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HOLD Local Conferences 2023

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

For the second time, SA held their local conference. Their first was last 10th Sept 2022 and this year was last 6th to 7th May. All other states like NSW, QLD held their very first local conference on the same weekend SA held theirs. VIC on the other hand, had yet to have their local conference on 20th to 21st May 2023. As of this writing, they have already reached 74 registrants including CFCA wives. Last year, due to the uncertainties associated with the pandemic we planned to have local conferences but because the

handmaids were itching to travel, many of the members from NSW and VIC decided to join the conference in Seaworld Resort Gold Coast QLD (a spectacular venue) and it became a national event with 100 delegates. There were more members who were interested to attend but we were forced to close the registration due to the limited venue capacity. It was a different story in SA because only 4 handmaids joined the conference in Qld and that was the reason why HOLD SA managed to have their first local conference in 2022 and with a dozen handmaids from NSW zooming in to join SA. At one stage, SA managed to join the National Praise Parade event in QLD via zoom and that was a different experience. I must confess, I felt lonely leaving the handmaids in SA last year! But, catching up with my sisters from other states was a joyful, exciting experience especially after 2 years of not seeing each other. The talks we’ve heard from Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Sr Mel Dwyer, a Canossian sister, were very touching & inspiring. Up to this time, I’m still rejoicing in our Lord, which was the theme of our conference last year.

For this year, 2023 our conference theme is “Walk Together with God” and with scriptural theme found in 2 Timothy 4:1-5. This was St Paul’s letter to young Timothy, giving him instructions not to forget to proclaim the good news, to be patient, to endure as life becomes harder and to remember to fix his eyes on the prize. The same message applies to all of us. We all know our ultimate prize. Some are trying so hard to get that prize! We held these local conferences, to be convicted on how we can walk together as one united community and at the same time reach out to as many HOLD members as we can. I believe that we have achieved that in SA, NSW ,QLD (& we will achieve this in VIC) where more than 50% of our members were able to attend our state conferences. This is compared to about 30% (or lower) of our members attend the National conference (except for the host state). The decision was made by

the National HOLD Core Group to trial alternating between local conferences and National Conference. This way, handmaids will be given the time to save up for a National Conference which cost more due to airfare, accommodation, etc. This will also give more handmaids the chance to serve and use their God given talents in planning, organising, giving talks, leading Praise & Worship, singing, etc. in their respective states. When we talk about leadership training, organising conferences, CLPs, retreats - are best training grounds to develop our leaders. In as far as impact of local conferences to our members, I believe that the Holy Spirit has stirred many of our members in HOLD nationwide. The feedback that I got was amazing. Let’s continue to pray that we will all be grounded in love, prepared to endure sufferings, and always focused on the prize. Let’s be ready to share the greatest gift we can give to others, gift of Jesus, the source of love!

- Margarita McMahon

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