In a first for Aotearoa New Zealand, a national Catholic men’s event is to be held at the end of September, 2018 in Auckland. Entitled “MAX18NZ UNLESS”, this live-in event will start on the evening of Friday, September 28 and run through to early afternoon of Sunday, September 30. The venue chosen for this event, Kings College, Otahuhu, offers a range of modern facilities including single room accommodation for all participants.

MAX18NZ is modelled on the highly successful annual MAX weekends held in Brisbane and facilitated by the Australian based Catholic men’s ministry, menALIVE. MAX stands for Men Alive for Christ; the 18 for this year 2018, and NZ differentiating this event from the Brisbane one. According to organisers, the word “UNLESS” is based on the many passages in Scripture that have conditions attached to them e.g. John 12:24 “unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain: but if it dies, it bears much fruit” and John 3:5 “unless a man be born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God”.

MAX18NZ UNLESS will draw on some of these and will encourage men to look at various aspects of their Christian journey that “Unless . . .” might apply to. There will be a number of experienced presenters speaking throughout the weekend including menALIVE co-founders Robert Falzon and Peter Shakhovskoy from Brisbane.

Deacon Gary Stone, who served for many years in the Australian military and who has authored a book “Duntroon to Dili”, will speak and share some of his testimony. There will also be a choice of facilitated workshop options during the weekend. Organisers state that no Catholic event would be complete without priests, perhaps even a bishop or two, present for some or all of the weekend. Mass on both the Saturday and Sunday will be celebrated at the venue and the programme will also provide for an opportunity to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation.

MAX18NZ has been jointly organised by menALIVE and Joshua Catholic Men’s Fellowship. MenALIVE’s flagship event has been parish based men’s weekends that have been run throughout Australia since 2003. Several have also been held in New Zealand in recent years. In July last year, Joshua men Jim  Gribble and Mike Conroy were appointed as regional representatives for menALIVE in New Zealand and are keen to help promote and facilitate more of these events around New Zealand in the future.

Joshua Catholic Men’s Fellowship has been active for many years facilitating events and retreats. The two ministries of menALIVE and Joshua complement each other well. It is the joint vision of both organisations to foster the formation of Scripture journaling groups and other similar men’s small groups who meet regularly throughout the year.

There are significant costs involved in running an event such as MAX18NZ. The organising team has been working to secure sponsorship in order to keep
registration at an affordable level. Even so, for some men cost is a very real barrier to attending such events. But thanks to a very generous benefactor, organisers now have access to funding to assist men who would not normally be able to afford to come to this event.

Requests for financial and other assistance will be considered on a case by case basis and the organising team expect to be able to assist to whatever degree is necessary in most cases.

Contacts will be Jim Gribble; (ph) 0272495378; or Mike Conroy; mike.conroy@max18nz. info, (ph) 07-8298616. Full registration cost for the weekend, which includes accommodation and all meals, is $260.