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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

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 August 29!

Posted: 23/08/2021

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

Ormond Porter: an SU legacy

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:6 Our actions today have the potential to cause ripples that will one day become a…

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path.”

Proverbs 3:6 Our actions today have the potential to cause ripples that will one day become a mighty wave in the future.

When Scripture Union founder, Josiah Spiers, wrote God is Love in the sand of a Welsh beach in the late 1800s, little did he know the ripple he started would create a wave that covers more than 120 nations today, impacting millions of young lives.

When Ormond Porter became the first SU QLD employee in 1944, little did he know he would carry on the legacy of Josiah that now reaches more than 900 local communities throughout Queensland, impacting more than 400,000 children and young people every year.

These humble pioneers are joined by scores of other passionate, dedicated men and women around the world, who have sacrificed much so the next generation could experience God’s love and good news.

Ormond’s daughter Sue shares her reflections on her father’s life and legacy.

“The guiding force of my father’s life was his belief in Jesus,” says Sue.

“I think Dad would be very humbled to see where Scripture Union Queensland is now.”

Ormond was born in Sydney on September 27, 1917 and passed away in Brisbane on March 2, 2010.

Today he is known as one of the “Founding Fathers” of SU QLD. Seventy years ago, he was simply known as a young man with a passion to share the good news of Christ with young people.

Ormond grew up camping and exploring the Australian bush, and it was these adventures that inspired him to run camps and events with groups of young people.

He knew his calling was to work with young people, and could see how important community and shared experiences were. These bush camps changed the lives of many throughout the late 1940s and beyond.

This legacy lives on today in the Adventure Camps and at-risk programs run by school chaplains.

Today, standing on the shoulders of those who have come before, we are grateful to those early trailblazers like Ormond Porter.

Our ministries may look different today to meet today’s needs, but the same heartbeat that inspired Ormond remains.

It’s this same heartbeat that we carry in this next chapter as we partner with our Scripture Union family across the nation to see each child, young person and family experience God’s love and good news.

This next chapter may look like only a ripple today, but let’s get excited about the waves we will make for our future generations as we continue to acknowledge God and allow Him to direct our path.

If you wish to leave a lasting legacy through a bequest to Scripture Union, contact Jon Thorne at bequests@su.org.au today.

Posted: 11/08/2021

Stories of Hope from across Scripture Union Australia

On 1 June 2021, @SU QLD merged with other Scripture Unions across the country to form a united nation-wide movement – Scripture Union Australia. Scripture Union has a long history…

On 1 June 2021, @SU QLD merged with other Scripture Unions across the country to form a united nation-wide movement – Scripture Union Australia.

Scripture Union has a long history of missions in Australia – and we’d loved seeing how God is using SU right around the country to bring hope and good news to children and families in need.

Here are a few stories from across Australia – we hope you enjoy them.

 

Fun and faith in Ningaloo WA

Scripture Union’s Young Adults Ningaloo (YAN) discipleship camp in Western Australia offers young people aged 18-25 an opportunity to enjoy God’s creation, grow in their faith, and have a lot of fun too.

More than 80 young people took part in last summer’s camp, and expectations are high for another great event this summer. YAN director, Matt McNulty, says he continues to be blessed by the impact the camp has on young people each year.

“We have a lot of fun, but we also have some great discussions through morning devotions, Hope Groups and the Gospel Circle each evening.

“You can really see God at work, challenging hearts and we had some great in-depth conversations,” say Matt.

In addition to a jam-packed spiritual program, YAN campers enjoy a range of fun activities from snorkelling, fishing, mountain biking and more around the Ningaloo Reef and surrounding area. Like many Scripture Union events and ministries throughout Australia, YAN is yet another great example of the local community investing into the lives of local young people.

“We’re grateful for the support of organisations like WEC International, but also a number of local churches from all over Perth. For many of our campers, they’re now considering going on to Bible College, internships and mission work. It’s really exciting,” Matt says.

 

An answer to prayer in Tassie

Scripture Union’s annual East Devonport Holiday Happening camp in Tasmania was a special one this year – not just because it was the 30th anniversary. In fact, it almost never happened.

From troubles securing a location to most of the leadership team being unavailable, one hurdle after another threatened to derail this much-loved ministry event. Despite these setbacks, the team felt encouraged to push ahead and trust God – and God answered.

With the deadline looming the pieces fell into place, recalls James Todd, SU Field Development Manager for North West Tasmania.

“The venue next door to where we usually hold the event became available. Then we received an unexpected phone call from a local youth director to say they had a whole team of young people ready to go.

“Some of the local churches also volunteered to provide morning tea. Praise God!” says James.

In total 48 primary children attended and enjoyed a range of activities, games, craft, drama and music. This year’s theme was ‘Champion’s Challenge’, using sporting themes to tell the story of Jesus based on Luke’s Gospel.

“We had a great mixture of kids coming from the local community and they all took home a range of Christian materials, along with plenty of prayers and blessings,” says James.

What a great reminder that all things are possible through Christ! Great job Team Tassie.

 

Stephanie ‘bounces’ back from adversity

When Stephanie was in Year 9, she had a nasty basketball injury that left her unable to walk up stairs, run or jump. Her road to recovery was long, but looking back, Stephanie can see God’s hand on her life.

After her injury in the 2018 Grand Final, Stephanie had to wear a brace and keep up with physio everyday. She was devastated and felt like her knee would never heal. However, God had something He wanted to teach her in this season.

In 2020, Stephanie attended Scripture Union ACT’s online Wild Wee Jasper adventure camp that was created in response to COVID. Through listening to others’ testimonies, Stephanie was encouraged by the campers and leaders.

“I thought I wasn’t really similar to that many people there, but hearing the stories really resonated with me,” says Stephanie.

“There was a camper who shared her testimony that had almost the exact same injury as me. She was doing really well in basketball but then she was injured badly and couldn’t play anymore. It was really heartbreaking for her, and there were points where she thought she might never recover.”

“Out of only 30 people on camp, it was crazy to me that the same thing happened to both of us.”

Through this experience Stephanie has grown in her faith and she’s grateful to know that God works through all situations to draw us closer to Him.

 

SU in Victoria’s walk on the wild side

WildLife is a new creation care day program run in partnership with the Scripture Union team in Victoria, A Rocha, and Interserve.

Thirty participants aged four to 80 spent a day exploring the Yea Wetlands, just over 100km north of Melbourne. WildLife Director, Ben Howes explains that the program explores how our relationship with God, ourselves, each other, and all creation is linked together.

“We spent the morning ‘ponding’ – scooping up pond water and examining the complexity of pond ecosystems – bird watching, and looking at snakes and reptiles with the team from the Yea Wetlands Discovery Center,” says Ben.

After a great morning engaging with God’s creation, the group then spent the afternoon in reflection and Biblical engagement.

“I saw people from a variety of age groups, and people from completely different stages of life, connecting together in a meaningful way. A lot of people mentioned that the conversations about our responsibility to care for creation were ones they hadn’t been able to have in church.

“Through experiences like WildLife, we realise more that discipleship is intimately linked with the way we care for creation. When we care for the planet we care for people, and vice versa – everything God has made,” says Ben.

Posted: 6/08/2021

Chappy hits the nail on the head to boost self-esteem

Low self-esteem can have a far-reaching impact on a young person’s life. It’s why Chappy Steve is passionate about giving his students at Isabella State School opportunities to excel…

Low self-esteem can have a far-reaching impact on a young person’s life. It’s why Chappy Steve is passionate about giving his students at Isabella State School opportunities to excel and thrive.

Thanks to the support of friends like you and his local community, including Mulgrave Baptist Church, Chappy Steve’s been hammering this point home for the past seven years through his woodworking program for Year 6 students at the Cairns-based primary school.

Sports-leader, Chappy helper and Year 6 graduate Henry, enjoyed his time in the woodworking program in Term 4 last year.

“We got to design our own clocks. Mine was in the shape of the Torres Strait flag – and when my older brother did the program, he made his clock in the shape of a basketball,” says Henry.

“I like that this program made me feel like I’m a part of something.”

Chappy Steve teamed up with a local woodwork teacher to deliver the program, which aimed to grow self-confidence and provide students with a valuable skill set.

“The students experience the feeling of success with this program, which they may not necessarily experience with their academic work.

“I like that this program made me feel like I’m part of something special.”

“One boy who doesn’t always have positive interactions with the staff was so proud of his clock that he was really keen to show it to the Principal and Deputy Principal,” says Chappy Steve.

“It gives these students the opportunity to learn new skills that will give them a head-start for high school woodworking subjects.”

Like all school chaplains, Steve firmly believes that each child has inherent value in God’s eyes. It’s why he ensures that each student’s success is celebrated, but there is also a clear understanding that grades and accolades are not the measure of an individual’s worth.

“Each week we start with a quick bite to eat, followed by a short inspirational message, based on the theme for that week.

“Then our local woodworking teacher, Hank and his son Mark come along to teach the students the correct way to design and build their clocks. It’s a great collaboration.”

Henry enjoyed learning about the “Golden Rule” – or as he says, “treat your mates how you want to be treated.”

Thank you for your support for our young people.

To keep this vital work going, visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 22/07/2021

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