FAMILY II: by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
World Congress of Families, Sydney (May 15-18)
, February 16, 2013
Plans are now well advanced for next May’s World Congress of Families in Sydney, where around 2,000 people from around Australia are expected to come together with leading family organisations to discuss how to protect and advance the natural family.
Details of the congress can be downloaded from the congress website, www.wcfsydney2013.org.au, and from the Australian Family Association, which is one of the “gold” sponsors of the congress.
The congress, which will run from May 15 to 18, will be held at the state-of-the-art Australian Technology Park conference centre, near the centre of Sydney.
The WCF aims to change public perceptions of the family, to show that the family is the source of social renewal and progress, and that larger families are a special gift to society, not an impediment to it.
The Sydney congress is international, with a special emphasis on Australia and New Zealand, and will have speakers from around the world, together with leaders of pro-family organisations, activists and specialists from Australia.
The convener of the planning committee is Mary-Louise Fowler, vice-president of the Australian Family Association.
Among the keynote speakers are Professor Brad Wilcox from the University of Virginia, Professor Ian Harper from Melbourne University, Professor Patrick Parkinson from Sydney University, Dr Allan Carlson of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society in the US, Patrick Fagan from the Family Research Council, and syndicated columnist Don Feder from the United States.
On the first day, there will be a large number of parallel sessions, covering a wide range of subjects, including marriage and the gift of life, the crisis of under-population (particularly in the developed world), countering the “cultural revolution”, recognising the social and economic value of the home, and creating a family-centred economy.
The following day, the theme will be “Strengthening marriage and family life: the solution to social and economic challenges”.
After several plenary addresses, there will a number of parallel sessions dealing with issues such as government policies and the family, the impact of the United Nations, the importance of home ownership, and the impact on the family of the law, education and health policies.
Further parallel sessions will deal with contentious issues such as the impact on the family of popular culture, the internet, the media, literature, films and pornography. Others will deal with the devastating impact of abortion on mothers, fathers and siblings.
The third day will be built around the theme of “Building happy families”. The plenary sessions will be followed by parallel sessions dealing with a comprehensive range of subjects, from dating, choosing a partner for life, intimacy, and welcoming babies.
There will later be sessions on what children really need, the importance of fathers spending time with their children, the significance of family meals and moral formation for young people within the family, and the impact of schools on children’s formation.
Additionally, there will be a parliamentary forum to discuss issues relating to legislation and the family, and an indigenous and islander forum, to examine the specific issues affecting indigenous and islander families. These sessions will be led by leaders of family organisations around Australia.
The Sydney congress program is comprehensive, and will be of great value to anyone concerned with preserving the family as the cornerstone of contemporary society. There have already been many people registering to attend, both from around Australia and from overseas.
One of the main values of the congress will be to enable people who attend to network with like-minded people, to support families and build the foundations for stronger pro-family policies, at local, regional, state and national levels.
The value of such networks has been seen in many local and national initiatives to support the family, including the political campaign in Australia in 2012 to defend natural marriage, the defeat of bills in several states for legalised euthanasia, and local initiatives in relation to brothels and sex shops.
The congress is designed not just for “experts” or activists, but for ordinary people who are concerned for the future of our country and, more broadly, of Western civilisation, which historically has been based on the intact family. It is also designed for both men and women, husbands and wives, and particularly young people.
Special discounts available
To encourage early registration, the Sydney WCF conveners are offering a substantial 20 per cent discount for those who register by February 28, and an additional discount for members and supporters of the Australian Family Association.
To get the benefit of this discount, you need to include the following promotional codes: AFA01 for 20 per cent off full registration, and AFA0S for 20 per cent off spouse registration.
Applications can be made online, at the Sydney WCF web site, www.wcfsydney2013.org.au, or by completing the printed registration form which is available through the AFA and other sponsoring organisations.