightful port of Picton in good time for you to take a leisurely walk to the waiting Inter-islander ferry.

When the ferry pulls out from the wharf at 2.15 p.m. you will enjoy a flat sea as you wend your way through the picturesque Marlborough Sounds for about an hour. Then you will hit Cook Strait. Depending on the weather, tide, currents and wind, you may have a very pleasant and relatively calm 75-minute crossing of the Strait, though this stretch of water can be quite unforgiving. A relative calmness returns for 30 minutes or so as you then enter Wellington Harbour and eventually dock at the northern end of the city environs. 

If you want to catch the early flight home from Wellington the next morning, you could book into the newly-opened Rydges Hotel at the Wellington airport. No matter how early your plane leaves, you are just a short, covered walk away from your room to the check-in counter. All so easy and stress-free! 

An early morning arrival in Australia means you may well be in the office before any others get there!    

Errol Pike



In and around Christchurch (if you arrive early or intend leaving later…)



For the young and/or adventurous:


The International Antarctic Centre (a ‘must-see’ if you have time): 


New Zealand’s military aviation story at the place it all began:


Christchurch has no zoo as such, but some say this is even better, if different:


In Kaikoura you can leave the Coastal Pacific train in Kaikoura and re-board the next day so you can go whale-watching:


There’s much to see in the port of Picton so why not stay there for a night or two?:


If you have a few spare days, here’s one of the best train journeys ever (why not train to Greymouth and hire a car there and to drive back to Christchurch?):


If skiing is your thing, make a visit to Mt Hutt (only one hour 45 minutes drive from Christchurch):


To travel by train and ferry from Christchurch to Wellington, check out these websites for information and bookings:



Air New Zealand, Qantas and Jetstar fly daily to the major eastern seaboard cities of Australia, many departing before 7.00a.m. most days.

2019 Easter Messages from Australian Church Leaders

Anglican Church of Australia

In the compressed events of the three days of Easter, from Good Friday to Easter Day, we have rich themes for reflection and contemplation. As our society becomes increasingly secularised the deeper story of Christianity is known by fewer people.

Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead are foundational events for Christians,in fact world-defining events that have continuing significance today. All humans, if they are honest with themselves, know what it is to fail, to let themselves and others down. When these failures become collective, they can be catastrophic – and the evidence is all around us, today and through the ages.

War, famine, pestilence, persecution, exploitation, abuse and much more can often be laid at the feet of human ambition and selfishness. Humankind wants to construct the world according to a vision of utopia, but our weaknesses and lack of understanding often lead to failure. Communism is an obvious example of such a theory. It was intended to combat injustice and to improve the plight of the impoverished and marginalised but ended up instead perpetrating more injustice and rendering people more miserable.

But the greatest calamity that fell humanity is found in Genesis, with the account of our alienation from and rejection of God. Logically, the story should end there, with God a distant, transcendent figure. But God, in the infinite mercy and compassion shown through Jesus, does not allow human failure the last word. God’s word – present, we are told, from the time of Creation – is incarnate inthe world in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He is God’s means of rescue and salvation, fullypresent as a person like us.

And that is what we celebrate at Easter. The events of the first Good Friday seemed to Jesus’followers like failure, desolation and despair. But by Easter Day the opposite was true, with thegood news of hope and salvation. Jesus’ resurrection would define the religion that developed inhis name. In the story of the Garden of Eden, Adam acted as the head of humankind. In the same way what Jesus did on the cross he also did as the head of all who believe. As the Bible teaches, we were crucified together with Christ, we were buried with Christ, and we are risen together with him.

For Christians, no calamity, however unbearable, is the end of the story. This is what Christians celebrate at Easter.

Archbishop Philip Freier, Primate Anglican Church of Australia

Diocese of the Armenian Church of Australia and New Zealand

“God shows His love toward us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us... we know that Christ, been raised from the dead...likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 5:8; 6: 9-11)

Beloved Faithful,

On behalf of our Diocesan Clergy, Council and all Diocesan establishments we congratulate you on the feast of Holy Easter, the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Resurrection of our Lord is the anchor of our faith, it was so for the Apostles and thus for all the Christians from generation to generation.

Resurrection declares life’s victory over death, the light radiating from the tomb of Christ, heraldsthe annihilation of darkness, Our Lord proclaimed the greatest teaching of love with His self-offering on the cross, through His blood shed on the cross He wiped the sin, Satan’s seal from theforehead of humanity, to find the paradise lost and the way to our Heavenly Father.

This year’s theme in our church is the Family. If the Love of the Risen Lord does not dwell in ourdwelling the rest is in vain. The true love, respect and commitment makes the family’s life span longer and meaningful. Child’s religious and traditional education starts at home, it is here that the child will receive the first instructions on the Christian faith and your way of life as parents will be copied and followed. You will be the ones to direct the first footstep of the child to the church; and it is here that the child will be nourished spiritually, grow and mature with his spiritual inheritance, armoured with the light of Resurrection and with the hope of victory to confront all the challenges of this life.

It is our prayers that the Risen Lord might dwell in your hearts, and strengthen you with the victory of life, where is despair give you hope, where weakness courage, where fear strength and where hate love. Having nurtured ourselves with teachings of our Lord and with the vision of the victorious resurrection we can persevere as an individual, as a family, as a community and bring our input for the preservation of this land and for the final victory of the good.

“O Christ, we are all enlightened through your light and to your holy cross we believers have entrusted” (Sunrise Service)

Christ is risen from the dead, blessed is the Resurrection of Christ

Archbishop Haigazoun Najarian, Primate
Diocese of the Armenian Church of Australia and New Zealand

Catholic Church in Australia

In many ways the world and the church are passing through dark times, and the question is how tomake sense of the darkness. We aren’t the first to face that question. It lies at the heart of theBible which is a grand and complex answer to the question, What does the darkness mean?

The Hebrew Bible came forth from the darkness of the Babylonian Exile when the religious world of ancient Israel seemed to have collapsed. The People of God sifted through the embers of hopelessness and found a spark of hope which eventually became the great flame of Judaism.

The New Testament emerged from the darkness of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans and the persecution in Rome under Nero. To make sense of the darkness the early Christians turned to the death of Jesus. Calvary looked like the collapse of hope: as the disciples on the roadto Emmaus say, “Our hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free” (Luke 24:21).

Facing into the darkness of the world and the church, we too turn to the Cross. Evil is powerful and the darkness is real. But the greater power which raised Jesus from the dead – we call it the love of God – will bring good from evil, light from darkness. So when we kindle the new fire at Easter we go to the very heart of biblical religion, finding fresh hope in the midst of what seems to behopelessness. That’s why even now we will sing the songs of joy. The victory belongs to love.

Forgiveness is the door through which healing peace enters our world this Easter.

One of the last statements of Jesus on the Calvary Cross was: “Father, forgive them for they knownot what they do.” (Luke 23/24). Forgiveness of every person who harms us is one of the great saving lessons of Good Friday.

Then, the first words of the Risen Lord Jesus at the Resurrection Victory of Easter is: “Peace be

with you.” (Luke 24/36). Easter peace is the first gift to us from our healing God.

This Easter let us receive these gifts of forgiveness and healing peace like never before! Let us begin in our hearts, so easily torn apart by bitterness and selfishness.

Let forgiveness and healing peace flow into our families and friends. May these gifts give us courage to develop real neighbourliness to those in our streets and communities. Let the homeless and lonely this Easter receive not more pious sentiments but real practical charity and care.

Let the forgiveness and healing peace of the Risen Lord Jesus reign this Easter! May we be filled with joy and hope.

Happy Easter to all!

Archbishop Christopher Prowse, Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn Apostolic Administrator Of Wagga Wagga

Chinese Methodist Church in Australia

May the joy and peace of the resurrection of Jesus Christ be with you all! The resurrection of Jesusis the foundation of the Christian faith. Paul said, “And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.” (1 Cor. 15:17 NLT)

Romans 4:25, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Here we see two important facts about Jesus: First, Jesus was handed over to man because of our sins. God’s purpose in giving up his Son is to provide forgiveness for the transgressions we had committed. Second, the resurrection of Jesus is to justify us. Jesus was raised for the sake of our justification. These are two basic teachings for Christianity: first, Jesus died to pay for our sinful debts; second, Jesus was resurrected to make us righteous so that we have a right relationship with God, our creator.

Let’s continuously acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and rely on his grace, help andstrengthen to face our daily challenges in this world.

Bishop Dr Albert Wong
Chinese Methodist Church in Australia

Churches of Christ in Australia

Easter is a journey, one that Jesus takes, and one that we are invited to take as well. The experiences in this journey are contrasting. Contrast Jesus’ prophetic entry into Jerusalem and theintimacy of the Last Supper with the betrayal, unfair trial, desertion of friends and public death without compassion or justice. This is a journey that seems to end in violence and emptiness.

After the silence of the tomb comes a cry of amazement. He is Risen! This joyous discovery is confirmed by several friends of Jesus who have intimate and personal encounters with the Risen Jesus. After these precious moments they share the news with others and so the Christian witness to the Risen Christ begins.

These contrasts of the Easter journey reflect human experience. The rising hope, shattered dreams, betrayal, desertion and the silence of hopelessness. People in many settings know this to be true. Whether they be victims of abuse or violence, crippled with regret and disappointment, people waiting in camps for a secure place to live or others seeking meaning amidst hopelessness and despair.

The Joy of Easter is that these experiences do not have the final word. The Risen Christ brings forgiveness, healing, grace and new life. We are invited to embrace this with wonder and deep confidence, and as we do so we find the promised new life for ourselves and see the potential for others as well. This is the Easter journey towards new life.

Rev John Gilmore
Churches of Christ in Australia

Congregational Federation of Australia and New Zealand


Luke’s Gospel tells us about Jesus’ arrest at Easter:

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesusanswered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

It was Peter who struck at the servant. Impetuous Peter. Act first, think later Peter.

Jesus’ response has echoed down through time. “No more of this!” No more, ever. The use of violence has to stop. The endless cycle of repaying hurt with hurt, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, is at an end no matter what you think your motivations are.

Peter was willing to fight and injure people in defence of Jesus. Like Peter, many of us justify using violence in defence of a worthy cause. We are good people who would never strike out either physically or in words, unless it was needed. And how often we find it is needed! To protect ourselves, our loved ones, our property, our reputations, our points of view, or to correct other people who lack our insight into the errors of their ways. The sad fact is that violence is within us and so often we are looking for an excuse to unleash it.

If violence is within us it lies within ourselves to stop it: “No more of this!”
This Easter, may we honour the sacrifice that Christ made for us by saying with him to ourselves,

“No more of this!”

Dr Joe Goodall, Moderator

The Congregational Federation of Australia and New Zealand

Coptic Orthodox Church – Diocese of Sydney and Affiliated Regions

Christ is Risen, Truly He is Risen!!

It is my pleasure to wish you all the blessings of the Glorious Feast of the Resurrection of Christ our Saviour. St. Paul says, "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection." (Philippians 3:10).

The resurrection has power. This power is stronger than anything. The resurrection is not a historical event but a functional status for man to live by, experience and enjoy. The resurrection confirms that death is not the end of the road. It was the resurrection that raised Mary Magdalene when she was in doubt. While in her sadness, she thought that Christ was the gardener. When He called her by name, she joyfully greeted Him.

The resurrection alleviated the disciples from their fear. They had been terrified and kept all doors shut. When the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to them, the Bible says: "Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord." (John 20:20). Resurrection raises man from sin. Man cannot rise from the impurity of sin except by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ that pleased all mankind when He was crucified and died on the cross for the sake of all.

May the light of the risen Christ fill your families and homes with abundant spiritual strength and joy. Christ bless Australia, its Government and its people.

Bishop Daniel
With the Grace of God
Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church - Diocese of Sydney & Affiliated Regions

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

At Easter we remember the crucifixion of Jesus, a particularly horrifying death. Yet, out of that time of torment and despair came a resounding message of hope, forgiveness and compassion.

The message of the carpenter’s son of Nazareth is as vital for the troubled world of today as it was 2,000 years ago. In the words of William Penn “Force may subdue but love gains”.

In peace,

Jo Jordan, Presiding Clerk

Religious Society of Friends in Australia (Quakers)

The Salvation Army, Australia

Dear Friends

In the early hours of the third day, his followers went to the tomb. There they found nothing thatthey expected. His body wasn’t there. The stone, rolled away, now revealed an empty tomb. It wasthis moment of finding ‘nothing’ expected that changed everything. It changed everything then andstill changes everything today.

It was only when they found nothing, that the disciples began to realise everything had truly changed. This empty tomb discovery was the beginning of a journey into a new and deepening understanding of Jesus, his teaching and mission. The life-changing implications of finding nothing they had anticipated in that tomb would take a lifetime to come to understand. But it was the discovery of a resurrected Jesus that changed everything, in that moment and for the rest of their lives.

The stone that sealed the tomb had been rolled away, not so Jesus could escape the grave, but so that his disciples would find nothing.

In all of our abundance and ability to find what’s needed in the moment, it is not until we find the ‘nothing’ of the empty tomb that we truly experience the heartfelt longing for deep change. As wegaze into the truth of the empty tomb once again this Easter, may we hear the invitation to embrace the deep change and transformation that finding the tomb empty offers. Know afresh that every promise God has made to us he is faithful to keep – the empty tomb is proof of his faithfulness to his promise (Psalm 119:89-90). Know afresh that the same power that raised Christ from the dead, is the power that is available to us today through his Spirit (Ephesians 1:19-20).

Those that found the tomb empty, even before they could fully understand all that it meant, knew that others needed to know that finding ‘nothing’ does change everything. Let’s not wait until wehave fully understood all that the empty tomb means. That will take a lifetime. There are others all around us waiting for the word of hope that change is possible, because the tomb is empty.Nothing’ still changes everything!

Commissioner Floyd Tidd, Territorial Commander

The Salvation Army, Australia

ARPA Bulletin March - April 2019

The ARPA Executive wish all members a blessed and peaceful Easter.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” (Luke 24: 5b-7)

Messages of Support for Christchurch

and New Zealand.

The executive sent the following messages to our NZ Members.

Dear all,

On behalf of the ARPA executive, members and staff in Australia, I am sending condolences to you following the terrible shootings in Christchurch and wish you to know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers at this sad time. May God’s hand guide you through this event and we look forward to seeing you all in Christchurch in September.

Elizabeth Harris (Executive Officer)

 Dear Colleagues in New Zealand

I extend to you and the people of New Zealand our love, prayers and encouragement in Christ as you stand together in unity against the shocking and hate-filled act of violence in Christchurch.

My thoughts and prayers to our NZ members and our NZ Vice-President Sophia Sinclair, especially as you work with your own communities at this time to communicate a message of faith and hope.

Our annual conference will be held in Christchurch in September 2019, and I confirm our commitment to meeting and being with our members and supporting in whatever way we can, the people in Christchurch and New Zealand.

Peace and grace

Peter Bentley

President 2018-2019


A meeting of the ARPA executive was held at Stanmore House in Sydney 1-2 February 2019. Among a plethora of matters, the following are noted:

The ARPA occasional e-newsletter has been re-named to maintain a link with the previous printed bulletin publication.

The matter of nominations for life membership has been reviewed and the  award base confirmed as a focus on the organisation itself, with the awarding of citations noted as appropriate for wider Christian media service.

The annual review of the ARPA awards was undertaken. The categories and numbers were maintained for 2019. 

Sophia Sinclair provided an overview of the speakers and arrangements for the 2019 Christchurch conference (6-8 September), highlighting the possibility of excursions and local talks. The Novotel Cathedral Square venue has been finalised.

Following liaison with ACPA, it was agreed to hold the ARPA conference for 2020 in Perth. ARPA and ACPA are liaising about the venue and arrangements.

The resignation of the Louise Mackay as Minutes Secretary was received, and we extend our appreciation to Louise for her service in this role.

2019 ARPA AGM Discussion Focus.Start to think now about contributing thoughts to the question - ARPA 2024: what and where will we be?


2019 AWARDS: The Award conditions and entry forms have been mailed to all members, together with a copy of the Directory for those who requested hard copies.  Please let Elizabeth know if you did not receive this mailing or did not receive the Directory (or how many copies you requested).

RAMON WILLIAMS SCHOLARSHIP: The entry information for the scholarship was also mailed with the Award information.  Again, if  you did not receive this, please let Elizabeth know.

REGISTRATION FORMS: for the Conference in Christchurch in September (6th– 8th) will be available shortly and will again be mailed to all members.  The form will also be available on line

DIRECTORY INFORMATION: Already the 2019 Directory is “out of date” as staff come and go; email addresses change etc.  It would be a great help if members could remember to advice the EO of any changes so that firstly we can reach you when we want you and secondly,  so can others.

 ARPA Executive 2018-2019 (Contact details please see the ARPA website or directory)

President: Peter Bentley

NZ Vice-President and Communications Officer: Sophia Sinclair

Australian Vice-President: Mark Brolly

Treasurer: Allan Sauer

Executive Officer: Elizabeth Harris.

Communications Officer: Peter March

ARPA E-News Summer 2018

The ARPA Executive wish all members

a blessed Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2: 8-11)

We hope members will continue to encourage each other through the formal ARPA Christmas gatherings (as arranged) or informal times over the Christmas and New Year period.

Congratulations to all the 2018 Award winners and especially to NZ Baptist for being the Gutenberg winner

and to Others, The Salvation Army for becoming the - The Neumann and Turnour*  ‘Publication of the Year’.

From NZ Baptist Simply the best!

In September a couple of Baptist magazine staff members attended the annual Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA) Conference.  At the awards evening, the Baptist came away with the ARPA Gutenberg Award for overall excellence in Christian newspaper and magazine publishing. Entries are judged on the quality of journalism, layout, production and use of professional and creative skills to communicate the message of the gospel. We also picked up a couple of writing awards:

Gold for Best Headline for an article by Charles Hewlett, entitled "I'm glad you're not my doctor". 

Bronze for Best Theological Article for an article by Dr Sarah Harris, entitled "God made me lime green". 

The judging period for the awards was the 2017 calendar year, so kudos for the above awards go to the magazine team at that time, especially to the following: Sarah Vaine (former editor), Rebecca McLeay (Graphic Designer), and Jill Hitchcock (former Production Manager), and of course to Charles and Sarah for their contributions.  

Ramon Williams Scholarship

Congratulations to Josh Low (Record/E-Record, Perth) for becoming the 2018 Ramon Williams Scholarship Winner. Not only was Josh the scholarship winner but also judged to be the best-dressed person at the Conference. Well done Josh and well done for winning a Bronze Award in the Category “Best New Writer”.  We look forward to Josh’s contributions to ARPA in 2019.

Ramon Williams Interview shown at 2018 Conference Dinner

The short video interview with Rev Keith Garner AM from Wesley Mission can be viewed here.

Christchurch 2019

It’s official: The Novotel Hotel, Cathedral Square, Christchurch has been booked for the 2019 ARPA Conference 6th-8th September. Start thinking about attending this Conference which will reflect on the Christchurch earthquakes with a theme of ‘Providing a Hope-filled response in a time of disaster and recovery’.

* A Sponsor’s response

Presentation by Dr Matthew Turnour of Neumann and Turnour, Brisbane at the 2018 Australasian Religious Press Association Conference held at Novotel, Brisbane on Saturday 8th September 2018.

Good evening,

I really would like to say one primary thing to you as a group and that is Thank you. Thank you for your role in supporting individuals. Thank you for your role in providing a voice for communities. Thank you for your role in society. Over my 30 years as a Christian I have drawn much encouragement from many of the journals represented here, as have others in our firm. So, the first thing I would like to say thank you for is just your role in supporting and encouraging each of us in our faith.

The second thing I particularly would like to thank you for is being a voice for communities that are not necessarily able to find that voice in the mainstream media. It is my view that specialist focus media serving communities will become more and more important as society seems to be continually fragmenting.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge the role that many of you play in our wider society in speaking truth and in so doing resisting participating in the phenomenon of “fake news” and the breakdown in civil public discourse. My expectation is that you will play an increasingly trusted role in disseminating information that is known to be true.

So, in conclusion my firm considers it a privilege to be a Silver sponsor of this conference. We thank you for the work that you do and are appreciative of your contribution.

2019 Executive Meeting

1-2 February, Stanmore House, Sydney. We value your prayers as we plan for 2019.


ARPA NZ: Winter Update

My fellow ARPA Kiwis, 

Time for a brief update on the world of ARPA, both here in NZ and over in Australia.

What's been happening around NZ and Australia?

It was my pleasure to represent the New Zealand chapter of ARPA at our face-to-face executive meeting back in February.

During the meeting we were able to sit down with Nathan Brown, who is the CEO of Christian Media and Arts Australia (CMAA). Our intention was to learn more about how CMAA have innovated and grown as a network.

On Nathan's invitation, ARPA President Peter Bentley and I went along to the recent CMAA Conference: 'Small is the New Big' on the Gold Coast, May 1-3.

I am very grateful to ARPA for sending me to attend the conference and spent time networking with CMAA members and learning more. I was particularly interested in the way CMAA have drawn in younger members, and the ways they seek to connect smaller members to help share resources. It was a vibrant, professional and relevant conference and I learnt a lot about connection in a media space.

I'd be really keen to chat more with you all about the future of ARPA, as we navigate a changing media landscape. 

I also enjoyed getting down to Wellington last week to meet up with members as they heard from Dr Hrayr Jebejian of the Bible Society in the Gulf States.

Thanks for being very gracious with me settling back into Kiwi life with my family over the past 7 months as we re-located to Levin after 3 years in Sydney. Many of you sent messages of welcome and I'm very grateful.

I'm keen to keep growing and developing in this role, as I support the work of ARPA members in New Zealand.

What's coming up in 2018?

Our Annual ARPA Conference is being held in Brisbane 7-9 September, just a few weeks away. I'll be there and hope to see those of you who are making the trip.

We'll have some time to get together for dinner on the Friday night, as just the NZ chapter, to discuss what we'd like to see for the future of ARPA.

I'm also looking forward to supporting you all at our awards. Each year New Zealanders are consistent with a high standard and creativity--and I'm sure this year will be no different!

We also hope to have another couple of NZ ARPA meetings--Auckland has one planned for 30 November, and we've discussed another get-together in Wellington before the end of the year.

What's coming up in 2019?

I've got some exciting news: our annual ARPA conference is being planned for CHRISTCHURCH, NZ 2019!

Our Executive is keen to have more events in NZ, and our Australian contingent is especially excited about exploring the city as it is being re-built and re-imagined.

At this stage the dates discussed are 6-8 September 2019. But I wanted feedback from you, our NZ chapter, before confirming.

So please let me know: will these dates suit you?

I'd also love to hear more about what would make a uniquely Kiwi-flavoured ARPA conference for you. Do you have tips for speakers? Locations?

As always, do let me know what your local ARPA group is up to and how I can best be encouraging and supporting you.

Sophia Sinclair
New Zealand Vice President,
Chapter Coordinator, and Communications Officer.

ARPA E-News June 2018

Ramon Williams Scholarship for 2018

ARPA received three very high standard (and valid) applications for the Ramon Williams Scholarship for 2018. Thank you to members for helping to facilitate applications from younger staff members of your publications.

ARPA is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2018 Ramon Williams Scholarship for 2018 is Joshua Low, journalist and photographer from The Record (Catholic Archdiocese of Perth). Congratulations to Josh and thank you to all applicants for your interest and desire to support ARPA. The scholarship will enable Josh to attend the 2018 ARPA conference and contribute to the future direction and development of the Australasian Religious Press Conference. 

Ramon Williams has been involved with ARPA since its establishment in 1974. Ramon was awarded the Association’s premier trophy the Gutenberg Award in 1987.  In 2013, ARPA recognised his long-standing public Christian ministry, and presented Ramon with the honour of an ARPA Citation for Outstanding Service to Christian Media. As the founder of Worldwide Photos Ltd, he has contributed in a variety of ways to the ministry of the Church in Australia, especially through the provision of photographic material, Christian stories and press releases to the Christian Media and the secular media. Ramon has been a source of great personal encouragement for many Christians in the media and many people have been touched by Ramon’s thoughtfulness and contact. Ramon’s life theme is Telling others what others are doing for the Lord and it is ARPA’s hope that this scholarship will be a source of encouragement for a younger member in their developing ministry of Telling others what others are doing for Lord.


Thank you to the entrants this year. A total of 312 entries were received and have been distributed to the judges for decision. Thanks to everyone for your understanding and assistance to me in the handling of these entries.  It seems that most went into the correct categories and the few errors wee quickly fixed.  I look forward to the results and commend everyone for their hard work in the preparation of the entries - Liz

2018 ARPA Conference: Novotel Brisbane: 7 - 9 September 2019

Communicating Hope and Trust in a Public Faith

The planning is coming along well, and details will be available over the next few weeks. Please book your accommodation now at the Novotel Brisbane now: 07 3309 3309

We are pleased to announce that on Saturday morning (8 September) Dr Alex Deagon will present on 'The Virtues of Public Religion'.  Dr Deagon is Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Queensland University of Technology and has published a substantial volume on Peace and Violence in relation to theology, law and community.

2018 Catholic Media Congress: 4-7 September: Brisbane

Registrations are now on-line for the 2018 Catholic Media Congress. The Website has comprehensive information available:

ARPA Executive Update

The ARPA Executive met using Zoom in May to discuss amongst other matters,  updating the Conference planning. The Executive meets in this way on 3 occasions during the year.  We meet face to face in February and of course during the Conference in September.  All of this is carried out on a voluntary basis with members of the executive taking on their roles in addition to their publication work.  Thinking towards the future, we need to encourage members to look at filling these roles as others look at retirement.  The Conference in September provides an ideal setting to  attend the AGM and to discuss this with current and past Executive members.

ARPA E-News May 2018


Thank you to all members that have entered the 2018 Awards (for publications in 2017). The awards will be presented at the 2018 Conference on Saturday 8th September in Brisbane.

Ramon Williams Scholarship for 2018

It was pleasing to receive three excellent applications for the Ramon Williams Scholarship. The winner will be announced in the June E-News.

Note: Members are reminded to take note of the criteria for entry to ensure a valid application.

 2018 ARPA Conference: Brisbane

Communicating Hope and Trust in a Public Faith: 7-8 September 2018

The planning is coming along well. The Saturday afternoon will have two distinct keynote workshop sessions, enabling members to attend both events.

Our own members, Penny Mulvey and Mardi Lumsden will co-ordinate a session on the joys and challenges of working in the Religious Press.

Professor Mark Pearson, from Griffith University will be leading two keynote seminar times on Social Media, community, and current issues.

2018 Catholic Media Congress: 4-7 September: Brisbane

 All ARPA members are warmly invited to attend the 2018 Catholic Media Congress to be held before ARPA 2018 at Rydges Hotel in Brisbane. Details are on the website:



ARPA E-News February - March 2018

Pastoral Note for our Executive Officer, Elizabeth Harris

The ARPA executive, on behalf of the membership, extends our sympathy and prayers to our executive officer and her family following the passing of Liz's husband Russ on 27 February 2018. We thank Liz for her dedicated service and attention to ARPA and our membership while she has juggled family and health needs. 

Vale: Associate Member Alan Gill AM (1935 - February 23, 2018)

This is certainly the passing of an era. Alan was one of the group of people involved in the early days of ARPA, back in 1974, and maintained an active interest in ARPA as an associate member for over four decades.
Alan was the well-known religious affairs journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald for 17 years (1972-1989), having started as a ‘general’ journalist upon emigrating to Australia in 1971.

In 1985 he received a Walkley Award and was made a member of The Order of Australia for Services to the Media in 1995. Alan continued to write and research well into retirement.
Alan was a much-loved presence at NSW ARPA gatherings and always had one (or ten) stories to tell about his wide-ranging experiences, meeting religious leaders from all around the world. His expertise and knowledge of the Christian faith and other religions was well-known. His SMH colleagues referred to him as ‘The Reverend’ Alan Gill and he was often asked to provide information and advice about ‘religion’. I well remember him telling of his amusement one time when a colleague wanting to write a profile on Mary Mackillop asked Alan for her telephone number.

Malcolm Brown’s obituary for Alan is well worth reading: https://www.smh.com.au/national/journalist-interviewed-religious-leaders-of-all-faiths-20180228-h0wsa6.html

Alan will be missed by his wife Daisy, his wider family, friends and ARPA colleagues.
The President, Peter Bentley represented ARPA at Alan’s funeral service (A Mass of Christian Burial  at St Mark's Catholic Church, Tranmere Street, Drummoyne on March 2nd, 2018).

Peter Bentley

Ramon Williams Scholarship for 2018

Closing date 1 May 2018

Notice for the 2018 scholarship has been sent out. Please pass the information onto people in your organisation and think of someone your publication could nominate. Essential criteria:

  • The applicant must be no more than thirty-three years of age at the time of application.
  • The applicant must include in their application the name of a member publication or agency of ARPA that has nominated them to apply. 


2018 ARPA Conference: Brisbane

Communicating Hope and Trust in a Public Faith

Add the dates to your diary now: 7-8 September 2018.

Note. the Catholic Media Congress from 4 September (incorporating the ACPA Conference).

ARPA will meet at the Novotel Brisbane, just near Central Station, so again on the airtrain link.

We are pleased to report that Queensland academic and past ARPA member Dr John Harrison will be the opening keynote speaker for ARPA on Friday 7 September at 2.00 pm, on the topic:

“Journalism is not a crime. Not yet anyway.”


Connect 18: Small is the new big:

Christian Media and Arts Conference

Connect 18: 1-3 May, QT Hotel, Gold Coast. https://connectconference.org.au/

Interested in attending this major event? CMAA is offering ARPA members the Super Earlybird rate. This is now completely unavailable to even CMAA members.

Brief report on 2018 Executive Meeting

The executive held the annual face-to-face meeting February 2-3, 2018 at Stanmore House and dealt with ongoing business, finances and memberships (not yet renewed and new), as well as reviewing the past conference, the awards and making arrangements for the 2018 conference. A new award for Best Original Illustration will be introduced in 2018. The Blog award has been discontinued due to lack of entries.

Future ARPA Conferences

After reviewing the survey results, local logistics and timing, it was agreed that our preferred location would be Christchurch for ARPA 2019. This also links in with the desire of the executive and the survey respondents to have more frequent conferences in New Zealand.

Perth is recommended for 2020, and Adelaide for 2021.