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Nominate a worthy dad for Queensland’s Father of the Year
Thursday, 3 July 2014

QFOTY 2014Nominations for the 2014 Queensland Father of the Year award, supported by SU QLD, are rushing in from the far reaches of the state ahead of the award's nomination closing date of 18 July, 2014.

Dozens of nominations have been received for the award which honours outstanding fathers for their exceptional commitment to raising their children or for their exemplary contribution to the development of children in the community.

You can nominate a dad or community father-figure who you believe deserves to be put in the spotlight by submitting a nomination at www.suqld.org.au/qfoty by Friday 18 July, 2014.

Last year's winner was Townsville's Neil Thomson - a father to seven, grandfather to 10, foster dad to more than 100 children, and fulltime carer to his wife. Other finalists included the founder of one of Australia's biggest fundraising groups for the Leukaemia Foundation's World's Greatest Shave; a quadruple amputee and father of four; and a father to three adopted children, two of whom have Down Syndrome.

Award ceremonies for seven regional finalists - from the Sunshine Coast & Wide Bay, Brisbane North, Brisbane South, Gold Coast & Logan, Southern Queensland, Central Queensland and North Queensland - will be held from the 19th - 23rd of August.

The Queensland Father of the Year will win 5 night's accommodation at Sea World Resort and Water Park along with unlimited entry to Movieworld, Seaworld and Wet'n'Wild for the whole family for the duration of the stay. The person who nominates the winning 2014 Queensland Father of the Year will win an Apple iPad Mini.

For more information on SU QLD's Father of the Year visit www.suqld.org.au/qfoty or phone 1300 478 753.

High Court Decision
Thursday, 19 June 2014

Today, Thursday 19th June, the High Court of Australia handed down its decision on the ongoing federal funding for School Chaplaincy.

The Judgement:

In line with the Court's views in the first Williams case, the Court has ruled against the current funding model, meaning another change must be made in order for funding to continue.

No doubt this judgement sounds very familiar, as it echoes the first Williams case in 2012. This is not an anti-chaplaincy ruling, but rather a ruling about where the balance lies between State and Federal government spending powers.

In fact, the High Court's Chief Justice and four other members of the court have made very positive comments about chaplaincy and how it benefits students:

"...it may be assumed that provision of chaplaincy services at a school will help some students. Provision of those services will be of benefit to them. It will be of "benefit" to them in the sense of providing them with an advantage or a good."

[School chaplain's support] "... includes "strengthening values, providing pastoral care and enhancing engagement with the broader community". These are desirable ends."

"For the purposes of argument, it may be accepted that some students would derive advantage from using the services and, in that sense, should do so. But no student and no member of the school community must do so."

Ironically, the fact that school chaplains are available to all students and benefit the whole school community means that chaplaincy falls outside of the narrow scope of the Commonwealth power. The court held that Commonwealth power extends only to identified group's of students, rather than whole school communities - and therefore a new funding model will be needed.

So where does this leave us?

Our current chaplaincy funding continues until the end of 2014. The benefit of such a quick decision is that the government can make the corrections to ensure continued funding for our chaplains. SU QLD will be working hard with the Commonwealth, and other relevant bodies, to put in place a new funding model in time for 2015.

We greatly appreciate the incredible community backing for school chaplaincy, shown through signed statements of support, personal emails, and the countless conversations that our team have had with people in local school communities.

Thank you for your ongoing support as we work towards a new funding solution. In the meantime, our Chaplains will keep on caring for children and young people across the state.

 

 

Setting the record straight on School Chaplaincy
Wednesday, 18 June 2014

School Chaplaincy: Dispelling Myths & Answering questionsThere has been a flurry of discussion in the media about school chaplaincy following the May federal budget — a lot of discussion, but also a lot of misinformation. 

Please download our PDF document Dispelling Myths & Answering Questions, which answers the following questions:

  • Hasn't the High Court already stopped school chaplaincy?
  • Will the current High Court decision mean the end of federal funding?
  • Aren't school chaplains just out to convert students to religion?
  • Are school chaplains qualified?
  • Shouldn't the federal money be spent on psychologists instead?
  • Why does this need to be done by religious workers?
  • Why is this relevant in a schools context — isn't it something for home?
  • How can a chaplain support students with issues of sexuality, drug use or pregnancy?
  • How can the federal government spend $
  • million on this?
  • Aren't government schools meant to be secular?
  • I thought no-one wanted school chaplaincy
  • Does my child have a choice about school chaplaincy?
Nominations are open for Queensland Father of the Year
Monday, 2 June 2014

QFOTY 2014Nominations are now open for the 2014 Queensland Father of the Year award.

Hosted by SU QLD in partnership with RSL Queensland, the Queensland Father of the Year Award honours outstanding fathers for their exceptional commitment to raising their children, or for their exemplary contribution to the development of children in the community.

Children and community members from all over the state are invited to nominate dads who are seen to be excelling in fatherhood. Nominations close on Friday 18th July for judging to commence.

"The Queensland Father of the Year Award honours and celebrates the importance of fathers and father-figures throughout our state and its local communities," said SU QLD CEO, Peter James.

"It's vital that children and young people have strong male role models in their lives, whether it's their dads or community figures. Many dads and father-figures work hard behind the scenes, making huge sacrifices that often go unnoticed, but this award is designed to bring them into the spotlight," said Peter.

The 2014 winner will be announced on the 3rd September at a lunch ceremony at the Sky Terrace Room, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre Grey Street.

Last year's winner was Townsville's Neil Thomson - a father to seven, grandfather to 10, foster dad to more than 100 children, and fulltime carer to his wife. Other finalists included the founder of one of Australia's biggest fundraising groups for the Leukaemia Foundation's World's Greatest Shave; a quadruple amputee and father of four; and a father to three adopted children, two of whom have Down Syndrome.

Award ceremonies for seven regional finalists - from the Sunshine Coast & Wide Bay, Brisbane North, Brisbane South, Gold Coast & Logan, Southern Queensland, Central Queensland and North Queensland - will be held from the 18th - 22nd of August.

Those seven regional winners will be brought to Brisbane to attend the state award ceremony on the 3rd of September.

The Queensland Father of the Year will win 5 night's accommodation at Sea World Resort and Water Park along with unlimited entry to Movieworld, Seaworld and Wet'n'Wild for the whole family for the duration of the stay. The person who nominates the winning 2014 Queensland Father of the Year will win an Apple iPad Mini.

For more information on SU QLD's Queensland Father of the Year visit http://qldfatheroftheyear.org.au/ or phone 1300 478 753.

Christmas Countdown
Monday, 16 December 2013

The lead up to Christmas never fails to leave me a little sweaty-palmed and panic stricken as I wonder aimlessly around packed shopping centres, a jarring rendition of Jingle Bells ringing in my ears.

School and work commitments escalate during this heady count down and before I know it, it's Christmas Eve with precious little time to prepare. I've always envied those who start planning in January. The elite (and slightly smug) few who manage to grab bargains all through the year so they don't join a last minute seething mass of humanity all sporting similar expressions of: "It can't be Christmas already, surely?"

Of course, eventually, I always get into the swing of things. Lights are strung, the Christmas tree dressed (this year joined with duct tape on account of our fat cat snapping the trunk while climbing its lofty heights), and in a flurry of creativity I even made a rustic grass wreath to adorn the front door.

In hindsight, I shouldn't have panicked at all. I was inadvertently swept along by the media frenzy and commercialised messages audaciously revealing how many shopping days were left. In reality, my gift list was relatively lean, food aside. My family live in South Africa so, given the dubious history of missing parcels, Christmas cards sufficed. American cousins visiting for Christmas requested Australian memorabilia - easy.

My own children's wishes were a little more eclectic. My daughter listed a ukulele, a bag of litchis, a couple of mangoes and a pomegranate. Before labelling her a fruit loop, I decided her self- imposed 'austerity measures' either stemmed from her parents lamenting the high cost of school fees, or from her being genuinely in tune with the economic mess in which the world found itself. I suppose I can be grateful it wasn't a partridge in a pear tree.

My eldest son casually mentioned "well...I'd quite like to buy a new camera lens..." He clearly hadn't overheard the school fee conversation. My youngest showed interest, (among other weapons) in a Bear Grylls knife he assured was only for felling trees and warding off a possible brown snake attack while sleeping in his neighbouring friend's bush cubby. My husband was content with "five matching pairs of socks".

Gifts aside, a mild panic also arises when I think of the long, looming holiday ahead. As I observe my teens becoming a little restless, I'm soberly reminded that bar one week of the holidays, the remainder will be spent at home with two wrestling for the remote and the third asking who has finished the yoghurt she hid behind the cauliflower.

Admittedly, they will all be intermittently out earning their keep in various jobs including serving fish and chips, dog sitting and selling beachwear in a trendy city store. It's the gaps in-between that are vaguely concerning. The hot, humid endless Queensland summer days where staying indoors in air-conditioning is the only sane way to survive.

But as past experience shows, I know it will all come together wonderfully and in the messy, sweaty ensuing weeks we will all find our rhythm and savour this precious time together. I will remember why I love the Christmas season and how truly blessed we are to be together.

And in the midst of this mad rush towards the finish line, far beyond the tinsel and tired jingles will be the poignant reminder that without Christ at its centre, it's not Christmas at all.

Merry Christmas!

 


Author: Lois Nicholls

Lois Nicholls

Dates set for high court hearing as chaplaincy support grows by the thousands
Friday, 13 December 2013

More than 60,000 people have shown their support for national school chaplaincy as dates were set today for the High Court Challenge to take place in early May 2014.

Scripture Union Queensland (SU QLD), alongside the Federal Education Minister and the Commonwealth of Australia are defendants in the case, which challenges the Federal Government’s funding model for national school chaplaincy. Today, Sydney’s High Court held a short directions hearing to determine the dates for hearing the case in 2014.

This is the plaintiff’s second High Court challenge, this time claiming that the funding model agreed upon by both sides of parliament in June 2012 is invalid.

Without funding, more than 3,500 school communities across Australia will lose the choice to employ a chaplain as part of their student support department.

Thousands of parents, teachers, principals and supporters have put their name to statements of support for national school chaplaincy in the few weeks since the case was announced, and thousands more are arriving each week at SU QLD’s Brisbane office.

Chaplains assist in caring for the emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing of children within the school community. Their role is designed to allow time to meet one-on-one with individuals who may be undergoing issues at home or at school, struggling to learn, or who are demonstrating unhealthy behaviours such as aggression or withdrawal.

Chaplains also coordinate regular programs to help kids engage with each other and prepare for the learning environment. Programs include ‘Chappy Breakfasts’ to help kids who may not get breakfast at home. This program has been shown to help young people settle into their school day and become more focused during class time.

SU QLD’s Connect Program aims to break negative habits and behavioural cycles in ‘at-risk’ young people and to help them gain a practical understanding of diversity, acceptance, trust, responsibility, teamwork, forgiveness and encouragement.

The Seasons program helps kids understand the changes of life and how to deal with grief, loss and separation.

The chaplaincy role works hand-in-hand with counsellors and psychiatrists, and Chaplains are trained to refer complex issues to these services. Chaplains work in prevention and support; helping students find a positive way to deal with issues ranging from relationship and social problems, family breakdown and loneliness to support through grief, natural disaster and personal tragedy.

The High Court Challenge to national school chaplaincy will also affect 450 other programs, including 82 educational programs such as child care services; autism assistance; student wellbeing services; and indigenous education programs.

Australian’s can show their support for school chaplaincy by visiting backourchappies.com.au to sign their name in favour of continued federal funding.

For more information on SU QLD and the High Court Challenge visit backourchappies.com.au.

Media Enquiries:

Melinda Peers
SU QLD Head of Communications
P: 07 3112 6405
M: 0439 114 013
E: melindap@suqld.com.au

Chaplains heading back to the high court to defend funding and the right of choice for australian schools
Friday, 20 September 2013

Scripture Union Queensland (SU QLD) is again defending national school chaplaincy in the High Court of Australia, with the first directions hearing to be held in Sydney on Friday 20 September, 2013.

This is the second attempt by a Toowoomba resident to prevent federal government funding for the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program (NSCSWP).

Without funding, more than 3,500 school communities will lose the choice to employ a chaplain or welfare worker as part of their student support department.

Chaplains provide social, emotional, practical and spiritual support in Australian schools. They work in prevention and support; helping students find a positive way to deal with issues ranging from relationship and social problems, family breakdown and loneliness to support through grief, natural disaster and personal tragedy.

Hundreds of thousands of school children each year turn to their school chaplains for practical help, but also for the non-coercive spiritual element chaplains' offer.

Chaplains provide a listening ear and a caring presence for kids in crisis, and for those who just need someone to believe in them. They are also on-hand to provide support for staff and parents in school communities.

The June 2012 High Court decision found that something more than a cabinet decision was needed to approve a federal spending program. With bi-partisan support, Parliament responded to pass legislation and regulations to create a new funding model to support school chaplaincy and more than 450 other federal spending programs.

In August 2013, the same plaintiff commenced new High Court proceedings to overturn that new funding model. Currently, with federal funding support, schools can decide for themselves to have a chaplain as a member of their student support department. Without funding, that choice disappears for most schools.

Not just that, if the plaintiff succeeds in having the High Court declare the funding model invalid, this would jeopardise more than 450 federal spending programs funded under that model, not just the NSCSWP.

Among these programs are 82 educational programs such as child care services; autism assistance; student wellbeing services; and indigenous education programs.

In the 2011/12 High Court Challenge 85,000 Australian's showed their support for national school chaplaincy by signing a statement of support. In 2013, Australian's can once again show their support by visiting backourchappies.com.au to sign their name in favour of federal funding for school chaplaincy.

For more information on SU QLD and the High Court Challenge visit backourchappies.com.au.

Townsville foster dad wins Queensland's Father of the Year
Thursday, 29 August 2013

Neil Thomson

From left to right: Peter Coster (RSL Queensland), Arthur Conomos (SU QLD Chairman), Neil Thomson (The 2013 Queensland Father of the Year), The Hon. Campbell Newman (Premier of Queensland), Peter James (SU QLD CEO).

Watch Neil Thomson's Story

Father to seven, grandfather to 10, and foster dad to more than 130 children, Neil Thomson, has today, 29 August, 2013, been named 2013 Queensland Father of the Year.

As well as being a father-figure to many, this inspirational dad has also been the fulltime carer for his wife, who is recovering from chronic kidney disease and cancer.

Neil gave up his successful business in Townsville to care for Karen after she came seriously ill. Despite Karen's deteriorating health, the couple has welcomed many foster children over the last decade, looking for a home to call their own.

The family always had minimum of four children at one time, until March 2013, when Karen's health took a turn for the worst. Now, Neil runs a busy household looking after two permanent foster children, while remaining by Karen's side as she travels to Brisbane for regular treatment.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman presented Neil with his award at a lunch ceremony at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and warmly spoke about fatherhood and the importance of making time to be a great dad.

"I'm a father, I've got two daughters, and I think it's fair to say that it's the most important role that I have," Mr Newman said.

"Today we celebrate great fathers. We celebrate the work they do, day-in day-out, raising their families and trying to provide great models of character to their kids. To all the fathers across Queensland who are doing a great job, keep up that great work. To those who need to lift their game... please lift your game. Your job is important and there are people who are relying on you," Mr Newman said.

"There are a lot of challenges of being a father, particularly in the modern world. And the finalists, particularly, have put up with some incredible challenges; curved balls that would leave many of us going 'woe is me'. But they have overcome them, and that's what we're recognising this afternoon," Mr Newman said.

Neil's daughter, Danni Pearce, said the most inspirational thing about her dad was the love he shows his own children, as well as the many foster children that have come to their home. "The love and the nurture that he provided us children and mum is indescribable," Danni said.

Upon accepting the award, Neil's advice to other fathers was "stick at it". "Make a decision to be a father, make a decision to be there for your children and, long-term, the return is good," Neil said.
Hosted by SU QLD in partnership with RSL Queensland, the Queensland Father of the Year award honours outstanding fathers for their exceptional commitment to raising their children or for their exemplary contribution to the development of children in the community.

"Family is so important and growing up with loving and supportive parents can give kids a great start in life. Fathers play such a significant role within the family and the Queensland Father of the Year award is designed to acknowledge excellent fathers throughout the state," said SU QLD CEO Peter James.

"Being a dad isn't always easy! There are so many demands on parents and as a father I know how hard that can be. At SU QLD, we want to say thank you to those dads who have been put forward as exceptional fathers," said Peter.

Nominations were received from children and community members all over the state for dads who are seen to be excelling in fatherhood.

Other finalists included father of four Brent Crosby, who founded one of Australia's biggest fundraising groups for the Leukaemia Foundation's World's Greatest Shave, and father of four Matthew Ames, who is a quadruple amputee.

Neil won 5 night's accommodation at Sea World Resort and Water Park along with unlimited entry to Movieworld, Seaworld and Wet'n'Wild for the family during their stay, compliments of Village Roadshow Theme Parks.

For more information on SU QLD's Father of the Year visit www.qldfatheroftheyear.org.au or phone 1300 478 753.

Federal Member Endorses Chaplaincy After a Fantastic 'Chappy Week'
Monday, 3 June 2013
Scott Buchholz, MP

Scott Buchholz, MP

The Honourable Scott Buchholz MP, Federal Member for Wright, gave this address in parliament on the 27th May to honour and recognise the hard work of school chaplains in our local communities. We are grateful for the incredible bi-partisan support our chaplains continue to receive as they seek to serve the children and young people in our communities, many of whom are dealing with increasingly complex issues and social relationships.

 

"I rise to advise the House of a little-known organisation that does a mighty effort in communities right around Australia. I speak of our school chaplains. Last week was Chappy Week, which is an annual event held to raise awareness of school chaplains and the valuable service they provide to students, parents and teachers in our schools. Chaplains provide spiritual but, more importantly, emotional support to school communities. They work at helping students find a better way to deal with issues including family breakdown, loneliness, drug abuse, depression, anxiety and, more recently, cyberbullying. Chaplains encourage responsible behaviour based on sound and acceptable social skills.

"In my day, you were the odd kid out in a classroom if you did not have a mum and a dad. Today, it is the opposite. Most kids in the state schools now come from a broken family—not all, but these are problems that chaplains are now confronted with. I remember we used to ride our bikes or walk many kilometres, in a safe community environment, to get to our school. Misbehaviour in a small, tight-knit community was reported expediently back to parents. Misbehaviour on the streets of our community was not tolerated and you were quickly dealt with by a responsible parent at home if you were throwing rotten mangoes at the next-door neighbour's dogs!

"More than ever before, Australian children are experiencing family problems, confusing relationships, friendship issues, peer pressure, self-esteem issues, bullying and depression. School life and playground dynamics have changed enormously since we all went to school. Without getting into the psychology of it, it seems that nowadays it is much more difficult for a kid just to be a kid. This is why I am a supporter of the chaplaincy program in my community and right across the nation. In a national government school survey recently, 92.5 per cent of chaplains reported dealing with bullying and harassment, 92 per cent reported dealing with peer relationships and loneliness, 91 per cent reported dealing with family relationships and 85 per cent reported dealing with students' sense of purpose and self-esteem.

"In my electorate, bullying, harassment and peer pressure were major issues in the schoolyard and affected the wellbeing of a significant number of students. Fortunately, the school chaplaincy program has been adopted across several schools and significant changes have been noted. I often use schools in my electorate of Wright as an example of where the chaplaincy program has been a success. The obvious benefits which come from the chaplaincy program confirm the need for widespread participation during Chappy Week, which raises much needed funds for the program. Almost 50 per cent of Queensland state schools have a chappy, which I am very proud of, but unfortunately that leaves 600 state schools without a chappy, and in my opinion that is 600 schools too many."

Full transcript available: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/genpdf/chamber/hansardr/69dfc543-83f2-4d01-b4e5-b3ac903c117e/0302/hansard_frag.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf

Chaplains play key role for kids
Friday, 24 May 2013
Wesleyan church members Elizabeth Chalk and Joyce Mortimer get together for the chaplaincy breakfast.

Wesleyan church members Elizabeth Chalk and Joyce Mortimer get together for the chaplaincy breakfast.

GIVING thanks to the people in the community who support and contribute to the school chaplaincy program was celebrated at a breakfast at the Coffee Club on Wednesday morning.

Members and leaders of schools, church and service groups who attended, reciprocated their gratitude for the chaplaincy services available in our schools.

Warwick State High School chaplain Marie Brennan organised the breakfast to raise awareness of the ever-increasing demand and importance of chaplains in the education system, and to thank those that assist in making this possible.

Chaplains have been operational in the local area for over 20 years and their role is wide and varied.

Mrs Brennan said that prominently a chaplain is someone who offers a listening ear to students who need to talk about their problems.

"We are here to listen to all problems, big or small, whether it be family issues, problems at school or in personal relationships," she said.

Apart from offering emotional support, the program assists those in need of basic essentials such as food and clothing.

Mrs Brennan said that there are a lot more families in our local community that are suffering financial hardship than most people realise.

"We rely heavily on the support of the community to assist those students in need and appreciate any donations received," she said.

"Part of the profits from this morning's breakfast will allow us to buy warm school clothing for the some of the students."

Along with Mrs Brennan, Donna Angell provides chaplaincy services at Central and East State School with vacancies for chaplains available at West and Killarney State schools.

Chair of the chaplaincy Andrew Jones said he looks forward to the continued support from local businesses, community groups and individuals.

"We also welcome anyone that has an interest in helping in any way to contact us, and join in supporting the youth of today."

The chaplaincy committee hold meetings on the third Thursday of each month at 4pm at the Warwick High School or alternatively call Andrew Jones on 0437 280 537 to see how you can be of assistance.

Source: http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/chaplains-play-key-role-for-kids/1880880/

Isabella Primary show their appreciation for their Adopt-a-Cop and local police!
Monday, 25 March 2013
Isabella Primary Student proud of their artwork

Isabella Primary Student proud of their artwork

Students at the Isabella Primary School in Edmonton yesterday presented their much loved school Adopt-a-Cop, Constable Eric Lynch and Officer in Charge of the Edmonton Police Station, Senior Sergeant Jason Smith with a hand made set of three paintings.

Students from Isabella's Art Club have been working tirelessly on the artwork piece after students had expressed concern to their school chaplain, Mrs Lorraine Lynch, after their Adopt-a-Cop was seriously assaulted at work back in September last year.

The students had heard of other recent serious assaults on their local Edmonton Police in recent months and wanted to show the police that they supported them. As such the students, under the guidance of Miss Bron, the artwork leader at the school, the students worked tirelessly on their special artwork.

Yesterday was the day they were able to show their appreciation for the efforts of Constable Eric and the Edmonton Police.

School Chaplain Lorraine Lynch said over the last 2 years I have seen Mr Eric gradually build trust between police officers and the students, particularly the indigenous youth.

"In his role as the school Adopt-a-Cop, he also helped by being a disciplinarian, sports coach and good Samaritan," Ms Lynch said.

"He has donated free bread and delivered it to some local families in need and he's developed a rapport that encourages the kids to develop honourable characteristics such as honesty, respect and obedience.

"When the kids found out that Mr Eric had been seriously assaulted last year, they were confused as to why. With the further serious assaults on other local police more recently, the students were keen to show their appreciation for all they do to keep us safe," Ms Lynch said.

When asked why they wanted to present this special artwork to the local police some of the year 7 students were very quick to respond.

Leanne said, 'I wanted to show my appreciation because they help the community to keep safe.'

Talia said, 'I'd like people to recognise that our school is a loving and caring group of students.'

Kyle summed up the students thoughts by saying, 'I want the police officers to know that there are people who do care. It is an honour because I get to respect people in positions of authority.'

Senior Sergeant Jason Smith said the plight of our community is not lost on these young students.

"I know the officers are very proud of their new artwork which will hold pride of place at the police station," Senior Sergeant Smith said.

"The kids have done a great job and we thank them for their efforts. It's always good to be acknowledged for our efforts and the fact this has come from young people in our community is very refreshing."

Congratulations to the students and school community at Isabella Primary School for your efforts to show you care.

More photos and the original story: http://mypolice.qld.gov.au/cairns/2013/03/22/isabella-primary-show-their-appreciation-for-their-adopt-a-cop-and-local-police/

School chaplaincy boss urges parents to act on bullying
Thursday, 14 March 2013

Parents should not be silent if they believe their child is being bullied at school, but can approach their school chaplain for help.

This is the call today from Australia's largest provider of school chaplains on the eve of the March 15 'National day of action against bullying and violence'.

Chief executive officer of SU QLD Peter James said chaplains are on the front line and have "a unique vantage point from which to view the effects of bullying in schoolyards."

"We regularly support student victims and their families as well as helping bullies understand themselves and overcome their negative behaviour," he explained.

Mr James said around one in four children are bullied but pointed out that those who bully have much in common with their victims.

"Both the bullied child and the frequent bully have an increased risk of depression, lower academic achievement and both are more likely to have suicidal thoughts."

He said bullying must be addressed. "Reducing bullying is one of the most important and achievable ways to lessen mental health impacts for children and adolescents."

Mr James said many parents may not be aware that they can talk directly to the school pastoral care team when they are struggling to cope with issues affecting their children.

"The chaplain's primary concern is the emotional welfare of the student". We run a variety of programs that work proactively to build students' self-esteem and strengthen their resilience."

"The chaplain provides a safe place for all students - irrespective of background or belief - to confidentially discuss their fears and is an avenue of referral to other care professionals."

He said chaplains have walked with many students through their dark hours and helped them overcome the effects of bullying.

Frontline News: Spring 2012
Friday, 26 October 2012

Frontline News: Spring 2012Frontline News is a quarterly publication of SU QLD with news and stories about school chaplaincy across the state.

Frontline News: Spring 2012

In this issue:

  • GJI tees off with $21,000 for chappies
  • Spin Off and support your chappy
  • Schoolies with no regrets
  • Give a gift of hope this Christmas
  • From the CEO to you
  • Shedding light on Chappy Steve
Parliament Says Chaplains Are Here To Stay
Thursday, 28 June 2012

SU QLD CEO, Peter James with School Chaplain Andrea Eadie.

The federal parliament's swift action last night in passing legislation to secure the school chaplaincy program is a clear sign of its widespread support, said SU QLD's incoming CEO, Peter James.

"The government acted immediately after the High Court's decision and through herculean effort has safeguarded the important pastoral care work of chaplains," he said. "It was an extraordinary effort in an impossible timeframe and we are very grateful".

"The overwhelming support across parliament over the last week has been a huge encouragement to our chaplains, who put heart and soul into serving young people in schools," he said.

Mr James says the legislation, passed through the Senate without amendment last night, will ensure school chaplaincy can continue uninterrupted.

"Now we have certainty that there will still be a supportive, listening ear for kids in the schoolyard, and that's what matters."

Australia rallying to support school chaplaincy
Friday, 22 June 2012

SU QLD's Incoming CEO, Peter James at the High Court Press Conference on Wednesday

Scripture Union Queensland (SU QLD) has thanked both the Federal Government and Opposition for their immediate and emphatic support of school chaplaincy, after Wednesday's High Court decision.

Incoming CEO Peter James said the ruling that the current Federal Government funding model was unconstitutional has produced a massive outpouring of support for school chaplaincy from across the nation.

"Chaplains provide such an important role to so many school communities, and while the court's decision is a speed bump, it is also an opportunity for the public to understand more about chaplaincy," he explained.

Attorney General Nicola Roxon, Education Minister Peter Garrett, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Opposition Education Spokesperson Christopher Pyne are among a host of MPs from both sides of parliament that have voiced their support for the National School Chaplaincy Program and their determination to resolve the funding issue quickly.

However Mr James pointed to the groundswell of public support as the most pleasing result of the decision.

"People are calling talkback radio sharing stories of how their kids have been helped by their local 'chappy' and many are making the point that they are not religious themselves."

"This is a vote of confidence in the professionalism of our chaplains who focus on the welfare of all children and youth irrespective of background or beliefs."

Mr James said some people still believe that chaplains are involved in religious education but this is not correct. "The Federal Government's guidelines are crystal clear about that.

"Those that have seen the results of chaplaincy first-hand, really understand and appreciate their support role," he said.

Mr James said all chaplains were encouraged by the commitment of the Federal Government and Opposition to work together and also by the support of State Government MPs including Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.

"We now need the political process to happen quickly so we can settle any uncertainty."

Federal Government urged to protect school chaplaincy funding after High Court ruling
Wednesday, 20 June 2012

SU QLD's Incoming CEO, Peter James with School Chaplain, Andrea Eadie at our High Court Press Conference.

Queensland's largest employing authority for school chaplains will ask the Federal Government to act quickly to ensure funding for school chaplains is protected.

The High Court of Australia today ruled the Federal Government's direct funding model is not valid. The Court left open the option for the Government to continue funding either under new legislation or a grant of funds to the states and territories.

SU QLD Incoming CEO Peter James said the decision meant that the great work chaplains do across the nation will continue as long as the Government acts swiftly to ensure the funding continues.

He said, although the historical funding model does not work, the court unanimously held there is no problem of "church - state" separation from chaplaincy and that other funding models are possible.

"Chaplains provide an important child and youth welfare role. This is recognised by the school principals and school communities who have chosen to have a 'chappy'," he said.

"This decision means that for the vital work of chaplains to continue, we need a new funding model. We will be working with the Federal Government to ensure that happens."

Mr James said that over 2000 school communities across Australia have chaplains and many will lose their chaplains if a new federal funding model is not put in place.

"Chaplaincy enjoys bipartisan political support and widespread community endorsement; therefore we are confident in a speedy outcome."

Mr James believes that there has been some misunderstanding of the role of chaplains.

"Chaplaincy is about being there to celebrate the good and to support kids during the bad. It is not about propagating religious dogma. It's about building resilience and treating all students with respect and dignity, and working with other caring professionals to build a strong network of support for students."

He explained that chaplains help all children and youth, irrespective of their background or beliefs, and particularly those kids who are marginalised or struggling.

"It is vital that we protect chaplaincy. SU QLD will immediately engage with the Federal Government to ensure that funding continues quickly."

More school chaplains for regional and remote Queensland
Thursday, 24 May 2012

May 20-27 this year was both State Education Week and Chappy Week, so it is no surprise that the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) chose this week to announce funding for nearly 250 new chaplaincy positions throughout state schools in Queensland.

After extensive consultation and review, today's announcement follows on from the Federal Government's commitment of September last year to fund up to a thousand new chaplaincy and student welfare worker positions nationally in 2012.

246 Queensland state schools have been allocated funding, with a heavy emphasis on regional and remote Queensland communities.

Many remote communities in Central and North Queensland have been allocated funding to provide new school chaplains for two days a week, impacting areas from the Cape to the Granite Belt.

School principal at The Hall State School in Rockhampton, Mrs Lindy-lou Brown, applied for school chaplaincy funding in late 2011.

"My experience has been that students relate to school chaplains in a different way from teachers and this is just what some students require," she said.

"A school chaplain will enable the school to provide a different level of support for our students, and they will be an invaluable member of our Student Support Team," Mrs Brown said.

SU QLD, the nation's largest school chaplaincy provider, will be providing chaplaincy services for more than 200 of these new schools, and SU QLD's incoming CEO, Peter James, believes the high take-up of the program reflects a very long-established trust and faith in the chaplaincy program in this state.

"We've had chaplains working in our state schools for more than 20 years," he said, "and community support for this program has never been higher."

This, he said, was evidenced by the 98% retention of school chaplains moving into 2012, despite the new secular welfare worker option, as well as the 85,000 statements of support SU QLD received last year in response to a High Court challenge launched by Toowoomba resident, Ron Williams.

"Overwhelmingly, Queenslanders love having a chaplain in their school," Mr James said. "Over 200 new chaplains will make a tremendous difference in our schools, and our young people are going to be better off because of this decision."

Mr James said SU QLD have already begun recruiting and training chaplains for these positions, and hopes to begin filling these roles when the new funding becomes available in early July.

Celebrating our Schools the Chappy Way
Monday, 21 May 2012

This week is all about celebrating our schools, and those dedicated and caring professionals who work within school walls, whether they are teachers, principals, counsellors or chaplains.

This year, for the first time, State Education Week and 'Chappy Week' are being celebrated at the same time.

Chappy Week is an annual event coordinated locally at each of the 600 schools employing a chaplain, to recognise and support the incredible work of chaplains in schools.

"It's great for our Chappies to have this chance to celebrate," said Tobin Hanna, Chaplaincy Field Director with SU QLD. "Our chaplains deal with a lot of issues, big and small, and it can often feel like a pretty thankless task, but Chappy Week is always a great reminder of just how valued their presence is in the schoolyard."

School chaplaincy has been operating in Queensland schools for over 20 years, and chaplaincy numbers almost tripled five years ago following the offer of Federal funding for the National School Chaplaincy Program by John Howard.

Today, 500 school chaplains are working in over 600 schools around Queensland, with huge public support.

"We found it incredibly encouraging that over the summer nearly every school with a chaplain on staff chose to retain their chaplain in 2012, even with a broadening of options announced in September last year," said SU QLD's incoming CEO, Peter James.

"More than 98 per cent of schools with an SU QLD chaplain elected to keep their chappy after consulting with their community and their P&C committee," he said.

Many chaplains are teaming up with local businesses, including various McDonalds and Coffee Club franchises, to run special events and fundraisers throughout the week.

For more details on Chappy Week events in your area, visit http://www.chappyweek.org.au/

Young people need community champions to help them “Imagine, Create and Inspire”
Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The theme of National Youth Week this year is "Imagine, Create, Inspire" and as one of Queensland's largest children and youth organisations, SU QLD helps young people do just that.

Connecting with 326,000 Queensland young people each year, through camping programs and school based activities, volunteers and staff help inspire young people to discover their talents and develop a more positive outlook on life.

Peter James, incoming CEO of SU QLD, said "We believe in the creative potential of young people."

SU QLD runs a week-long camp dedicated to unlocking and nurturing creative talent in students from grades 8 to 12. Called SMADD, for Song, Music, Art, Drama and Dance, the camps have been running for over two decades.

Camp Director, Deborah Runham, who has been involved with SMADD for over 19 years, said "I love those moments when campers discover they can write their own songs, or draw, or sculpt. It's amazing seeing those young people discover a hidden talent and run with it... It's brilliant!"

"Our SMADD director first attended as a student camper many years ago," said Peter, "and now helps other young people develop their creative gifts. National Youth Week is a great opportunity to remind all of us that as we champion young people, we can help them imagine, create and inspire."

National Youth Week continues until 22 April.

Schools Choose Chaplaincy!
Monday, 26 March 2012

As you may know, the Federal Government broadened the existing School Chaplaincy program in September last year. The new scheme, re-named the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program, now gives schools the option to choose either a non-faith based welfare worker or a chaplain. The great news is schools have shown their continued support for chaplaincy!

Ninety-eight per cent of Queensland schools currently employing an SU QLD chaplain have chosen to retain their chaplain - someone who can help students, whether or not they have a faith background, to work through difficult life questions and problems. This is a clear validation of the unique contribution chaplains make in our schools and, importantly, means that services can continue within our schools without interruption.

Peter James, CEO of SU QLD, isn't surprised by the high level of support for the program. "The School Chaplaincy program has proven itself time and again over more than 20 years in state schools," he says, "and principals, staff and the school community have nailed their colours to the mast to support their chappy because they value the amazing contribution these dedicated people make to their school, often with very little reward or recognition."

Thank you for standing with us in recent months as we worked hard to ensure that children would continue to receive the help they so desperately need from a school chaplain. Your invaluable support has made all the difference!

Norton Rose Stands by SU QLD
Monday, 26 March 2012

For more than 10 years, Norton Rose Australia has acted on behalf of SU QLD in a range of legal matters, everything from building approvals to, most recently, defending the cause and value of School Chaplaincy in the High Court of Australia.

Their support has been invaluable,” says incoming CEO of SU QLD, Peter James. “When the High Court challenge came about, we approached Norton Rose for their counsel and they took the case with both hands. They have worked incredibly hard and been very generous in their support.

The High Court case has certainly been an interesting one,” said Christine Small, Partner with Norton Rose Australia. “There were a lot of complex legal issues raised, which we needed to grapple with.” So why has Norton Rose stood by SU QLD for the last decade?

We’ve always been very supportive of SU QLD’s School Chaplaincy program, and the proven benefits it has on Queensland youth struggling with family or personal problems they can’t or don’t wish to share with parents, teachers or friends,” she said.

So on behalf of those thousands of students across Australia who rely on their school chaplain to be there for them, thank you, Norton Rose, for standing with us. And thank you to our incredibly valuable supporters who contributed to our defence. We greatly appreciated your gifts and statements of support.

School Chaplain Helps the Women of Tomorrow
Friday, 23 March 2012

On International Women’s Day, SU QLD School Chaplain Debbie Dodds gave an interview on Vision FM about the value of investing into young girls now to create strong women for the future.

Vision FM interviews Debby Dodds on International Women's Day 2012

The Next Wave of Chaplaincy
Friday, 16 March 2012

SU QLD's Incoming CEO, Peter James

With Federal funding offered for up to 1,000 new chaplaincy positions across Australia, SU QLD is at the beginning of an exciting new journey. “What we’re looking at here is the biggest period of growth for this organisation since the government first announced chaplaincy funding back in 2007,” says incoming CEO, Peter James.

Over the next 12 months, we hope to place between 100 and 150 new school chaplains in Queensland schools. Those chaplains have the potential to impact up to 100,000 new students!

SU QLD has already begun the search for these new chaplains and, while there’s a long way to go, training and accreditation is underway right now for a new wave of chaplaincy candidates seeking to attain their Diploma in Youth Work through SU Training.

If you would like information on gaining accreditation in Youth Work through SU QLD Training, call 1300 478 753 or visit training.suqld.org.au

Australian woman exemplifies International Women’s Day theme
Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Breanna Himstedt and her chappy, Debby Dodds, at the 2009 Frontline Appeal Dinner

While the theme for the 2012 International Women’s Day is Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures, one Australian woman has dedicated the last eight years of her life to that very purpose.

Debbie Dodds has been a primary school chaplain in Toowoomba since 2004, and spends a large proportion of her time connecting with girls, providing them with support and care, and linking them with opportunities in the wider community.

Debbie said that one of her great motivations is to see young girls who have experienced disadvantage begin to believe in themselves, and be connected to opportunities to express their gifts and talents.

To know that my chaplaincy role enables me to make a long-term difference in the lives of young girls is incredibly fulfilling. It’s individually rewarding for the girls as they begin to flourish and ultimately it’s rewarding for the wider community when everyone has the opportunity to contribute. Girls can enrich our world in so many ways,” said Debbie.

One of those girls is young indigenous student, Bree Himstedt. As Bree’s primary school chaplain, Debbie provided her with support for five years, beginning when she and her siblings went to live with their grandmother due to wider family difficulties.

Debbie provided practical support such as food assistance, and also helped connect Bree with professional counselling. This was in addition to the care and comfort, spiritual support and pastoral care which Debbie provided Bree during school hours.

The relationship has outlasted Bree’s time at Primary School and the two continue to connect. Debbie’s ongoing encouragement and community networks have given Bree the opportunity to develop her love of dance. She now choreographs for Kiyua Performing Arts group in Toowoomba and hopes to attend an Arts college in Brisbane after High School.

As a woman, and as a chaplain working with girls, I think the 2012 theme for International Women’s Day is a powerful reminder of the opportunity I have every day as a chaplain to inspire and support girls,” said Debbie.

Peter James, incoming CEO of SU QLD, the nation’s largest employing authority for chaplains, said contributions by women like Debbie is one of the reasons that there is overwhelming public support for school chaplaincy, including from school principals and parents.

One of the reasons that SU QLD saw a chaplaincy retention rate of 98%, even when schools were given the option of a secular welfare worker, is because chaplains like Debbie make a clear difference in the lives of students,” said Mr James.

Two Generations of Frontline Fighters
Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Wei-Loong Chen and his father, Dr CK Chen

The Chen family began their involvement with SU over 30 years ago when the family lived and worked in Singapore. We met with Dr CK Chen and his son, Wei-Loong, to talk about why chaplaincy is so significant to both generations of the family.

My wife did a lot of advisory work on a committee level with SU in Singapore, from 1982 to 1990,” CK says, “and it was she who initiated our first attendance at a Frontline Dinner. She was the one who phoned up and asked, ‘What can we do?’

Since their first Frontline Dinner in 2000, the Chens have faithfully attended every year. Wei-Loong, Special Counsel with a Brisbane-based law firm, didn’t fully appreciate the need for chaplaincy support until he attended the dinner with his parents.

I moved here from Singapore with my family when I was 13,” Wei-Loong says. “I came from a background where I assumed schools just naturally came with a chaplain, someone kids could talk to. It was only upon attending the Frontline Dinners that I realised it’s not a given, and that’s why I started getting involved.

Hearing the stories from the chaplains and students just reinforces that commitment. I’ve worked with kids, and I’ve seen the difference an encouraging word or just five minutes sitting down and listening can make in a child’s life.

Children are the most important assets in our lives,” CK agrees. “We, as a family, feel that we must do something for the children of Queensland.

There are many ways that you, or perhaps your business, can get behind the work of SU QLD. One way, of course, is by hosting a table at this year’s annual Frontline Dinner. “Do it just once and you’ll be hooked!” says CK, and his son agrees.

It’s an immensely rewarding experience to know that my contribution is going towards something that’s making a real difference,” Wei-Loong said. “Why do I keep supporting chaplaincy? Because it works.

If you’d like to know how you or your business can partner with SU QLD in providing encouragement, support and hope to young Queenslanders, contact our Relationships Manager, John Scott, on 0414 474 745.

Christmas comes early for chaplains
Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Schools were given until December 9 to re-sign their chaplain for the new year, and we can now confirm that 98 per cent of our chaplains will remain in their schools through 2012 and beyond. This is a fantastic Christmas gift for our 500 chappies as they head off for their well-deserved school holiday break.

We are now anticipating a decision from the High Court in late January or February, but we’re already in the process of recruiting up to 150 new chaplains set to start in schools next year as a result of increased Federal funding.

Thank you so much for standing with SU QLD in this vital work, and we will continue to update you on the High Court in 2012 as word comes to hand.

Frontline Newsletter: Spring 2011
Monday, 10 October 2011

Frontline News is a quarterly publication of SU QLD with news and stories about school chaplaincy across the state.

Frontline News 2011

Chaplaincy the preferred option of school communities
Wednesday, 7 September 2011

School Chaplain Melina Windolf with students at Moorooka State School

Tim Mander, the CEO of SU QLD, the largest employing authority of school chaplains in Australia, is confident that the majority of schools will continue to opt for a school chaplain despite the inclusion of a secular pastoral worker option announced under the revised National School Chaplaincy Program.

Chaplains provide a distinct and unique service which includes pastoral care and acts as a spiritual resource for those students who voluntarily choose to access it. This contribution has been welcomed by school communities across the country, evidenced by over 75,000 statements of support our office has received in recent months.

Mr Mander has also welcomed the new clarification on qualifications, saying that SU QLD had previously endorsed these recommendations and that SU QLD’s minimum standards already exceed that of the Federal Government.

It is our hope that any new employing authorities wishing to deliver a secular option in pastoral support will uphold the high standards of governance, management, training and supervision already in place within the existing chaplaincy authorities,” Mr Mander said.

Chaplains perform a variety of roles within schools, helping students deal with issues such as peer pressure, bullying and family breakdown, and refer students to caring professional services when appropriate.

Mr Mander said that SU QLD looks forward to the full details of the new program in coming days, and is ready to offer further chaplaincy services to many more school communities.

SU QLD expects to be liaising closely with school principals and communities over coming months to meet the demand of supplying new chaplains, particularly in rural, remote and disadvantaged localities.

Darren Lewis is Queensland Father of the Year
Thursday, 1 September 2011

Darren Lewis with his wife Melissa, his three sons Isaac, 14, Joseph, 11, and Theo, Tim Mander, CEO of SU QLD and Jeff Thompson of Major Sponsor, Smith & Sons.

The founder of ‘Fathering Adventures’ in Townsville, Mr Darren Lewis, was today named Queensland Father of the Year.

The Townsville resident and father of four boys aged between 17 and eight has helped hundred of fathers across the state with his widely recognised fatherhood program since 2008, as well as being a regular speaker at community groups, conferences and on the radio.

‘Fathering Adventures’ is an adventure-based social enterprise designed to reconnect and strengthen the bond between fathers and children.

Mr Lewis was surprised and thrilled to receive the award.

It’s surreal – I honestly didn’t expect to win with so many worthy dads here today,” he said.

Just being nominated for this meant the world to me, and I still can’t really believe this has happened.

Five other fathers were in the running for the award, including a long-serving paramedic and a former UN Peacekeeper.

Mr Clive Bird was among six others who nominated Mr Lewis for the award.

He is a wonderful father to his boys and a great leader and inspiration to fathers generally. I believe that I am a better father because of the influence of this man,” Mr Bird said.

Mr Lewis’s four sons Brandon, 17, Isaac, 14, Joseph, 11, and Theo, eight, all play a role in running the organisation.

Nominations for the Queensland Father of the Year Award were received across six different regions around the state.

The award recognises fathers who have made an outstanding contribution to their family and community.

The overall Queensland Father of the Year winner was announced at a special presentation luncheon in Brisbane this afternoon.

Darren and his family have won a five night holiday package with Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove.

The Queensland Father of the Year Award has been hosted by Scripture Union Queensland for the last three years, and was this year sponsored by Smith & Sons.

Tim Mander, CEO of SU Qld, said “The role of fathers in today’s society is often undervalued. SU Qld is thrilled to be able to help recognise such a great father, a man who has made a real difference in his family and his community.

Gold Coast & Logan Father of the Year Recognised
Thursday, 25 August 2011

Gold Coast & Logan Father of the Year Stephen Pasfield with his wife Peta and his two daughters Torah and Stephanie.

Father of six children and two step-children and former Navy Communications Technician, Stephen Pasfield, was awarded Gold Coast & Logan Father of the Year at Alexander Clark Park in Logan yesterday.

The Logan resident served in the Navy on the HMAS Duchess for seven years, and twice escorted HMAS Sydney in and out of Vietnam.

During the time of Cyclone Tracey, he was stationed in Darwin.

Mr Pasfield was nominated by his daughter Stephanie, 17, who feels blessed to have such an amazing dad.

My dad wasn’t just a good role model to his kids, but whenever we had our friends over, he’d always be like a second dad to them as well,” said Stephanie.

My dad is not perfect, but I love him and his flaws and wouldn’t ask for him to be any other way,” she said.

Mr Pasfield was completely surprised to find out he had won the award, and even thought that it may have been a hoax.

When I got the call, I thought it was some new telemarketing scheme – it took me a minute to realise this was the real thing,” he said.

It’s an incredible feeling – just to have been nominated would have been more than enough for me,” he said.

Nominations for the Queensland Father of the Year Award were received across six different regions around the state.

The overall Queensland Father of the Year winner will be announced at a special presentation luncheon in Brisbane on Thursday, 1st September 2011.

The award has been hosted by Scripture Union Queensland for the last three years and recognises fathers who have made an outstanding contribution to their family and community.

Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay Father of the Year Recognised
Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Roger Lehmann, pictured with wife Fiona and children Kyle, Eric, Tayla and Ashlee, has just been announced as the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay Father of the Year.

Co-founder of the Lomani Au Children’s Home in Fiji, Roger Lehmann, was yesterday named Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay Father of the Year.

Mr Lehmann and his wife Fiona started work on the Lomani Au Children’s Home after a visit to Fiji in 2004, and expect to begin accepting children from Social Welfare in September this year.

As well as his international work, Mr Lehmann’s company, Gainspare Developments, has sent more than 60 local young people on life-changing trips to serve other communities since 2007 through a local sponsorship program.

The Bargara resident is the father of four children aged between 17 and three, two of them adopted from the Philippines.

He and his wife are the Bundaberg Area Contacts for Inter-Country Adoption, and he believes every child deserves a loving family.

All children are a gift from God – for some the journey home just takes a little longer,” he said.

Mrs Lehmann said he never expected to receive such an award.

Roger is completely speechless, and is still in quite a bit of shock about this,” she said.

Nominations for the Queensland Father of the Year Award were received across six different regions around the state.

The overall Queensland Father of the Year winner will be announced at a special presentation luncheon in Brisbane on Thursday, 1st September 2011.

The award recognises fathers who have made an outstanding contribution to their family and community.

The Queensland Father of the Year Award has been hosted by Scripture Union Queensland for the last three years.

South-West Queensland Father of the Year
Wednesday, 24 August 2011

South-west Queensland Father of the Year, Adam Kitching

Father of three girls and former UN Peacekeeper and army medic, Adam Kitching, was yesterday named the South-West Queensland Father of the Year.

The Esk resident served in the army for 23 years and was deployed in Malaysia, Rwanda, Bouganville and East Timor.

He witnessed the horrors of the Rwandan Genocide as a medic, treating the sick, wounded and tortured victims of the war, but also had the joy of helping deliver over a dozen babies in field hospitals.

He has three daughters, Susara (19), Tia (15) and Avalon (13) and it was Susara who nominated him for the award.

Dad is our family backbone and he understands each of his daughters… He is an amazing man who has overcome so many inner demons just so he can be the best daddy in the world,” she said.

Like many veterans of the Rwandan Genocide, Mr Kitching struggled to cope with his army life and his long absences from home and retired in 2005 after being diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

He was deeply humbled to receive the award, and said it was a complete surprise.

Even being nominated, and knowing my daughter thinks this highly of me, was enough,” he said.

Nominations for the Queensland Father of the Year Award were received across six different regions around the state.

The overall Queensland Father of the Year winner will be announced at a special presentation luncheon in Brisbane on Thursday, 1st September 2011.

The award recognises fathers who have made an outstanding contribution to their family and community.

The Queensland Father of the Year Award has been hosted by Scripture Union Queensland for the last three years.

North-West Qld Father of the Year Recognised
Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Darren Lewis and his family at their Townsville home. Photo by Townsville Bulletin.

The founder of ‘Fathering Adventures’ in Townsville, Mr Darren Lewis, was last week named North-West Queensland Father of the Year.

The Townsville resident and father of four boys aged between 17 and eight has been helping fathers across the state with his widely recognised fatherhood program since 2008, as well as being a regular speaker at community groups, conferences and on the radio.

‘Fathering Adventures’ is an adventure-based social enterprise designed to reconnect and strengthen the bond between fathers and children.

Mr Lewis was surprised and very pleased to receive the award.

Although I’ve never been one to seek after rewards or awards, to receive acknowledgement and recognition for a role that I believe in more than any other has been such a thrill,” he said.

Mr Clive Bird was among six others who nominated Mr Lewis for the award.

“He is a wonderful father to his boys and a great leader and inspiration to fathers generally. I believe that I am a better father because of the influence of this man,” Mr Bird said.

Mr Lewis’s four sons Brandon, 17, Isaac, 14, Joseph, 11, and Theo, 8, all play a role in running the organisation.

Nominations for the Queensland Father of the Year Award were received across six different regions around the state.

The overall Queensland Father of the Year winner will be announced at a special presentation luncheon in Brisbane on Thursday, 1st September 2011.

The award recognises fathers who have made an outstanding contribution to their family and community.

The Queensland Father of the Year Award has been hosted by Scripture Union Queensland for the last three years.

Central Queensland Father of the Year Recognised
Monday, 22 August 2011

Central Queensland Father of the Year Cheyenne Edwards and his family

Cheyenne Edwards, who lost everything during the January floods, was today awarded ‘Central Queensland Father of the Year’ at Theodore State School.

The Theodore resident and father of four children aged between 23 and nine has faced a series of family health issues and was one of the last to leave Theodore after the town was inundated, staying behind to help others save their homes even after his was lost.

Since then, Mr Edwards has been working several jobs to rebuild his home as well as caring for his mother whilst his father is dealing with cancer.

He was nominated for the award by his daughter Ilish.

He never seemed to complain and even though he was worn out he battled on to help many others and make sure everyone in town was safe,” said Ilish.

He goes to work very early in the morning and is home late at night, just so he can keep things going and make us feel comfortable.

Mr Edwards said he felt honoured to receive the award.

I know a lot of people have been in similar situations after the floods and it was very humbling that my family nominated me,” he said.

Nominations for the Queensland Father of the Year Award were received across six different regions around the state.

The overall Queensland Father of the Year winner will be announced at a special presentation luncheon in Brisbane on Thursday, 1st September 2011.

The award recognises fathers who have made an outstanding contribution to their family and community.

The Queensland Father of the Year Award has been hosted by Scripture Union Queensland for the last three years.

Brisbane Father of the Year Recognised
Friday, 19 August 2011

Brisbane Father of the Year winner Steven Richardson with wife Caroline and five of their children.

Long-serving paramedic with the Queensland Ambulance Service, Steven Richardson, was awarded ‘Brisbane Father of the Year’ at the Northgate Ambulance Station yesterday.

The Banyo resident and father of six children aged between 26 and two years old is a regular speaker at the local kindergarten and primary school.

During the January floods he left his family for days at a time to assist the struggling community of Condamine.

Mr Richardson was nominated for the award by his wife Caroline and daughter Faith (10) who believe they are the most fortunate family in Brisbane.

He gets so much satisfaction and at times heartache from his work, but this only makes him a stronger person and a more loving father, as he knows the value of life,” said Caroline.

Mr Richardson said he felt humbled to receive the award.

There are many more dads out there who also do such a great job, and I feel very lucky to have a family and friends who think so highly of me,” he said.

Nominations for the Queensland Father of the Year Award were received across six different regions around the state.

The overall Queensland Father of the Year winner will be announced at a special presentation luncheon in Brisbane on Thursday, 1st September 2011.

The award recognises fathers who have made an outstanding contribution to their family and community.

The Queensland Father of the Year Award has been hosted by Scripture Union Queensland for the last three years.

High Court decision in chaplaincy case could affect roads, autism and more
Friday, 12 August 2011

After three days of legal arguments, the High Court challenge to chaplaincy has concluded its hearings, with the Court reserving its judgement until later in the year. What follows is months of legal limbo around whether the Federal government has the power to fund different programs, and if the plaintiff wins, it may make its effects felt far beyond chaplaincy.

Essentially, the case revolves around whether the Federal Government can spend or provide benefits where it does not interfere with the state’s power, or, as the barrister for plaintiff Ron Williams argued, that all such spending will require an Act of Federal Parliament. If the High Court agrees with him, it would have wide reaching effects on programs as diverse as roads and autism spending.

With respect to whether chaplaincy involves a breach of the “religious test” prohibition, while the Court is still yet to formally rule, it does not appear that they consider this argument has merit, advising that there was no need to provide a defense on this point.

Tim Mander, CEO of Scripture Union Queensland, the nation’s largest employing authority for chaplains, said that the court is not making a judgement on the value of chaplaincy, and there’s widespread community response asking for school chaplaincy to continue, even from people who are not religious.

Mr Mander said, “We’re highly encouraged by the support we’re receiving from people of all walks of life who recognise that chaplains help students of all backgrounds.

Until we hear the Court’s decision, we’ll continue supporting chaplains across hundreds of schools who are caring for students in real and practical ways,” said Mr Mander.

Complex nature of chaplaincy case on display
Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Today shows the complex constitutional nature of the High Court challenge to school chaplaincy.

Two states, and the commonwealth, support the current school chaplaincy funding model. Four states, while supporting chaplaincy itself, have lined up to argue against the federal government providing funds directly to chaplaincy providers. Instead, they appear supportive of grants being made to states, meaning school chaplaincy could be funded through state governments using federal money.

Interestingly, not a single state agrees with plaintiff, Mr Williams, that chaplaincy contravenes the “religious test” prohibition in the constitution.

Tim Mander, CEO of Scripture Union Qld, the nation’s largest employing authority for chaplains, said the unusual situation highlights the complexity of the case in which chaplaincy has been caught up.

Mr Mander said, “While we know that state governments, educators, parents and the public are in favor of school chaplaincy, the High Court is being asked to consider the power of the Federal Government to fund this program directly, rather than doing so through the states.

It’s the constitutional matter of state and federal government powers that has many of the state governments appearing to support the plaintiff, even though they strongly support the chaplaincy program,” said Mr Mander.

I’ve had principals and educators contacting me again today affirming the importance of school chaplains, with one writing that ‘her work with our young people is invaluable in terms of companioning them through difficult situations’. The nearly 70,000 signed statements of support we’ve received from the public show strong grassroots support,” said Mr Mander.

The hearing continues today and Thursday, with a decision expected later this year. Mr Mander is in Canberra for the duration of the hearing.

Community support given to chaplains, Constitutional support now being tested
Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Today marks the first day of the High Court challenge to the validity of the National School Chaplaincy Program. While this case is testing the constitutional basis for the program, public support for school chaplaincy is gaining momentum with close to 70,000 statements of support now received by chaplaincy representatives.

Tim Mander, CEO of SU QLD, the nation’s largest employing authority for chaplains, is in Canberra for the three day hearing, which is largely a matter of constitutional law.

Mr Mander said that the technicalities of the legal arguments are proceeding as anticipated, and that there is large public goodwill for having school chaplaincy as widely available as possible.

Mr Mander said, “Even this week, I’ve received correspondence from school principals praising the work of chaplains in schools. They don’t want to lose their chaplain because they know that chaplains benefit the wellbeing of their school communities.”

A parent who made contact with SU QLD this week said, “We are not religious… yet my children both really appreciated having the Chaplains there. They are people who listen without judgement and more importantly… they do it all with an open mind and no pressure.”

“The feedback we’re getting from the wider community demonstrates that chaplains are there to serve the whole school community and are doing so appropriately,” said Mr Mander.

This challenge may also affect other federal funding programs, not just school chaplaincy, so is being watched widely by various parties. The hearing finishes Thursday with a decision expected later this year.

For inquiries, or to arrange interviews with Mr Mander, please contact
Ruth Limkin
0412 649 197 / ruthl@suqld.org.au

500 chaplains court support
Thursday, 4 August 2011

Kieran Campbell | 4th August 2011
Sunshine Coast Daily

School chaplains gather at Alexandra Park Conference Centre at Alexandra Headland to protest plans to cut their funding. Tim Mander, CEO of Scripture Union Queensland, in focus.

THESE 500 school chaplains have a message for Australia’s politicians: the children need us.

They will deliver 30,000 statements of support to Canberra next week ahead of the High Court challenge to the chaplaincy program funding. Sunshine Coast schools have about 50 chaplains.

Chaplaincy employer Scripture Union CEO Tim Mander said the future of school chaplains needed to be assured.

“The chaplains have proven to have made a valuable contribution to the community,” Mr Mander said. “The schools want them, the principals want them and they are having a positive impact on our kids.”

Toowoomba father Ron Williams will next week take on the Federal Government in the High Court over its funding of school chaplains, arguing it is unconstitutional.

If Mr Williams is successful, Mr Mander said it would be “a major blow” to school chaplaincy.

He said chaplain numbers would be halved overnight.

A final decision on the High Court challenge is not expected until the end of the year or early next year.

“Our message is not to the High Court judges … our message is to the politicians, to say that no matter what the result of this challenge is, find a way to make sure we keep school chaplains serving our kids in schools.”

Two-thirds of school chaplaincy funding comes from the Federal Government, with the rest raised by local communities, Mr Mander said.

“The High Court will not rule on whether chaplains can be in schools,” he said.

“They’re going to rule on whether the Federal Government can fund them.

“We’re basically saying … our schools and our kids deserve this network of help.”

Mr Mander said he expected to have up to 50,000 statements of support by the end of the week.

He said chaplains reflected what was happening in their schools.

“Teachers and principals and parents come up to them and say ‘what’s going on?’,” Mr Mander said. “There is a sense of bewilderment in the community and frustration.

“We’re confident that there will be a positive outcome eventually.”

The 500 Queensland chaplains are on the Sunshine Coast for a week-long professional development conference.

Gatton grows in harmony
Thursday, 14 April 2011

12th April 2011
Gatton, Lockyer & Brisbane Valley Star

Students from Gatton State School enjoy Harmony Day

ON March 23, Gatton State School celebrated Harmony Day with a Poster Competition, a ‘Gallery of Harmony’, a special parade and other activities.

The School Chaplain, Ms Olivia and Year 7 teacher, Mrs Zimmerman, initiated the planning for Harmony Day and students in the upper grades took up opportunities to share about their culture and form a planning team.

The special parade featured three short performances by some Torres Straight Islander dancers, student speeches sharing their culture and heritages and awarding certificates for the Poster Competition.

Ms Olivia shared her insights into the importance of the 2011 Harmony Day catch phrase which was ‘Everyone Belongs’.

“Gatton State School has many students from different cultures and we love that about our school,” she said.

“As this school’s ‘Chappy’, peace and harmony are important to me.

“I am very committed to ensuring everyone feels accepted and cared for at this school, and I see Harmony Day is a way to encourage this.”

She said Harmony Day is about celebrating and remembering that everyone belongs.

“It’s a time we can celebrate our different cultures, backgrounds and the friendships we share.”

Gatton State School looks forward to next year’s Harmony Day and in the meantime endeavours to keep remembering that “everyone belongs”.

http://www.gattonstar.com.au/story/2011/04/12/gatton-grows-in-harmony/

CTA Easter TV special looks at the flood recovery in Queensland
Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Christian Today Australia
Saturday, 9 April 2011

David Jutsum (SU Regional Manager), Karl Faase and Chaplains Pauline Sutton and Brad Lerch

Christian Television Australia’s Easter TV special, to be screened nationally at midday on Good Friday (April 22nd) on the Seven Network and 3.30pm Saturday on the Australian Christian Channel, looks at how one organisation is helping with the flood recovery in South East Queensland.

There was a wonderful and immediate response from Australians to help those affected by the devastating floods,” said CTA CEO and the program’s Producer/Director, Martin Johnson. “What we wanted to do in this program is look at the on-going support after the event given by Scripture Union Queensland (SUQLD), a non-profit youth and children’s organisation, through their school chaplains,” he said.

Program host Karl Faase travelled to Ipswich, Toowoomba and towns in the Lockyer Valley such as Grantham, Helidon and Hatton Vale. “We start in Toowoomba with David Jutsum whose footage of the flooding in Easts Creek, just outside his office window, was seen around the world. After uploading it to Youtube, so his friends in Brisbane could see what was happening, it went ‘viral’ and it has had almost seven million ‘hits’ on Youtube,” Karl said.

What David didn’t know at the time was that in his role as South East Queensland regional manager for SU QLD, he would be heavily involved with his team of 75 chaplains in providing support to schools and the community as they dealt with the flood aftermath,” he said.

The program looks at four chaplains in particular, Nyree Mannion at Grantham, Brad Lerch and Barry Hatton in the Lockyer Valley and Lisa Demedio at Jamboree Heights.

Each of the chaplains work with their school principal and other school support staff to provide on-going pastoral care to students in need,” said Karl. “After the floods, the chaplains discovered that some students were having difficulty coming to terms with what had happened. In some cases students had not only lost their home and all their belongings, they had also lost family members,” Karl said.

The Mayor of Ipswich Paul Pisasale, who is interviewed in the program, is very supportive of the work of school chaplains. He recognises that as mayor, he can only do so much. “It’s that spiritual guidance, of dealing with the emotions that I can’t do but the chaplains can,” said Mayor Pisasale. “In the school [the chaplains] have been able to engage with the young kids, get them to talk and that tells me they’re being looked after emotionally,” he added.

Hope in the Summer of Sorrow was produced by Olive Tree Media with support from SU QLD for Christian Television Australia.

The program also offers viewers a free copy of Nicky Gumbel’s book ‘Why Easter?’ and will air at midday on Good Friday (April 22nd) on the Seven Network and at 3.30pm, Saturday (23rd) on the Australian Christian Channel.

A radio version of the program will also be available for use free of charge by Christian radio networks. This will be available from Friday, April 15th, 2011 at www.christiantelevision.org.au/radio

http://au.christiantoday.com/article/cta-easter-tv-special-looks-at-the-flood-recovery-in-queensland/10734.htm

House built to raise hopes of troubled teenagers
Friday, 25 March 2011

25 Mar 11 @ 11:48am by BERNIE DOWLING
Pine Rivers Press

CHARITY HOUSE: Builder Peter Luckmann outside the Murrumba Downs House of Hope to be auctioned for charity.

THE House of Hope in Murrumba Downs could raise $200,000 to help troubled teenagers and live up to its name when it goes under the hammer next month.

Mitchelton builder Peter Luckmann is the man full of hope as his Path Development Company continues to support the Connect program run by Scripture Union Queensland.

As a building company, we see a lot of damaged kids take out their anger against properties,” Mr Luckmann said.

We started the Build the Future program four years ago and it supports the Connect program.

The builder said the program was pro-active and designed to prevent the behaviour seen in an internet video that showed a bullied child fighting back to the point of possibly causing serious injury to the bully.

The video of Sydney student Casey Heynes fighting back against Ritchard Gale sparked a national debate on bullying.

A Connect spokesman said the program supported young people at risk of stress, anxiety, suicide, self-harm, bullying, abuse, neglect or disengaging from school life.

Each school term culminates in an adventure-based camp, designed to challenge the students to put into practice the communication and team skills they have worked through in school-based sessions,” a Connect spokesman said.

The Murrumba Downs House of Hope is supported by building suppliers and donations by tradies employed on the project.

The house at 7 Reserve Court will be auctioned at 1.30pm on April 9.

An open house will be held tomorrow between 1pm and 2pm and next Saturday at the same time. Phone Ray White Murrumba Downs principal Jason Smith on 0400389116.

http://pine-rivers-press.whereilive.com.au/news/story/house-built-to-raise-hopes-of-troubled-teenagers/

Students ride for chaplaincy
Friday, 25 March 2011

18th March 2011
Gladstone Observer
Jen Tybell

South Gladstone State School students Kurt Sunderland, Jessy Edwards (school captain), Rochelle Alley, Zoe Alley and school chaplain Paul Featherstone prepare for Chaplaincy Junior Bike Challenge happening in Gladstone on Saturday. Photo Jen Tybell/The Observer

PRIMARY school students from across the Gladstone region will take to their bikes tomorrow to raise funds for school chaplaincy.

Up to 40 young cyclists from Years Four to Seven have signed up for this year’s Chaplaincy Junior Bike Challenge, an annual event organised by the Gladstone Schools Chaplaincy Committee.

A fundraising target of about $4000 has been set for the challenge which will take place at the Gladstone Showgrounds. The students will get their bike pedals pumping, cycling for a period of three hours to raise funds for the worthy cause.

School chaplain Paul Featherstone said riders could set their own goal of how many kilometres they thought they could ride in this time and challenge themselves to reach that goal.

An array of prizes donated by local businesses is up for grabs including the highest fundraiser and best decorated helmet.

Registrations must be in by today. To register phone Paul Featherstone on 0428727728, Beth Waghorn on 0427781880 or Cathy Blake on 0407622137.

http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/story/2011/03/18/students-ride-for-school-chaplaincy-gladstone-fund/

Local MPs give State support
Wednesday, 16 March 2011

15th March 2011
The Reporter (Logan, Brisbane)

LOGAN MPs have welcomed the decision by the State Government to intervene in a High Court matter to support school chaplaincy services.

Attorney-General Paul Lukas said the constitutional validity of Queensland's school chaplaincy services were being challenged in the High Court by Ron Williams, a Toowoomba man who issued a writ on December 21, stating the funding for chaplains in schools is unconstitutional because it breached Section 116 of the Australian Constitution, which states that the "Commonwealth not legislate in respect of religion".

But Logan MPs have thrown their support behind the State Government's defence of the program.

"School chaplains are an integral part of many of our schools, playing an important role as friends and mentors to students," Ms Stone said.

State Member for Woodridge Desley Scott said chaplains were only ever adopted into schools after a principal consulted with the school's P&C and school community.

"Chaplains have been working positively with students in state schools for 20 years," she said.

State Member for Waterford Evan Moorhead said more than 500 chaplains operate in about 700 Queensland State schools.

"Chaplains are a friend to those in need and touch the lives of thousands of students each year," he said.

State Member for Logan, John Mickel has also welcomed the State Government's intervention in the case, saying the programs provide personal support to students, teachers and the broader school community.

"These non-discriminatory programs show respect for everyone, regardless of one's faith, and provide a valuable service that students really appreciate," he said.

The National School Chaplaincy Program was introduced in 2006 by former Prime Minister John Howard and won support from Prime Minister Julia Gillard, an atheist who, just before the election last year, pledged $222 million to extend the program for four years.

http://www.thereporter.com.au/story/2011/03/15/local-mps-give-state-support/

Mayor speaks for chaplains
Thursday, 10 March 2011

9th March 2011
Toowoomba Chronicle

WESTERN Downs Regional Council’s annual Mayoral Prayer Breakfast is set to raise funds for school chaplaincies in Miles and Wandoan.

The breakfast will be held at the Miles Historical Village and Museum, in Miles on Friday March 18, from 6.30am.

The guest speaker will be Gold Coast motivational best selling author and speaker Peter G James Sinclair.

Mayor Ray Brown is extending an open invitation to all residents and sectors of the community to attend the Council’s popular breakfast.

The Mayoral Prayer Breakfast has become a key annual community event on the regional event calendar and fundraising venture for local charities throughout the region each year,” Cr Brown said.

I am very confident the event this year will raise some valuable funds for the local school chaplaincies with good support from local communities and businesses.

I encourage the Miles and Wandoan communities to attend the breakfast as it promises to be a relaxed morning of light entertainment, good food and great company.

Admission is by pre-purchased ticket only. Tickets are available for $25 per person, at Miles Customer Service Centre and Miles Historical Village and Museum. Ticket includes entry to all Historical Village buildings.

For further information please contact the Miles Historical Village and Museum on 4627 1492.

http://www.thechronicle.com.au/story/2011/03/09/mayor-rallies-chaplains-toowoomba/

Radio interview with a school chaplain
Friday, 25 February 2011

A Far North Qld community radio station interviews School chaplain Tina Ruiz on the role of a chaplain in the school community.

SU Chaplain Tina Interview 1

Choi gets behind school chaplains
Tuesday, 22 February 2011

21 Feb, 2011
Bayside Bulletin & Redland Times

STATE Member for Capalaba Michael Choi came out in support of state school chaplains when he attended a fundraiser barbecue for the Birkdale South State School chaplaincy program.

Mr Choi said it was good to see community support for school chaplains in the wake of a High Court challenge (Williams vs. Commonwealth of Australia and Others) to the validity of chaplaincy in schools.

He said the Queensland Government supported school chaplaincy services and would intervene in the High Court matter to defend the school chaplaincy program.

The influence of school chaplains cannot be underestimated,” Mr Choi said.

Chaplaincy provides spiritual and emotional guidance to school communities but it’s about much more.

Regardless of a person’s religious beliefs, school chaplains are friends, mentors and positive role models to our students.

Mr Choi said 14 chaplains currently operated across state schools in Redland City.

The High Court case involves action by Ronald Williams, who issued a writ on December 21, 2010, challenging the constitutional validity of chaplaincy services provided in a Toowoomba state school.

Mr Williams, a Toowoomba resident, asserts that the Federal Government is not authorised to fund the school chaplaincy program and that the program breaches the Constitution.

http://www.baysidebulletin.com.au/news/local/news/general/choi-gets-behind-school-chaplains/2082378.aspx

Chaplain helps struggling family
Monday, 21 February 2011
More chaplains for flood-hit Qld kids
Monday, 14 February 2011

Fri Feb 11 2011 | Nine msn

Increased funding for more chaplains in Queensland's flood-affected schools is a positive move, a Christian support organisation says.

SU Queensland welcomed an announcement by federal School Education Minister Peter Garrett that funding would be provided for more chaplains.

Mr Garrett on Friday visited schools affected by the Brisbane floods and announced an additional 15 chaplains for schools that had sought more welfare support.

The federal government would also assist by increasing grants to replace flood-damaged school equipment from $500 to $2000.

SU Queensland is responsible for employing chaplains in the state and its CEO Tim Mander says it "is further evidence of the immense value chaplains bring to each state school, especially during a crisis such as a flood or cyclone."

But Mr Mander has warned there was still a cloud hanging over the future of school chaplains because of a High Court challenge.

"This High Court challenge threatens the existence of many of the 500 state school chaplains across Queensland ... and many more across Australia.

"It will have a direct impact on the care of kids in our schools."

He said SU Queensland would fight the challenge not just because of the loss of funding but because it would reduce their ability to provide care for kids in school.

Mr Garrett also released the National School Chaplaincy Program discussion paper on Friday, aimed at refining the system from 2012.

Mr Mander said he was pleased about the launch of the discussion paper because it would give Australians an opportunity to show their support for school chaplaincy.

Responses to the paper will be received until March 18.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/floods/8209761/more-chaplains-for-flood-hit-qld-kids

Extra chaplains approved for state school children
Monday, 14 February 2011

February 13, 2011
Sydney Morning Herald | Ellen Lutton

QUEENSLAND state schools in flood-affected areas have been granted extra chaplaincy services after principals contacted the state government asking for pastoral care.

School Education Minister Peter Garrett visited Kenmore State School on Friday to announce that 15 extra school chaplains would work across state schools affected by the floods. The cost would be funded by the extra $222 million that the Gillard government committed to spending on the National School Chaplaincy Program until 2014.

It is understood the extra chaplains were deployed after several school principals contacted the state and federal governments requesting further "pastoral care".

The extra chaplains have been appointed despite the threat against the program by a High Court challenge. The case has been brought by Toowoomba parent Ron Williams, who maintains that there is no place for religious chaplains at state schools. He asserts that the federal government is not authorised to fund the school chaplaincy program and that the program breaches the constitution.

Queensland Education and Training Minister Geoff Wilson, who has voiced his disapproval of the High Court challenge, said the extra service was badly needed. "Chaplains have been working positively with students in our state schools for two decades and, after the floods and cyclone, they are needed more than ever," he said.

"Chaplains are an asset to school communities. They are friends, mentors and positive role models to thousands of young people.''

Mr Wilson described the chaplains as "the Salvos of the schoolyard".

"Just like the Salvation Army representatives who work in the wider community, school chaplains provide a vital and valuable service within our schools," he said.

"Chaplains are a friend to those in need, and touch the lives of thousands of students every year. Often the driving force behind introducing chaplains into state schools is the P&C or members of the wider school community. Chaplains are only ever adopted into schools after the principal has consulted with the school's P&C and the school community."

More than 500 chaplains operate in more than 698 Queensland state schools.

Mr Wilson has been part of a wider state government push to support school chaplains.

Attorney-General Cameron Dick announced this month that he would personally intervene in the High Court matter.

Under the Commonwealth Judiciary Act 1903, State Attorneys-General with an interest in a particular High Court case can intervene with the state making representations to the High Court on the matter.

Mr Garrett was in Queensland last week to launch the National School Chaplaincy Program discussion paper, which is part of a national consultation process reflecting key issues raised by stakeholders and which considers how the program may be refined from 2012.

Responses to the discussion paper are now invited from all interested parties by March 18.

The discussion paper and information for those wishing to provide a submission are available at deewr.gov.au/schooling/nationalschoolchaplaincyprogram/Pages/home.aspx#nationalconsultation.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/extra-chaplains-approved-for-state-schoolchildren-20110212-1arhq.html

Feeding the future
Monday, 14 February 2011

Rebekah Polley | 11th February 2011
Central Queensland News

STUDENTS at Emerald State High don't just have an appetite for learning but an appetite for breakfast, which was the reason for starting the Breakie Club.

Breakie Club was started a few years ago by the school nurse when she noticed kids were coming to school without breakfast.

Chaplains then took over and were able to build relationships with the students through the program.

Emerald State High School Chaplain, Tanya Gullo, runs Breakie Club every Thursday morning for an hour, feeding students breakfast while chatting with them.

"Breakie Club's aim is to connect with students and a great way to connect to them is through free food," she said.

"It saves them from organising breakfast at home and helps with their learning by eating a good breakfast.

"The P and C funds it and we are very grateful for that.

"We do a variety every week; we serve pancakes, fruit and yoghurt, bacon and eggs and sausage sizzle.

"We mix it up to keep them coming and interested."

Tanya said the Breakie Club fed about 100 students each week with the help of volunteers from community organisations.

"It's also a way for them to be able to see the services available to them in the community like the Red Cross, Anglicare, Central Highlands Regional Council and Harvest Life Christian Church," she said.

"For the volunteers, it is a good chance - really their only chance - for them to come into the school and make connections and for students to know there are people out there to help them."

Breakie Club also works on improving students' manners and Tanya said at first, the manners were "not to a good standard and kids were unappreciative".

That problem was solved when members of the student council did a skit on school parade about showing good manners.

"Ever since then the culture's changed and their manners are better."

"Breakie Club's aim is to connect with students and a great way to connect to them is through free food."

Emerald State High School Chaplain, Tanya Gullo

http://www.cqnews.com.au/story/2011/02/11/feeding-the-future/

Schools fight to keep chaplains
Monday, 14 February 2011

12th February 2011
Bundaberg News Mail

THE listening ear of a school chaplain can sometimes make all the difference for students trying to cope with complicated personal lives.

But a case lodged in the High Court has threatened this essential service.

The claim argues that due to their religious affiliation, chaplains do not have a place in secular state schools.

Kepnock High School chaplain Teresa Ganley, known to some students as Mother Teresa, said her main role at the school was to provide support.

"You get people dealing with very serious illnesses in the family and there are an awful lot of relationship issues," she said.

The chaplain said her role was completely removed from her religion.

"I let the students know straight away that I respect their beliefs and I'm only interested in trying to help them," she said.

Kepnock High School principal Jenny Maier said Ms Ganley's role was "absolutely critical" to the school.

At Bundaberg South State School chaplains were just as essential.

The school's two chaplains, Paula Dalrymple and Annette Cousins, provide support to the students two-and-a-half days a week.

"We make ourselves available to make sure kids have enough food for lunch and to make sure they remembered their lunch," she said.

"We are also there to listen to those who might be having problems at home or are struggling at school."

Bundaberg South State School principal Christine Brittain said the chaplains have been an "absolute godsend" since they started at the school about three years ago.

Education Minister Geoff Wilson said the State Government would support school chaplains during the High Court matter.

"School chaplains are the Salvos of the schoolyard. Just like the Salvation Army representatives who work in the wider community, school chaplains provide a vital and valuable service within our schools," he said.

http://www.news-mail.com.au/story/2011/02/12/bundaberg-schools-fight-to-keep-chaplains/

Chaplain funding issue hots up
Monday, 14 February 2011

Kerri Burns-Taylor | 12th February 2011
Warwick Daily News

THE place of religion in public schools has long been a contentious issue, with arguments for and against it continually debated.

And one Toowoomba father is a step closer to ceasing government funding for chaplains in state schools on the basis it is unconstitutional for the government to legislate in respect of religion.

Father-of-six Ron Williams will plead his case to have the funding removed before the High Court in May.

Local Chaplaincy Committee chairman Reverend Jeff Baills said the removal of funding would be detrimental to the committee, which relies heavily on government funding to operate.

The committee has four chaplains placed in local schools and Rev Baills said while it would be sustainable following the cessation of government funding, reductions would certainly need to be made.

"There would be some schools where chaplains would have to be removed and that will be seen in Warwick," he said.

He said chaplains were prohibited from attempting to convert anyone to any branch of religion and said chaplains working within the local area came from a diverse religious background.

"The activities of chaplains are highly regarded by schools and families and they offer assistance with daily life issues," he said.

"They provide the extra perspective to education that is sometimes missed within the body, soul and mind matrix," he said.

And it is not only the schools Rev Baills fears will be adversely affected by the move. The police force, defence force and hospitals employ chaplains to provide support and assistance to those in need.

Former Warwick High School chaplain Kathy Payne said she was saddened to hear the case was headed to the High Court. She says chaplains make a substantial difference to the lives of students and the school community as a whole and fears the push to remove funding is financially motivated and not in the students' best interests.

"It sounds like the most significant issue for those involved is the dollars, not the children and teenagers who need support," Mrs Payne said.

"At present, I imagine chaplains are even busier than usual due to the impact of the floods and the trauma so many Queensland school children are dealing with.

"(Chaplains) would be helping to source resources and listening to and supporting young people and their families and helping to link them with community agencies that can assist them in practical ways."

Mrs Payne said chaplains acted as an effective link between the local community and the school community and fears without them there would be a substantial gap within the school system.

She said chaplains were vital to the school system and operated closely with guidance officers, administrators and teachers.

"Who else within our school system has the time and passion to do this type of work?" she asked.

http://www.warwickdailynews.com.au/story/2011/02/12/chaplain-funding-issue-hots-up-warwick/

 

Frontline Newsletter: Autumn 2011
Friday, 11 February 2011

Frontline News is a quarterly publication of SU QLD with news and stories about school chaplaincy across the state.

Frontline Newsletter Autumn 2011

More chaplains, grants for flood-hit Queensland schools
Friday, 11 February 2011

MORE chaplains will be directed to flood-affected Queensland schools at a time when the Federal Government is seeking feedback on the support program.

Federal Schools Minister Peter Garrett today visited flood-affected schools in Brisbane and announced an additional 15 chaplains for schools that had sought more welfare support.

The Federal Government would also assist by increasing grants to replace flood-damaged school equipment from $500 to $2000.

State Education Minister Geoff Wilson welcomed the funding, made available under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

"Being back at school is a big step towards normality for flood-affected students, and we want to ensure teachers have the tools they need to teach them," he said.

Mr Garrett also released the National School Chaplaincy Program discussion paper, aimed at refining the system from 2012.

Responses will be received until March 18.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/breaking-news/more-chaplains-grants-for-flood-hit-queensland-schools/story-e6freonf-1226004422628

Queensland Government takes action to support school chaplains
Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The Queensland Government will intervene in a High Court matter to support school chaplains.

Attorney-General Cameron Dick said the constitutional validity of Queensland's school chaplaincy services was being challenged in the High Court (Williams v Commonwealth of Australia and Others).

Under the Commonwealth Judiciary Act 1903, State Attorneys-General with an interest in a particular High Court case can intervene with the State making representations to the High Court on the matter.

Mr Dick said the Queensland Government supported the provision of chaplaincy services in State schools.

"School chaplains provide an important service - as friends, mentors and positive role models for thousands of young people," he said.

Minister for Education and Training Geoff Wilson said the constitutional challenge threatened the good work of school chaplains.

"Chaplains have been working positively with students in our State schools for two decades," Mr Wilson said.

"School chaplains are the Salvos of the school yard. Just like the Salvation Army representatives who work in the wider community, school chaplains provide a vital and valuable service within our schools."

"Chaplains are a friend to those in need, and touch the lives of thousands of students every year."

"Often the driving force behind introducing chaplains into State schools is the P&C or members of the wider school community."

"Chaplains are only ever adopted into schools after the principal has consulted with the school's P&C and the school community."

More than 500 chaplains operate in more than 698 Queensland State schools.

The High Court case involves action by Mr Ronald Williams, who issued a writ on 21 December 2010 challenging the constitutional validity of chaplaincy services provided in a Toowoomba State school. Mr Williams, a Toowoomba resident, asserts that the Federal Government is not authorised to fund the school chaplaincy program, and that the program breaches the Constitution.

Member for Toowoomba North Kerry Shine said he supported the government's intervention.

"School chaplaincy programs, which are optional in State schools, provide personal support to students, teachers and the broader school community," Mr Shine said.

"These non-discriminatory programs show respect for everyone, regardless of one's faith, and provide a valuable service that students really appreciate."

"I appreciate that not everyone agrees with the programs, but my impression is that they have overwhelming support in Toowoomba North State school communities."


Source: http://www.cabinet.qld.gov.au/MMS/StatementDisplaySingle.aspx?id=73550

Joint Statement:

Minister for Education and Training
The Honourable Geoff Wilson

Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
The Honourable Cameron Dick

Monday, February 07, 2011

Ceremony held for chaplains
Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Roxanne Mccarty-O’Kane | 8th February 2011
Noose News

They have sympathetic ears, caring hearts and sturdy shoulders and on Sunday, chaplains across the Noosa region reaffirmed their commitment to helping students through their worst and celebrating with them at their best.

Laurie Staples, Jo Dawson, Michelle Gameiro and Shane Westera have been helping young people in their assigned schools for a number of years.

They joined 15 other chaplains and religious education teachers at a commissioning ceremony at St Mary's Anglican Church on Sunday.

The ceremony is a tradition which promotes strength and encouragement for them to tackle their job with passion and gusto in the year ahead.

There are chaplains posted in the majority of schools in the Noosa district and a new chaplain is slated to start at Sunshine Beach Primary School in the near future. Noosa Local Chaplaincy Committee chairman Warren Evans said the government-funded service was an important component of every school.

"Not only do we believe it is important, the school principals and the headmasters of schools of all denominations love to have a chaplain as they are not aligned to the education department and therefore can do a lot of things the education department can't do or don't have the staff to do," Mr Evans said.

"You would be amazed how many kids come to school not fed, not clothed and not washed and are pushed from pillar to post."

"Chaplains are there in a non-denominational role to assist those kids who fall through the cracks in the educational system."

The chaplaincy program, co-ordinated by Scripture Union Queensland, has enjoyed a successful two years with Federal Government assistance.

Despite their position within our community, a man from Toowoomba has brought a constitutional challenge to Australia's school chaplaincy program in the High Court because he opposes the Commonwealth funding of chaplains in state schools.

The challenge went before the High Court in Sydney on Thursday for a directions hearing.

SUQ will fight the case alongside the Federal Government.

Mr Evans said the only explanation he could think of for the challenge was the man had a "bee in his bonnet."

"He's an atheist who must have been wounded through a religious circumstance in his life," he said.

In the meantime, Noosa chaplains will continue to provide the support some have been giving our young people for almost a decade.

http://www.noosanews.com.au/story/2011/02/08/ceremony-held-for-chaplains/

Bookfest aids flood relief
Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Pine Rivers Press
31 Jan 11

PINE Rivers book lovers have the added incentive of supporting flood relief when they head to the annual Albany Creek Rotary Bookfest on February 12 and13.

Rotary past-president Frank Gyzemyter said the club would continue to support the school chaplaincy program with proceeds from the bookfest along with flood relief.

"Because it is on the weekend before Valentine's Day, we have inexpensive book gifts galore with a host of romantic novels," Mr Gyzemyter said.

For students of all ages, reference books will go out the door at $2 unless otherwise marked.

The Rotary Bookfest is on Saturday, Feb. 12 from 9am to 4pm and Sunday, Feb. 13 from 9am to 12.30pm. The venue is Albany Creek State Primary School, Albany Creek Rd. Phone 07 3325 1074.

http://pine-rivers-press.whereilive.com.au/news/story/bookfest-aids-flood-relief/
Helping kids with the deeper issues
Monday, 31 January 2011

Ellen Lutton
Sydney Morning Herald & Brisbane Times

January 30, 2011

ANDREA EADIE was working as a school teacher when one of her students experienced a family crisis.

“I’d kept him in because he hadn’t done his algebra homework,” she said. ”All of a sudden he asked me if I had ever known anyone who committed suicide.

”It turned out his uncle had killed himself the night before.”

Ms Eadie said that was when she realised she wanted to help children with the deeper issues. She quit teaching, qualified as a counsellor and signed up to be a school chaplain. She now works three days a week at Patricks Road State School, in Brisbane’s northern suburbs, as a chaplain – and she said she takes her position of trust incredibly seriously.

“We abide by a code of conduct as anyone else working in a school does,” she said. ”We certainly don’t take it upon ourselves to force religion on anyone.

“I have three children myself. My guiding question is always, ‘What would I want a person of another faith to say to my child?’ I always try to answer any questions in a respectful way.”

Ms Eadie said that, despite being qualified as a counsellor, counselling students was outside the boundary of a school chaplain. Instead, she runs courses, which the children can choose to attend, that deal with friendship, death and divorce.

She said the flood crisis was a perfect example of how school chaplains help their school community.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/helping-kids-with-the-deeper-issues-20110129-1a94m.html

Tim Mander’s High Court Challenge interview on Radio 4BC
Friday, 28 January 2011

A current High Court challenge threatens the existence of most of the 500 SU QLD school chaplains across the state, and far more across Australia. Tim Mander was interviewed on Brisbane’s Radio 4BC on Thursday 27th January.

Tim Mander's High Court Challenge Interview on Radio 4BC

Tim Mander on Radio National Breakfast
Thursday, 27 January 2011

A current High Court challenge threatens the existence of many of the 500 SU QLD school chaplains across the state. Tim Mander was interviewed on Radio National’s Breakfast program this week.

Tim Mander on Radio National Breakfast

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