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You’re supporting Chappy Josh’s Work in Cowboys Country

SU Chaplains are called to serve in many places of need, from primary and high schools to special schools, hospitals and even a University Thanks to the support of…

SU Chaplains are called to serve in many places of need, from primary and high schools to special schools, hospitals and even a University

Thanks to the support of friends like you, Chappy Josh is now supporting students at a boarding facility set up by the National Rugby League’s North Queensland Cowboys, through the Cowboys Community Foundation.

NRL Cowboys House provides safe, supported accommodation for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from remote communities, enabling them to access quality secondary education opportunities in Townsville.

For Josh, who is also Indigenous, it marks a return to chaplaincy, having previously served from 2007 to 2017. Late last year, Josh felt God was calling him back.

“I saw a real need in Townsville. There’s a crisis happening up here with the young people in our community, and I felt a tug from God to get back into this work again,” Josh says.

At NRL Cowboys House, Josh supports students facing the challenges of homesickness, while also providing life coaching and spiritual guidance.

“Spirituality is the number one thing I talk to kids about at the House,” Josh says.

“Indigenous young people are more open to understanding there is a spiritual world. Culturally, and in their family cultures, spirituality is very real. They come to me with questions and issues. I encourage and help them understand the issues they are facing.”

Josh runs a range of initiatives to support his students’ mental and spiritual wellbeing, including the ‘Ice Cream Program’.

“I take 2-4 boys down to get ice cream. We chat along the way and talk about some really important stuff,” Josh says.

“One time I was talking to some young guys about focusing on setting their lives up well. A lot of Indigenous young people start families at a very young age, which can cause problems for them later in life.

“Just encouraging them to focus on setting themselves up well for a good career, and not jumping into relationships too quickly, it’s often a lot better for them – and helps them provide well for their families in the future.”

Leigh Allender, Director of Boarding at NRL Cowboys House, values the vital role Josh plays.

“Josh works closely with our psychologists and wellbeing team – he’s built some really strong relationships with the students,” Leigh says.

“He’s a big part of our social and emotional wellbeing program for Year 7 and 8 students, and he organises music lessons for some of the students who are not as sport-inclined as their peers. Since his arrival he’s made a real difference.

“We work to provide a full holistic support service to our students, and Josh is a key part of that.”

Thank you for supporting the spiritual wellbeing of our young people in schools and communities throughout Queensland. You are a blessing! To keep this work going, visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 15/11/2021

Stories of Hope from across SU Australia

Something SUPA is happening in WA Over the past 13 years more than 300 children have had the opportunity to learn about Jesus and grow in their faith through…

Something SUPA is happening in WA

Over the past 13 years more than 300 children have had the opportunity to learn about Jesus and grow in their faith through Scripture Union Primary Age (SUPA) Club in Singleton, Western Australia.

It’s a ministry that’s been made possible thanks to amazing team leaders like Anna-Marie.

Recalling the highlights of her time in the program, Anna-Marie says her team members were constantly in awe over the deep questions children raised to further understand God and His love for them.

Students who took part in SUPA Club learned how to pray, which led to some heartwarming moments for the team leaders as well, recalls Anna-Marie.

“We were thrilled to observe the development of their prayers into natural conversations with God, often expressing heartfelt prayers of care, concern, and thankfulness.”

Anna-Marie says one of the most rewarding aspects of the program has been to see ex-SUPA kids, who are now in secondary school, travelling back to visit the club just to check in.

What a blessing it is to know that passionate, servant-hearted team leaders like Anna-Marie are serving on the frontlines of local communities throughout Australia, showing the love of Jesus to the next generation.

Thank you also for all you do in supporting the work of SU to make these stories possible!

Top-end kids enjoy a SUPA day out!

SUPA ministries are not just happening out west. Just under 40 children had a SUPA day out at the second Rural SUPA Kids Day held at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Howard Springs, Northern Territory.

The event is run in partnership with four rural churches (Fred’s Pass Anglican, Living Water Uniting, Baptist Bush Church and Cornerstone Christian Fellowship) and Scripture Union Australia.

All children who attended on the day not only had a great time singing songs, dabbling in drama and playing games, they also learned about the ‘lost’ parables from Luke 15, says Rural SUPA Kids Day organiser, Ox Roberts.

“The key lessons we looked at with the kids was that no matter what happens in our lives, God treasures each and every one of us, and He will also seek us out when we are lost,” says Ox.

After a fun day filled with lots of other enjoyable activities, each child took home their very own ‘treasure chest’ to remind them that God loves and values them.

Summa fun in south Oz!

Summer is on the horizon and for many of our teams around Australia that means one thing – Summer Missions!

Our team in South Australia is excited to build on last year’s inaugural SUPA Summa Fun Family Mission, held in the historical town of Mannum, located 84 kilometres east of Adelaide.

Eighteen amazing volunteers led last summer’s ‘festival-style’ event, where children and families enjoyed plenty of water-based activities, while learning about God through songs, stories and engaging with the Bible over four days.

On the final night, the team invited local families to join their Celebration Event, explains volunteer Evie Dow.

“That night we saw a clever magic show that incorporated an explanation of the Gospel that was engaging for both children and adults,” says Evie.

Team Leader, Joy Marks, says SUPA Summa Fun was a great time of building relationships with children and families and ‘breaking in’ local volunteers who hadn’t been part of a Family Mission before.

“Major highlights for us were the connections built with families and the connections across the churches in Mannum. It was exciting to see so many families and friends come for the [final] night,” says Joy.

Like SU camps and missions all over Australia, SUPA Summa Fun would not have been possible without their big-hearted volunteers. Joy says she’s grateful for these passionate, selfless individuals who gave of their time to bless local families in Mannum.

“Mostly we are thankful to God for who He is and for what He is doing among us,” says Joy.

Community in action at Coolamatong Victoria

At the heart of all SU ministries around Australia you’ll find a common thread that links them – fun, faith and community.

That was once again on full display at this year’s SU Young Adults Camp, held at our Camp Coolamatong site in Victoria.

Young Adults Camp Director, Kyle Cozens, says the week-long camp is one of the best he’s ever been part of.

“There aren’t many spaces like this for young adults. We had one young adult camper who hasn’t been a part of a church. After camp, he’s looking for ways to connect with other young adults throughout the year. He’s even considering an internship at Coolamatong!” says Kyle.

In this age where many of our young people are constantly ‘plugged in’ to the digital world, ministries like Young Adults Camp are encouraging more of our young people to plug into a faith community, and of course our Creator – all while enjoying His beautiful creation.

Posted: 2/11/2021

Love Thy Neighbour – Let’s CHAT! (Yassin’s Story)

The schoolyard can be a daunting place for any young person adjusting to a new school. For Yassin, who move to Australia from Afghanistan two years ago, stepping into…

The schoolyard can be a daunting place for any young person adjusting to a new school. For Yassin, who move to Australia from Afghanistan two years ago, stepping into Ipswich State High for the first time felt like landing on a different planet.

Thanks to the generous support of friends like you, Yassin was able to join the CHAT Program – an SU initiative aimed at equipping young people with skills and confidence to listen, engage, and live well with people who are different to them.

CHAT, which stands for ‘Cultural Hearing Asking Telling’, is an eight-week program inspired by the story of the Good Samaritan and Jesus’ call to love our neighbours.

For Yassin, the program has been a blessing in helping him transition to life in his new country.

WATCH YASSIN’S STORY HERE

“When I first came to Australia, I couldn’t make friends. Slowly I started to spend time with my classmates and made a circle of friends around me, but the differences between schools here and in the Middle East are major,” says Yassin.

“My favourite part of the CHAT program was learning about other cultures. I came to realise people have different ways of greeting one another.”

The CHAT program opened Yassin’s eyes to a new way of approaching Aussie culture, but it also holds value for Australian-born young people too.

“I would recommend the CHAT program because once you understand that there are different people in the world, you get a different perspective on life. CHAT is a shortcut to understanding other cultures,” says Yassin.

CHAT founder, Tim Fawssett, has a rich history in working with people from all walks of life, and he recognises the importance of communication and diversity – especially in 2021.

“We live in a society that’s increasingly divided, not just culturally, but politically and socially too. Our young people are the future, and it’s incredibly exciting to invest in them as they’re generally more aware of diversity,” says Tim.

“My hope is that CHAT will give our young people skills and confidence in relating to others who are different to them. I want to see young people like Yassin leave the program feeling affirmed in their culture, and confident to embrace all Australia has to offer them.”

Your support helps make SU initiatives like CHAT possible.

You are helping a generation of young Australians learn to love their neighbour and to live well with those who are different to them, while remaining faithful to their own beliefs. To learn more, head to chatproject.org.au

Posted: 7/10/2021

Why I Run – with Tim Fawssett

“Bridge to Brisbane is an iconic event and chaplaincy is an iconic ministry. They go together!”   Meet Tim. Father, champion of culture, and lover of good coffee. Tim…

“Bridge to Brisbane is an iconic event and chaplaincy is an iconic ministry. They go together!”

 

Meet Tim. Father, champion of culture, and lover of good coffee.

Tim joined #TeamChappy back in 2018, and has been a loyal team-member since. His background with running is a love-hate relationship – but he enjoys the physical and mental benefits that come from getting outside. Plus, it’s a great way to raise awareness for the work he does in SU’s Cross-Cultural space.

“I’m proud to be running to support SU. I see it as more than just chaplaincy – it’s a wrap-around ministry involving churches, training and camps, who all intersect to benefit the children, young people and families in our communities,” says Tim.

“Chaplaincy is an incredibly good cause, but I don’t think it’s often well understood. It’s a positive and proactive service which isn’t showy or trying to achieve more than it promises. It complements the other roles in the school environment, and I think Bridge to Brisbane is a great opportunity to highlight that.”

Tim has made many fond memories during his time as a runner, but he’s found there’s something special about being part of the collective that keeps him coming back year after year.

“My favourite part of the day is the breakfast get-together after the race – I really enjoy the camaraderie in #TeamChappy. Every year there’s a real sense of accomplishment and enjoyment of having finished something together. I remember not wanting to leave!”

“Bridge to Brisbane isn’t an elite-athlete event. There’s all body sizes there and you get to encourage one another. I’m grateful for my family and friends who support (or humour) my running journey. We have a lot of laughs over the agony we put ourselves through training on cold winter nights – but when you get to race day, it’s worth it.”

Through his work in the Cross-Cultural space, Tim has many opportunities to share about the good work he’s doing, and he encourages other runners to not be shy in getting out there and fundraising.

“When you’re passionate about something, it’s a chance to invite people in your world to join you by supporting you financially or sharing a Facebook post. You’d be surprised by how many people will jump on board when you share your story.”

“Bridge to Brisbane is an iconic event, and chaplaincy is an iconic ministry. They go together!”

Well done Tim, and thank you for your commitment to raising funds and awareness for our young people and their families. We are cheering you on as you start training for the 10km event. See you bright and early on November 7!

Posted: 5/10/2021

You’re connecting the disconnected (through sports!)

Earlier this year hundreds of young campers across the state gathered to enjoy another Scripture Union Easter holiday camping season. This year we reached some new communities for the…

Earlier this year hundreds of young campers across the state gathered to enjoy another Scripture Union Easter holiday camping season.

This year we reached some new communities for the first time! And you’re a big reason why this was possible. Thank you!

For parents in the communities of Macleay and Russell Islands (and surrounding islands), their children are often excluded from opportunities to participate in events and activities that their mainland counterparts may take for granted.

It’s something Tracey Hodge, chaplain at MacLeay Island and Russell Island State Schools is all too aware of.

It’s why she was so excited to take a ferry-load of children across for this year’s sports camp.

“The kids on the islands always miss out on events and camps like this, and I know the frustrations felt by the parents. Because there are extra things to consider, like organising a ferry and buses, you do have to think a bit outside the square, or else it just won’t happen,” says Chappy Tracey.

“As a chaplain, you do this job because you care. You see that these young people have been given to you by God to love, and camp was a great witness to this. This year, we had about 11 kids from the islands come along to Easter camp and they had a great time.”

Two sisters, 9-year-old Paige and 8-year-old Summah, were sent along by their Grandma, and they had a blast.

“Camp was amazing. I loved dancing, and playing tennis and basketball. It was the best camp I’ve ever been on, and the first. People were nice and the leaders were amazing,” says Paige.

“We played silly games and I’d love to go again. We were given our very own Bibles too,” says Summah.

Thanks to the support of bighearted friends like you, children like Summah and Paige were able to enjoy their first ever SU Camp, where they had the time of their lives while learning more about Jesus and his love for all young people.

Your support means everyone is included, no matter where they come from.

To find out more about upcoming SU Camps in your region, head to suqld.org.au/camps

Posted: 21/09/2021

When the ‘shore’ is far away, let’s lift our eyes to Jesus

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 When I…

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

When I am overwhelmed, tired, or feeling unwell, I often find it difficult to focus on anything apart from my discomfort. My perspective narrows to the issue I’m facing. I begin to sink beneath waves of depression and anxiety.

In Matthew 14, Jesus sends the disciples ahead of him in a boat to the other side of the lake. It is night; the disciples are ‘a considerable distance from land’ and their boat is ‘buffeted by the waves’ as the winds blow against it.

Shortly before dawn, Jesus approached the disciples walking on the water. But the disciples, focused on their discomfort, do not immediately recognise him. When Jesus tells Peter to come to him on the water, Peter is so distracted by his immediate surroundings and the howling wind that he begins to sink beneath the waves.

It’s only when Peter lifts his eyes to Jesus, cries out and grasps his outstretched hand that Peter’s perspective widens again, and he recognises his security in Jesus.

The ‘shore’ of 2021 is now ‘a considerable distance’ behind us. We may feel ‘buffeted’ by waves of responsibility, ill health, or frustrated plans.

Let’s avoid the temptation to focus on our discomfort and instead, lift our eyes to Jesus: the Maker of heaven and earth.

Sharon Armstrong
North Pine Anglican Church
Youth & Families Ministry Coordinator

Posted: 7/09/2021

Primary school children don’t have problems – do they?

When I started as a school chaplain, I remember a parent said to me: “primary school children don’t have problems – do they?” It’s easy to have this idyllic…

When I started as a school chaplain, I remember a parent said to me: “primary school children don’t have problems – do they?”

It’s easy to have this idyllic picture of childhood – that kids don’t have problems – but it isn’t true.

They’re rarely responsible, but are always vulnerable to what’s going on around them.

I spoke with one girl recently who I’ve been journeying with for some time.

Her mum is an ice addict. She makes promises to her daughter all the time – promises she rarely keeps.

Whether it’s saying she’ll pick her up from school, or spend time with her over the weekend, she rarely comes through for her little girl. Every week I see her little heart break.

When she first came to school, she was determined not to talk to anyone. All she knew was that people hurt people.

I started walking laps of the school with her, talking and getting to know her. I wanted her to know that even though no one could ever take her mum’s place, there are other people in the world that – if she let them – would love her and give her some of what she needed.

With much encouragement, she joined a sporting group and started making friends. She still carries the pain of her past, but she’s going so much better now.

Another young boy came to me to talk about his mum, who was struggling with alcohol.

He told me of times he found his mum passed out on the floor, times where he was terrified of what she was going to do to him and his little brother – who he had to protect.

He tells me how great his mum is when she is not drunk. The terror this boy and his little brother live through is horrific.

Primary school children deal with the same problems adults do. The difference is they can’t defend themselves. They need people to fight for them – to stand by their side.

That’s why I’m so thankful to be part of a chaplaincy service – and I call it a service because it’s much more than just the chappy.

It’s the financial support that’s needed to fund a program like Seasons of Growth, which brings together children going through grief – giving them tools to make it through that season of their life.

It’s the volunteers who show up time and again to cook pancakes at chappy brekky, make coffees for parents and teachers, or provide one-on-one mentoring to students in need.

This support – your support – enables me to do what I do. To stand with these vulnerable children.

There’s no doubt that primary school children face problems. Thank you for being a part of the solution.

If you’d like to donate to support school chaplaincy across Queensland, head to suqld.org.au/donate

 

This article was written by a primary school chaplain…

Posted: 7/09/2021

Your support for the ‘one’ is changing the lives of many

In a crowd, it’s easy to miss that little person sitting alone, who doesn’t feel they have a place. Because of your support for school chaplaincy, this isn’t the…

In a crowd, it’s easy to miss that little person sitting alone, who doesn’t feel they have a place. Because of your support for school chaplaincy, this isn’t the case at Cairns West State School.

Working at a school with a high percentage of students from backgrounds that include complex intergenerational trauma, Chappy Billie is always looking out for ‘the one’. And some days, there are lots of ‘ones’.

On a daily basis, she’s surrounded by families who have survived the Ebola virus, plague, genocide and the effects of disease and malnutrition in refugee camps.* The need is huge.

Chappy Billie never knows what awaits her when she walks through the school gates each morning.

But thanks to the flexibility of her role, she is able to stop, turn around, and change direction to meet those needs.

Deputy Principal of Student Engagement, Cathy Nixon is passionate about student wellbeing, and is grateful for the extra layer of support chaplaincy brings.

“Everyone at Cairns West adores Chappy Billie. She’s so flexible and almost feels like an aunty or big sister to the staff team,” says Deputy Cathy.

“We are privileged at Cairns West to get a number of students newly arrived to Australia, coming directly from refugee camps in Asia and Africa. This is an area we are very blessed to have Chappy Billie working in, because we know that the impact of our chappies can be life changing.”

“If you can imagine, these students are arriving at a strange school, in a strange culture, and Chappy Billie plays a really important role. She runs school lunchtime programs involving art and therapeutic conversation, and the popularity is incredible.”

A chaplain has the unique opportunity to nurture and grow a community, all simply by caring for ‘the one’.

Chappy Billie has a heart for young people, and many years of experience in pastoral care. She’s especially grateful for her faith, which sustains her, and for her training, which gives her confidence to support young people from traumatic backgrounds.

“When a young person comes from a background of trauma, they are often hypervigilant and can behave unpredictably,” explains Chappy Billie.

“Sometimes a young person might have an unexpected reaction to something, and our training gives us language to communicate to our colleagues or other workers about what is going on.”

“Training makes you confident in what you’re doing. You have an understanding around discretion and code of practice, and how to properly support people.”

If you or someone you know has an interest in pursuing a career in youth work or chaplaincy, find out how you can be equipped through Scripture Union Queensland RTO 30548.

Visit training.suqld.org.au to find out more.

*Extract from a series to highlight the impact of Indigenous Education in Queensland schools

Posted: 30/08/2021

The annual Redlands Prayer Breakfast is coming up!

The Redlands Mayoral Prayer Breakfast in southeast Brisbane has been an annual tradition for the past 18 years.  The idea came from the late Pastor Glen Gray who first…

The Redlands Mayoral Prayer Breakfast in southeast Brisbane has been an annual tradition for the past 18 years. 

The idea came from the late Pastor Glen Gray who first approached the local council with a proposal to raise funds to support local young people through school chaplaincy. Since then, it’s been a calendar-staple for leaders in the community. 

The late Pastor Glen had a vision for this breakfast, and it’s turned into a community tradition.

“This event came about because someone had a vision and advocated for it,” says Neale Collier, chaplain at Cleveland District State High School. 

“It started off quite small, maybe 80 people or so, but it’s grown to nearly 300. The basic structure is still the same; students and pastors take turns reading out prayers focused on blessing the country, city and local families.”

“It’s also an opportunity for leaders to work together. A chance for them to discuss how they can make things better for our young people. It’s really valuable and very unifying.” 

“The Christian community values this event and we get a lot of support from Christian businesses as well as churches.”

It’s an event that Chappy Neale is incredibly grateful to be a part of, and he’s grateful for the doors of community connections that are opened. 

“I’ve been involved since it first started. The organising committee wanted schools to be represented, so a number of chaplains were contacted,” said Chappy Neale.

“This event is an incredible endorsement for chaplains who work in the bridge area between churches, community groups and schools. Chaplains operate in the community, bringing the heart of Christ into situations that people are facing in the ‘marketplace.’”

“First and foremost this is a prayer breakfast, but from the funds raised every chaplaincy committee gets about $1,000 to invest in the young people in their community.” 

Australian olympic champion and 2019’s guest-speaker, Duncan Armstrong.

 

If you are interested in kick-starting a prayer breakfast in your own region, Chappy Neale has some tips:

  1. Connect with like-minded people. Ask around and find out someone who might have the ear of council or your local Mayor. Discuss the benefits of running something like this and remember, prayer is part of Australia’s national heritage and there are many people in society who really value this covering.
  2. Source a broad group of churches to be involved. Ask around and contact Local Chaplaincy Committees to help you get your event up and running. Many hands make light work.
  3. Be well organised. Preparation is really important, especially if you have the local council involved. Make sure your advertising and communications are clear and prep early.

The next Redland’s Mayor Prayer Breakfast is coming up on August 27. More details can be found here

 

Posted: 17/08/2021

You’re transforming lives like Rhys’s

Thousands of young people have been powerfully impacted over the years thanks to your support for school chaplaincy. But in the sea of transformed lives, the true beauty is…

Thousands of young people have been powerfully impacted over the years thanks to your support for school chaplaincy. But in the sea of transformed lives, the true beauty is in the individual stories you’re making possible.

Meet Rhys and Chappy Nikola.

The year was 2011 – Chappy Nikola’s first year on the job. It was also the year Rhys and his family moved from Sydney to North Queensland. Rhys was a shy 8-year-old with autism, uncertain about engaging with his peers, and Chappy Nikola was finding her feet in the whirlwind of her first year of chaplaincy.

As the duo got to know one another, Chappy Nikola quickly spotted Rhys’s potential. She could see how he could flourish if he had the right people to champion him.

“I remember when I first met Rhys he was a very quiet little soul. But what really stood out to me was his attitude in the programs or whatever we were doing.

“He didn’t let fear stop him and I admired that,” says Chappy Nikola.

“He’s always had a desire for building community. Watching his journey of growth, and the way he’s learnt to take initiative for running groups, and has grown in self-confidence, has been amazing.”

The catalyst for Rhys came in Year 9, when he took part in a Homeless Sleep-Out as part of an A2B program Chappy Nikola was running.

“There were about 12 of us who slept outside overnight, using only cardboard boxes. We were raising awareness for the homeless in our community, and this experience really challenged how we see the world. It makes you thankful for your bed!” says Rhys.

“I’m grateful for programs like this which taught me to engage with new people. Being someone with autism , it can be tricky to socialise with others, and Chappy has really helped [me] in that area.”

Nikola watched in amazement as Rhys came back from that sleep-out experience full of passion to see change in their community.

“When Rhys came back from that, he was so on fire for homelessness. He was leading the change for how we could implement things in the school. He wanted to share that empathy of how it is to sleep rough,” says Chappy Nikola.

“I remember how transforming that experience was for him.

Programs are a wonderful way for our young people to grow and develop their social and emotional skills.

“Programs add another dimension to the schooling experience. They help our young people recognise that they have a lot they can contribute to their community.

“It draws out the hidden gifts and talents that might not always come out academically,” says Chappy Nikola.

After knowing Chappy Nikola for a decade, Rhys has transformed from a shy observer to a leader, community activist, and a well-loved member of his cohort.

Rhys’s growth is a beautiful reflection of what can happen when a trusted and trained chaplain, who understands that each child is made in the image of a loving God, is there to support our young people.

Thank you for the many stories of transformation you are making possible.

If you’d like to bring out the hidden potential inside other young people like Rhys, head to suqld.org.au/donate today.

Posted: 17/08/2021

What is Family Space?

Family Space is a resource-based website that’s all about nurturing the family unit.

Our mission is to equip, empower and nurture family households and church families across Australia.

Family Space seeks to support children, teenagers, parents and churches through practical resources, activities and expert advice.

We’re all about nurturing healthy families and creating healthy communities.

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