Family-focused conference challenges

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Wahroonga, New South Wales

Approximately 105 people from across the South Pacific Division attended this year’s National Christian Family Conference, held at the Clinical Education Centre at Sydney Adventist Hospital from July 20-21.

This is the longest-running forum for Christians in this field. 2015 marks our 29th conference.

Participants came from all over Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The theme of the two-day conference was adolescent mental health and parenting skills. Presenters included many key researchers and specialists in the field of parenting and adolescent health, including Dr Ross Grant, head of the Australasian Research Institute; Dr Andrew Campbell, senior lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Sydney University; and Dr David Bennett, head of the NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health. Session topics ranged from building resilience and wellbeing in young people to cyberpsychology and the internet.

“[The conference] has encouraged me, enlightened me and challenged me to see that there is still so much work to be done in this area,” said Papua New Guinea Union Mission Family Life director Dr Agnes Kola.

“We had chaplains, teachers, therapists, counselors, social workers and students in our audience,” said SPD family ministries director Dr Trafford Fischer. “This is the longest-running forum for Christians in this field. 2015 marks our 29th conference.”

Dr Fischer acknowledged the contributions of Dr Bryan Craig, who started the National Christian Family Conference in 1986 and has been involved in every conference since.