With plans underway for regional presidents, staff and youth to gather in Adelaide in October, the theme for the Society's The Record autumn 2017 publication is National Congress 2017: One Society, A United Voice. 

It’s been a little more than 60 years since a gathering of this kind took place, and this edition is an invitation to imagine the future of the Society.

Around 200 participants will come together for the Congress, to both assess the spiritual sense of who we are and how we relate to each other, and discuss what we need to do to reduce poverty and inequality in Australia.  

Several regional presidents have shared thoughts in the autumn edition of The Record, on various challenges in their communities when serving the needs of others.

In Broken Hill, for example, isolation is all-pervading in the outback NSW mining town.  At the outer northern Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth, an entire industry is winding up and at Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, low income people are struggling to find suitable accommodation in an area driven by tourism.

Along with acknowledging everyday challenges Vincentians face, there’s also much to celebrate. We are particularly proud of Kate Barton, who won a community service award at this year’s Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Awards.

Meanwhile Michael Walter, a youth engagement coordinator at the St Vincent de Paul Society in Victoria, managed to hold the government to account over its proposed cuts to penalty rate cuts, on the ABC’s Q&A program.  

A strong contingent of youth will be represented at the Congress, and to help organisers ensure we make the best use of our time together, we are inviting all of our Society’s members to take part in a short survey.

We are particularly interested in obtaining insights into how engaged members are with the Society, what motivates them to volunteer their time, their perceptions of support they get from the Society, whether they feel well equipped to provide support to others, and their future intentions.

A link to the survey is available at http://bit.ly/2p2yKEE