Conference has rolled around at last. And what a blessing it was. Who could ask for anything more than a weekend filled with bubblegum sculptures, soggy weetbix in a baby bath and freaky hair!
MOPS Legana did a fantastic job of putting together décor for our conference based on the story part of the theme. They made table runners made from book pages, centerpieces made from books with ‘embrace your story’ written on the spines, string balloons and posters made from bible stories such as Esther. Just beautiful!
This year we held our inaugural conference dinner. The theme this year, in accordance with the upcoming MOPS curriculum theme, was Frock Up (Beautiful) and Freaky Hair (Mess). For some it was a challenge to frock up… for others the challenge was creating ‘freaky hair’.
The Friday night theme launch kicked off with a beautiful song entitled ‘Masterpiece’ by Christian musician Kerrie Roberts. We kicked off our night with a messy game which required all teams to participate by chewing bubble gum and then creating a bubblegum sculpture of the theme ‘A Beautiful Mess’.
Karen Dickson, MOPS Board Chair, and myself unveiled and introduced the theme for 2014 in three segments… ‘Mess’, ‘Story’ and ‘Masterpiece’.
Mess – We are not all Cinderella’s, we don’t live in a fairy tale world were all that’s needed to set things straight is the wave of a magic wand, instead the reality of life most days can appear quite devoid of any kind of magic at all, even the magic we mummies can create. Our leaders learned that the Mess component of the theme is all about recognizing that there is a perception of mothering and then there is the reality. Mess is about breaking down some of the myths and perceptions of the ‘ideal’ or ‘perfect’ way mothering should be and getting stuck into the ‘stuff’ of life with preschoolers. Mess is rarely as bad as what we think it is!
Story – Every one of us has a story, despite what some of us think. Not all our stories start with ‘once upon a time’ or finish with’ happily every after’ but that God knows where each of us has been, where we are today and where we are going. He has set our future direction. We highlighted that everyone’s story is one of power, is a story that can provide challenge, inspiration or be a catalyst for change for others. Story challenges us to value our own story because it is the one God has given us, and it encourages us to share parts of our stories. Story is an opportunity to give of ourselves and demonstrate that we aren’t all squeaky clean, we do have messy bits but there is hope. The story component was our opportunity to hear the amazing and inspiring story of hope from MOPS Board member Natalie Murdoch.
Masterpiece – Every masterpiece needs a master. A designer. A creator. There is only one who can fulfill that role … God. We are each God’s masterpiece, a one of a kind creation. Delicately and purposefully being fine tuned, shaped and refined to fulfill the purpose we were designed for. We are created anew in Christ Jesus. A masterful reflection of our designer so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
Our theme launch was followed by a fabulous fun-filled Friday Night Frivolity hosted by Northern Suburbs Salvation Army MOPS. This was a great time of laughter, soggy weetbix, creative makeup and masterful creations.
Saturday morning brought an awesome time of worship and focus on God. We were blessed to have Marg Sanders give our keynote address and followed this up with the presentation of a Hands of MOPS award to Heidi Sands.
Leadership Training workshops have become an important part of our Tasmanian MOPS conference and this year saw two very inspiring and encouraging workshops. Karen Dickson lead us into the minefield of ‘Theoretically and In Principle – Leading through Conflict’ and Julie Ferguson entered us into the world of ‘Embracing Our Story’s’.
As usual our position electives provided opportunity for leaders to meet together with other leaders in the same positions and discuss issues and opportunities for growth within in the position, how the theme fits with the position and along with this we ran a short social media workshop to look at the MOPS Australia Social Media Policy.
All in all a successful and inspiring time together as leaders, which provided opportunities for growth, learning, challenge and inspiration.
Conference Co-Ordinator, Tasmania