Family Space Resources for nurturing healthy families and communities.

Light in darkness – simple yet profound

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1:4-5 Light…

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1:4-5

Light in darkness. The concept may seem simple but it’s incredibly profound.

Today we have so much access to light that the darkness seems to become inconsequential. Artificial light sources numb us to the reality of darkness. We have ended up with something called ‘light pollution’. In a similar way today’s culture tries to numb us from the reality of darkness with false sources of light. But the truth is a bit more confronting. We live in a broken world filled with darkness. Listen to the nightly news for a moment and you’re confronted with it.

The opening chapter of John’s gospel makes a remarkable statement about Jesus: “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

This statement changes everything! There is hope, there is life, there is light. True light. The Christian life isn’t about us knowing all the answers or thinking we are better than others. It should be the opposite. But we hold to that fact that we know the light, the light who gives life.

Jesus, the Light of the World, overcomes the darkness. Take heart! When you’re struggling, remember that you have the light of the world.

Your actions, though you think they are small or inconsequential, when done for the sake of Jesus, are pushing back the darkness. They are giving hope, pointing people to the light of all mankind – Jesus Christ.

Pier Franchini
Central Valley Church
Lead Pastor

 

Posted: 2/06/2021

You’re helping Lily shine

Chappy Angus loves being the school chaplain at Lee Street State Special School, where he is given the opportunity to connect with and bring encouragement into the lives of…

Chappy Angus loves being the school chaplain at Lee Street State Special School, where he is given the opportunity to connect with and bring encouragement into the lives of remarkable young people and their families.

It’s a job he feels honoured to have, and it’s easy to see why.

One Grade 11 student, Lily, became fast friends with Chappy Angus through their shared sense of humour and positive attitudes.

She is always ready to give something a try, and when she saw the advertisements for SU QLD’s 2020 SPLASHOUT Moreton Camp, she knew she wanted to go.

“We ended up having three students from Lee Street come along to SPLASHOUT, and Lily took to it like a fish to water.

“She can’t wait to go back again this year and bring some friends along,” says Chappy Angus.

“It was the first time we’ve ever had kids from Lee Street come along, which is a huge step forward.

“I’m hoping we can continue building these connections because all the young people had such a great time together.”

Lily has ADHD, Pierre-Robin sequence and hearing difficulties, but she doesn’t let these things put a dampener on her sunny attitude, and she enjoyed every moment of camp-life.

“It was my first time on camp and it was fun meeting everyone new. I liked going to new places and catching the buses. I was on Chappy Angus’ bus the whole time I was there and I get to go back again this year!” says Lily.

The inclusive nature of SPLASHOUT spills over into the work Chappy Angus does at Lee Street.

Community enriches our lives and even when things took a difficult turn for Lily and her family, Chappy’s support meant she had someone to turn to.

One day at school, Lily approached Chappy Angus during the break concerned about her mum.

She wasn’t feeling well, and Lily was worried about what could happen to her. Seeing that Lily was quite upset, Chappy Angus contacted mum to see how she was doing.

It turns out Lily’s mum had a melanoma – a type of skin cancer. They cut it out, but she’s still being watched closely.

The whole situation was really hard for Lily, but she was grateful that Chappy Angus was so understanding.

“When I went to school the next day still feeling upset, Chappy Angus said he had spoken to mum. He checked up on me everyday to make sure I was okay,” Lily recalls.

Although things were looking up for the family, it was only a month or so after this scare that camp was set to begin.

When Angus took some time to visit with the family, Lily’s Mum encouraged her daughter to go – knowing she would love it.

“Lily’s Mum was really keen for her to go on camp, and we’re so glad she was able to come. Parents with special needs children sometimes aren’t sure how far to let them go, and Lily’s parents have been brilliant.

“They encourage her to give everything a go and she gets really involved. We really saw her spark come to life at camp,” says Chappy Angus.

As you know, Lily’s is just one of the many stories of hope that your support is making possible through our chaplaincy and camping ministries.

To find out more about our upcoming camps, visit sucamps.org.au

 

Posted: 2/06/2021

Celebrating our Volunteers – How Keith makes a difference in North QLD

It takes a special person to be a volunteer, and SU supporter Keith is no exception. In fact, he has quite the story to tell about why he believes…

It takes a special person to be a volunteer, and SU supporter Keith is no exception. In fact, he has quite the story to tell about why he believes it’s important to invest in others.

Three years ago, Keith started volunteering on the chaplaincy committee at his local school in Kuranda. Thanks to his background in banking and finance, he was also quickly scouted to be their Treasurer.

But it’s not his number crunching that Keith is most known for. Around the school he is affectionately known as ‘Pancake Dude’ or ‘Camp Grandad’ due to his involvement with GENTS Camp – a well-loved camp that speaks life and confidence into young men. 

“Volunteering has given me the opportunity to be of service in my community. I’m retired, so I have time and I like being able to do something good for other people – young people in particular,” says Keith.

“In our area, certainly around the Tablelands, there are lots of kids who don’t necessarily come from a good background. They are facing real struggles at home.”

“I do my bit to help out by cooking pancakes at  the school’s weekly Brekky Club, and once a quarter we also do a Community Breakfast for the wider community and parents. This is a place where you can bond with members of the community, and they really love it. I see volunteering as a way to help other people have a better life.”

Keith shaving his head in 2020 as part of the World’s Greatest Shave

Keith has also been a part of other emotional support events such as R U Ok week, Bullying No Way week, and last year he even shaved his head as part of the World’s Greatest Shave for cancer research.

Through his active involvement in the community, Keith is acutely aware how different the pace of life is for our young people today.

“I grew up in the UK, and can remember my mates knocking on the front door and asking if I wanted to kick the football down at the local park. Now, young people seem to be in front of screens all day long and they’re socialising with one another digitally.”

“I think technology definitely has its advantages, but it can easily be misused. This is why I think it’s very important we invest on a face-to-face level with our young people.”

“I help out at GENTS Camp, a camp for boys in their early teenage years, and we run games and do activities like water sports and laser tag, but we also have time for spiritual input. It’s important to get our young people talking outloud about the things they’re going through.”

Volunteers like Keith are a vital pillar of the Scripture Union movement, and so much of what we do wouldn’t be possible without them. So from all of us at SU, thank you Keith and thank you to all our amazing volunteers. You are making a massive difference in the lives of our young people and their communities. 

 

If you too would like to be part of something that has impact on others, why not join our team of 4,000+ volunteers? Find out how to be involved here!

 

Posted: 21/05/2021

Chappy Tony and the life of an outback community chaplain…

Most of us understand the importance of having someone to lean on when the road gets a little bumpy. But the job description of a school chaplain holds a…

Most of us understand the importance of having someone to lean on when the road gets a little bumpy. But the job description of a school chaplain holds a special place in the hearts of those in our regional communities.

For Chappy Tony, he’s served in this unique calling for many years. When he speaks of his years of service, you can see the delight on his face. He is a testimony of Acts 20:35 – that it really is more blessed to give than to receive.

Although his journey has taken him far and wide, in more recent years Tony has been located in Central and West Queensland. It’s here that he’s truly landed the title of “Community Chaplain.” For outback communities like Alpha and Jericho, the chaplain isn’t just there for the school students and teachers. They’re there for anyone who needs support.

“There are unique things in these regions that have an impact on communal wellbeing — the drought is one of them,” explains Tony.

“As chaplains, we frequently team up with organisations, churches and other schools to help raise money to support the community.”

In rural communities, the health of land and livestock is linked to the community’s wellbeing. On one occasion, Chappy Tony and some friends were delivering semi-trailer loads of hay for the people in town when they had an unexpected encounter.

“There was a man who came up to us with tears in his eyes. He said, ‘Why are you doing this for us?’ He was stunned that we’d be helping him and his neighbours in this way.

“Over the years, I’ve seen resilience from people who are determined to stay on their land, even in the hardships. It’s a blessing to align with the needs of the community – even if it is as simple as handing out hay,” says Chappy Tony.

“Some people misunderstand the role of a chaplain. It’s about being there. It’s about going along to a cattle camp, or joining in on things to look after the welfare of young people. It’s about being real and being part of the community God has called you to be in.”

And the truth is, there is a desperate need for more chaplains in our remote communities. The work is plentiful – but the labourers are few.

If you’ve always dreamed of living out your faith in the service of others, school chaplaincy is calling you today.

Visit suqld.org.au/morehands and find out more.

Posted: 3/05/2021

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: 29/04/2021

Dust off your walking shoes – strolling is back in

Taking full advantage of the crisp Autumn weather, the Cooloola Schools Chaplaincy Committee trialled a new fundraising event with a Chappy River Walk on Saturday, April 10.  Eleven chappies…

Taking full advantage of the crisp Autumn weather, the Cooloola Schools Chaplaincy Committee trialled a new fundraising event with a Chappy River Walk on Saturday, April 10. 

Eleven chappies from this region put their heads together to organise this family-friendly event, and it was a big success!

“This year was the first time we held a fundraising event like this. In the past, our region has held dinners and trivia nights, but we thought this would be a great way to build closer relationships with churches and the local community,” says Ronnie, chaplain at Rainbow Beach State School.

“After the isolation of last year, we were hoping this would be a lovely time for connection – and it was.”

In an effort to encourage families and younger children who took part in the walk, Chappy Ronnie and some of the other chaplains came up with a unique idea.

“Bunnings kindly donated a selection of rocks for the event, so we painted about 75 ‘kindness rocks’ which were hidden along the walk for the kids to find. There were a couple of special gold-painted ones, which alludes to the history of Gympie [a gold-mining town].”

“We wrote positive messages on all the rocks – things like ‘be kind’ and ‘shine’. It’s good to be reminded to look out for one another.”

8-year-old Charlotte Turner with the kindness rocks she found

At the end of the walk, the chappies and Cooloola Chaplaincy Committee organised a celebration on the grass, complete with live music, food and face painting. It was a welcome change of pace for families and a fun way to kick off the weekend.

“Families love to walk alongside the beautiful Mary River, and this event was a really great way to raise money for chaplaincy at the same time,” said Chappy Ronnie.

“There are a lot of people in our community who are unaware what chappies do, so we wanted to raise awareness and show that we are a kind and friendly face in the community.”

 

For more information on what school chaplains do, head to our 2021 Chaplaincy Snapshot.

Posted: 28/04/2021

Three keys we should give our young women

When I was about 13 or 14 my dad came to the girls group I was part of to teach us some self-defence techniques, just in case we needed…

When I was about 13 or 14 my dad came to the girls group I was part of to teach us some self-defence techniques, just in case we needed to defend ourselves ‘out in the world’.

In my early 20’s a friend taught me to hold a key in between my fingers when I was walking at night, another self-defence strategy added to my collection. To this day, holding my keys in my hand while walking at night has become second nature. 

As a woman, now in my 30’s, I recognise it would be far, far better to live in a world where such strategies are not necessary, but living ‘out in the world’, as my dad would say, requires pragmatism and wisdom – I’ll still hold my keys in my hand a little longer.

It’s sad I need a key between my fingers to feel safe. The purpose of a key is to unlock something – something that’s usually positive – not to be used as a physical defence strategy.

So here are three other positive keys (pun intended) we should be giving our young women as they grow up. 

Number one: VALUE.

What values do we identify in women?

Proverbs 31 says, “Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others. Celebrate all she has achieved. Let all her accomplishments publicly praise her.” (v30-31)

Too often our celebration of young women goes only skin deep. While I have no problem with complementing a sister on her outfit or hairstyle, is that where my verbal appreciation stops? Am I as verbose in my admiration for her thoughtfulness and hard work in study, work, and relationships as I am for her new shoes?

And as important as the value we place on others is, it’s also important to consider what we value in ourselves. I set the standard of value for the young women in my life. I can find this difficult and uncomfortable, but if I don’t/can’t identify what is valuable in me, how can I expect or instruct the young women around me to identify it in themselves?

Here are three deep value areas to look for and verbally acknowledge in yourself and the young women in your life:

  1. Achievement (“Congratulations on your graduation/new job/sporting success…etc.”)
  2. Effort (“I noticed how hard you worked on that project, I’m so glad you didn’t give up.”)
  3. Character (“I really appreciate how patient you are with your younger siblings.”)

Number two: STRENGTH. 

“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” (Proverbs 31:17) 

Strengths are demonstrated as built-in capacities for ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. I’m going to call these capacities Strength Patterns.

We aren’t all strong in everything, but we are all strong in something. I am an organised person.

My mind sorts things into categories and systems and I order my physical world accordingly. I am also a relational person and want to use my organisational skills to help others. When I identify my strength patterns and tap into them, I get a greater sense of fulfilment from my life.

I can also help others identify their strength patterns so that they too can experience a greater sense of fulfilment. Young women can struggle to identify their strengths, especially if they don’t fit the stereotypical brain, beauty, brawn patterns. As caring adults, a gift we can give young women (any young person for that matter) is to identify the strength patterns we see in them.

How do we identify potential patterns of strength in the young people around us?

Look for these three clues:

  1. Use (frequency and repetition of engagement in the activity -Thinking/Feeling/Behaving)
  2. Energy (never gets tired of and seems to be energised by participating in the activity)
  3. Performance (is skilled at it).

Number three: POWER. 

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:25-26)

We tend to take our voices for granted, but when used wisely and appropriately, the voice can be one of the most powerful instruments in the human body.

Proverbs 18 says the power of life and death is in the tongue. When we encourage young women to use their voices, we empower them to ignite change in their world.

How do we encourage young women to exercise the power of their voice?

  1. Ask her questions (“What do you think about…?”). And listen for her answers.
  2. Invite her into decision making discussions, giving her opportunities to voice her ideas/concerns/opinions. 
  3. Be a role model. Let her see you using your voice on issues that matter to you. 

Young women, I want to remind you today that you are valuable beyond the superficial, strong in unique ways, and powerful to make change! 

Carry these keys wherever you go.

 

About the author…

Narelle is a former youth worker with more than 10 years of experience. She now serves in SU QLD’s vocational training team, equipping the next generation of chaplains and youth workers. She is especially passionate about empowering young women.

Posted: 9/04/2021

Your support gave Saarah a sense of belonging in a new culture

When mum Sihaam and her young family migrated to a small North Queensland community from South Africa in 2013, they worked hard to integrate into a new and foreign…

When mum Sihaam and her young family migrated to a small North Queensland community from South Africa in 2013, they worked hard to integrate into a new and foreign culture.

Thanks to your support, chappies like Wendy are trained and equipped to journey with families like Sihaam’s to help them thrive.

In addition to being qualified, Wendy also sees each and every person she supports through God’s eyes – and that makes supporting families like Sihaam’s all the more special.

Wendy worked with Saarah (Grade 4) and her sister, from their first day of school.

“There were some teasing and bullying issues. Some boys would tease them for wearing their hijab. I made sure [the girls] knew I was always there if they needed a safe person to talk to,” says Wendy.

For Sihaam, she knew her daughters would face challenges.

“When my girls first arrived at school, they were practicing Muslims and their accents were a bit different. Whenever a terrorist incident was on the news, my girls would feel the repercussions of that.

“Navigating differences like that in a school is hard, but Chappy Wendy was there for my children. She helped them feel a sense of belonging.”

Chappy Wendy was a constant source of support for the family, including a source of spiritual support.

Like Christians, a Muslim’s faith is central to their identity, which is why the family took comfort in knowing they had a safe person at school who could advocate for their spiritual and practical needs.

“Despite our different beliefs, there’s more focus on what’s the same about us. We formed a beautiful friendship and my girls felt comfortable with her as well,” Sihaam says.

Wendy also played a key role in helping Saarah transition back to school after a brief period of homeschooling. In 2020, Wendy attended Saarah’s graduation.

“What I found really amazing was that even though she is a Christian chaplain, she went above and beyond for kids of other faith backgrounds like me,” Saarah says.

Wendy is so proud of Saarah and her family who are now thriving in their adopted country. She’s also grateful for the training she’s received, which plays a vital role in the support she gives.

“If I didn’t have the Diploma, I don’t think I would have been able to do half the things I’ve done as a chappy,” says Wendy.

Through your generosity, chappies like Wendy are being trained and equipped to support those in need.

If you’re passionate about bringing hope to a young generation, find out more about our training opportunities with SU QLD (RTO 30458), visit training.suqld.org.au

Posted: 7/04/2021

You helped Dean overcome his anger

“You stuck by my side after I’d screamed at you, swore at you and pushed you away for weeks. You stuck by me.” – an excerpt of a letter…

“You stuck by my side after I’d screamed at you, swore at you and pushed you away for weeks. You stuck by me.” – an excerpt of a letter from Dean to his chappy.

When Dean was in Grade 7, in his North Queensland community of the Burdekin, he found himself locked in a losing battle against anger and frustration. But in his corner, he had a constant source of support and someone he could trust – Chappy Jennie.

Your support meant Dean had a trusted and trained friend in those moments when he needed it most. Your support changes lives.

“I’ll never forget the day I met Chappy. I thought there was no getting better. I felt sadness, anger and disgust at myself,” says Dean.

“Chappy helped lift me out of the dark hole I was in after I’d been suspended. There were times I was too angry to talk or too sad to find the words, but she always managed to understand what I was going through.

“I owe her more than I can think of.” For adults it’s a struggle to control emotions, but for our young people that struggle can be overwhelming, and can lead to destructive behaviour

To help support young people in this space, chappies like Jennie are delivering the RAGE program in schools across Queensland.

“Our school has facilitated the RAGE Program a number of times. It’s about navigating and managing negative emotions.

“It opens up conversations where you can help students develop new ways of thinking and responding to the challenges and issues that confront them,” says Chappy Jennie.

“We look at the 4 T’s of anger (Triggers, Thoughts, Tantrums and Trouble). We talk about how anger can be like the loop of a racing-car track – you have to decide when to get off the road and work through your emotions or else things can escalate.”

From her background in youth justice to over a decade of experience as a school chaplain, Jennie has a passion to see young lives changed.

“There’s nothing better than encouraging young people and to walk beside them and tell them they can do it.”

“A lot of issues begin in the early years. If a young person isn’t given space to speak up and talk to someone, it can be a really slippery slope. That’s why I believe in chaplaincy.”

Thank you for supporting chaplains who serve in the early intervention and prevention space. Your support keeps this vital, life-changing ministry going in our school communities.

Visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 7/04/2021

Christians are good at remembering Palm Sunday ‘Part 1’ – but what about ‘Part 2’?

At the church I grew up in, Palm Sunday was always an event to remember. Every year, those running the morning service would get the kids to dress up…

At the church I grew up in, Palm Sunday was always an event to remember. Every year, those running the morning service would get the kids to dress up in the appropriate clothes from the costume box (complete with tea towels on heads), grab a palm frond from the gathered pile and march down the centre aisle crying out, “Hosanna, Hosanna. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”

It was great stuff. I must have seen it 20 years in a row. I never got tired of it.

And this is pretty much what we think about when we think of Palm Sunday. Jesus, on a donkey, riding into Jerusalem at Passover time, with crowds around him waving palm fronds and shouting about how he is the one who God has sent to save them. That he is the long-awaited Messiah. This event is often referred to as ‘The Triumphal Entry’ of Jesus into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11). It’s the occasion that marks the beginning of Passion Week, the week that leads up to the death and resurrection of Jesus, the most important event in the Christian calendar.

I like to think of this as ‘Palm Sunday – Part 1’.

And we often don’t get to ‘Palm Sunday – Part 2’… but this over-the-top, Messianic parade is not the only thing that Jesus gets up to on this first ‘Palm Sunday’ (Matthew 21:21-17).

When Jesus gets to Jerusalem, he goes on to the temple. When he gets there, he finds that the temple courts, the part of the temple that has been set up for outsiders to engage with God, has been turned into a place to buy and sell temple sacrifices. The little space that outsiders have been given in the temple for worship is being denied them by those who run the place. Jesus makes a huge scene, overturning tables, scattering money and condemning those in charge for turning his house of prayer into a den for thieves.

The blind and the lame then come to the temple and Jesus heals them. The children start shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” and those in charge of the temple try to get Jesus to stop them from doing that. But he doesn’t. Instead, Jesus encourages the children, saying to the religious leaders that their own scriptures tell them that God’s praises will come from the lips of children like these.

I tell you, Jesus is really asking for trouble here. This kind of stuff could get a person killed…

[spoiler alert]

I’m not sure that the people who were shouting for Jesus to save them earlier in the day knew what kind of saviour God had sent them. Some say the hype from the earlier parade flowed from a deep, collective hope that Jesus might be some kind of warrior king who would unite them to fight off the occupying Roman force.

And while it doesn’t look like Jesus is going to be that kind of Messiah, it doesn’t mean he’s not a fighter.

When Jesus goes to the temple, he fights for the religious outsiders to have a space where they can engage with God. He fights for those who have been dealt a bad hand in this life so that they might experience the good things God wants for them. And he fights for the children to know that God is for them and for their chance to shout that hope out to the world.

Jesus fights for our good, and particularly for the good of those who are missing out in some way. He stands with us, pushing against the powers that seek to hold us back.

That’s what kind of Messiah Jesus is shaping up to be on this Palm Sunday, both Parts 1 & 2.

“Hosanna…!!!”

“God is saving us…!!!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord…!!!”

PS – a challenge to the organisers of next year’s Palm Sunday services. Please keep the re-enactments of ‘Palm Sunday – Part 1’ coming, but I’d love to see someone do a re-enactment of ‘Palm Sunday – Part 2’.

That would be something…

 

 

About the author…

Steve has over 30 years experience in school, community and church-based youth work. He is currently working as the Training & Development Manager at SU QLD, overseeing teams that deliver training and produce resources for SU QLD staff and volunteers. He holds post-graduate qualifications in Social Work, Politics & Government, and Christian Studies.

Posted: 27/03/2021

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.

See how your support impacts young lives
Sign up to our monthly e-News