I have been asked to explain what Converse is and rather than burying my response in the comments I thought I’d create a new post.
Converse is an emerging church forum based in Sydney, Australia. It is co-ordinated by Mike Frost, Fuzz Kitto, Glen Powell and Erik Hatfield. I think it basically started out with Mike gathering his Blackstump buddies together about three years ago and has grown to include people involved or interested in various forms of emerging church and emerging mission. As Forge is only in its first year in Sydney and this forum is a few years older it is not promoted as having any Forge connection even though Mike is obviously at the helm of Forge in Sydney. That may change, who knows, but up till now it has been fairly informal.
Gatherings usually consist of a meal, wine with interaction time after a short talk from a guest speaker. Participants range in experience from leaders deeply immersed in emerging church and mission to interested enquirers who are quite main stream and only have the vaguest understanding of the issues. Numbers can vary anywhere between 15 to 50. It is non-denominational but participants tend to be primarily Baptist, Uniting and people running semi-independent projects. Occasionally we get a Sydney Anglican minister come in secret but it would be good to see more of them. The venue changes each time and is sometimes used to showcase emerging church projects around Sydney – for example it has been held at Mars Hill Café, Café Church and other venues around town.
Things have been very sporadic of late with Mike being on sabbatical but seem to be back on track now. It seems they have secured Brian McLaren for a gathering early next year which should be interesting. One thing that my involvement in Converse has highlighted for me is just how much stuff is going on below the radar. You won’t find it on the net, you won’t find out about it via mainstream church. So it serves its purpose of generating conversation.