Now, Next, United: Australasian Conference of CDFs

'This time together served as a testament to the spirit of camaraderie that is the CDF community.'

The gathering of 50 delegates in Ōtautahi Christchurch from 22 dioceses across Australia and New Zealand marked a pivotal moment for the Australasian Catholic Development Funds (CDFs).

Hosted by CDF Christchurch in March 2024, the conference departed from the conventional format of invited speakers, embracing a new theme: “Now Next United.” This shift reflects a collective acknowledgment of the common objectives shared by CDFs – maximizing returns to support the broader mission of the Church – and the strategic imperatives that bind them together.

The CDF landscape is diverse, with 30 funds ranging from approximately $30 million in customer investments up to $2 billion. Despite the variation in scale, there exists a fraternity among CDFs characterised by shared values, support networks, and a commitment to best practices.

The March gathering allowed for an open dialogue, as delegates delved into the pressing questions facing their businesses.

  • What are the current realities shaping our work?
  • How do these dynamics influence our future trajectory?
  • And crucially, what steps must we take, individually and collectively, to realise our objectives?

Through candid exchanges and collaborative brainstorming, delegates unraveled the complexities of their shared mission to support the diocese they serve.

Reflecting on the significance of hosting counterparts from across Australasia, Janice Rennell of CDF Christchurch explained that beyond the formal sessions, delegates had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Christchurch Diocese: sharing Mass with Bishop Michael Gielen, attending the Catholic Business Network lunch, and hearing of our diocese’s service in Antarctica and of mountain adventures by South Westland Parish Priest, Fr Michael Mahoney at the International Antarctic Centre.

“Rennell, speaking on behalf of the small funds within the CDF network, expressed pride in hosting the recent conference. ‘Our efforts most certainly helped foster bonds that extend beyond the confines of the conference room,’ Rennell remarked. ‘This time together served as a testament to the spirit of camaraderie that is the CDF community.’

Delegate feedback echoed this sentiment, with Trevor Kellam from Wollongong stating, ‘Thank you for welcoming and leading the CDF movement in a truly inspiring and positive conference. I feel fortunate to have been part of a moment in our Catholic movement that has reset our thinking and leading to a brighter, more collaborative future.”   Colin Schotte from Perth mentioned that “the opportunity to come together in Christchurch once again reminded me about how we can all align and showcase the obvious real desire to work to be better together.”

The CDF team in Christchurch was pleased to celebrate a successful gathering with a resounding message of: Now, Next, United. In embracing this mindset, CDFs across Australasia stand poised to confront the challenges of today as they continue to strengthen the CDF offering, together.

The CDF exists to help the Church achieve its mission by providing loans and funding for activities that strengthen the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch.

Are you ready to invest in good today?