You’re building community across cultures

Part of Australia’s beauty is found in its diversity. But diversity without a shared sense of community can lead to sharp divisions. Through your generous support and a grant…

Part of Australia’s beauty is found in its diversity. But diversity without a shared sense of community can lead to sharp divisions.

Through your generous support and a grant from Department of Home Affairs, SU Camps have launched the its first CHAT Super Sports Camp. These events bring campers together, helping them better understand and engage with different cultures and beliefs.

17-year-old lta, who comes from a Samoan background, first heard about the camp through her local church pastor.

“I went along with some people from my church,” lta says.

“My favourite sport was basketball – it was competitive and really fun.

“Even though I didn’t have any school friends with me on camp – I made new friends from different backgrounds and cultures.”

As much as she enjoyed the sport, lta says her favourite part of camp was the group chats after sport ended each day.

“Someone new would get up and speak about how they came to Australia and what it was like in their home country,” lta says.

“I really engaged with it – just hearing what they went through and how life was different for them.

“It changed my perspective. Their lives were so much harder and tougher than what I’ve been through here – a lot of them experienced racism.”

Camp Director Troy Wilson felt inspired and encouraged after seeing cultural barriers break down over the five-day camp.

“The goal is to get kids from different cultural backgrounds to come together, have fun and learn about one another in a safe space,” Troy says.

“Sport is the perfect medium for this. We had some kids who couldn’t speak English really well, but once you got them on a court or a playing field they understood how to work together to score a goal or get a ball over a net.”

The camp had a positive impact on lta. She said she’ll definitely come along to the next CHAT Camp.

“It’s a really memorable experience and heaps of fun too. It taught me that no matter what religion, culture or belief we have, we are still the same in that our humanity makes us ‘one’ – and regardless of our differences and difficulties culturally, we can overcome them all,” lta says.

Your support makes camps like this possible. We couldn’t do it without you. To find out how you can get behind camps like this one, head to suqld.org.au/camps or email camps@suqld.org.au

Posted: 5/03/2020

You’re creating safe spaces for our children

Stepping into high school is a massive step for many children. Everyone looks so much bigger, the workload and expectations (both academically and socially) rise. As parents it can…

Stepping into high school is a massive step for many children. Everyone looks so much bigger, the workload and expectations (both academically and socially) rise. As parents it can be stomach-wrenching enough, but for the individual child, it’s even more daunting.

For Chappy Deb, she’s passionate about supporting all young people, but she has a special heart for these young ones in transition.

One way she does this is through her A2B program, which your support is making possible in schools right around Queensland.

In 2019 the entire seventh grade went through the program at Kuranda District State College, and loved every minute of it.

“A2B is all about teaching life skills. I like to describe it as ‘understanding more about myself, others and the world,” says Chappy Deb.

“I am so passionate about this program. It covers some of the key issues young people are going through starting school. We learn things about identity, physical and emotional well-being, personalities, friendships, teamwork, anger responses, purpose and potential.”

“I use A2B as a tool for the students to understand themselves better, and learn how to better relate to others in their cohort. It also shows them that I am someone they can go to when they have issues, and that I’m someone they can trust.”

12-year old Joel says that the program created the space for him to have real-life conversations and ask some big questions.

“My favourite part of the program was getting to be all together and talk about life and emotions and things you don’t get to talk about in class. It was a safe space,” says Joel.

The program has helped foster a strong sense of community at Kuranda, which features a mix of students from indigenous, low socio-economic and high academic backgrounds.

“This program helps our young people understand the uniqueness and commonalities of individuals in their town. Even though these students come from totally different backgrounds, it shows them they still have things in common and can encourage each other when they’re facing challenges,” says Chappy Deb.

“The teachers also found the program hugely beneficial. It enabled them to see their students in a different context, as they saw students taking on various leadership responsibilities.”

Thanks to your support our children and young people are discovering more about themselves, others and the world around them. Your generosity is making a big difference! To help our young people continue to discover their meaning and purpose, visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 4/02/2020

Because of you, Jonan finished the race

Chaplains are desperately needed in our schools for many reasons. Amidst all the programs, breakfast clubs, fundraisers and events, our Chappies are there to look after the social, emotional…

Chaplains are desperately needed in our schools for many reasons. Amidst all the programs, breakfast clubs, fundraisers and events, our Chappies are there to look after the social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of young people like Jonan.

Through your selfless and big-hearted support, Jonan’s story today is a very different one. He was very nearly another tragic statistic, but because of your support, the Charters Towers alumni was given a second chance.

“Jo would never have finished school if it wasn’t for Chappy Sharon,” says mum, Sue.

“His dad died when he was ten. Jo was diagnosed with ADD, Tourette’s and Sensory Integration Dysfunction. By the time he got to Grade 10, he’d lost his way. Because of his ADD, Jo would lose his concentration every two minutes, and over Grade 11 and 12 he saw Chappy Sharon on a regular basis. She sat by his side, constantly reminding him to keep on track with his work.”

“Mind you, Jo wasn’t an angel! We begged the school to give him another chance. The school agreed, but with conditions. At first I just sat and cried, fearing that Jo wouldn’t be able to meet the conditions they set.”

Despite the mountain that loomed ahead of him, Jonan began to climb one step at a time and Chappy Sharon never left his side.

“I confided in Chappy Sharon as a friend, and she helped me through. When it felt like I would fail, Chappy was the one who stood by my side and said, ‘Jo, you can do this,’” says Jonan.

“I wanted the experience of finishing school and graduating with my friends, and Chappy Sharon kept me focused. She helped me make a plan, and she rallied other teachers to help.”

“There are heaps of kids like me who are struggling and need extra support to keep on track. They need a chaplain just like I did.”

Chappy Sharon knew Jonan had it in him to succeed – he just needed to know someone believed in him.

“I sat by Jo’s side and provided educational support for eighteen months. He was always on the verge of walking out of class, but when he did he’d come straight to my office. I knew he needed to let it out (with lots of colourful language) and I was there to listen,” says Chappy Sharon.

“Truthfully, it was really tricky working in that space. But watching Jo keep on going and not give up made it worth it.”

“The walk I got to go on with Jo’s mum was also really valuable. Sue was anxious about her son’s future, but my heart was to bring peace to the situation and encourage her too.”

Through your faithfulness, Chappy Sharon was there for Jonan and Sue in a season of uncertainty, and was there to celebrate with the family when Jonan came out the other side victorious.

“In the end, Jo got his QCE. And four months later, he was offered the job of a Drillers Offsider, for which the minimum requirement was his Grade 12 certificate!” says Sue.

“It was a fight to the end, but I’m so grateful Chappy Sharon was there. Facing the possibility of having your child not finish school, and missing out on their full potential is an awful feeling. Chappy Sharon lifted such a burden for me.”

Thank you for supporting chappies across Queensland schools.

Your generosity means that chappies like Sharon, who are inspired by their faith, are there supporting our young people in need. To keep this vital support in our schools visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 15/01/2020

Some Parenting Advice for the Christmas Season

Christmas is just around the corner and for many the pressure is on to find just the right gift for each child. In a world that has become so…

Christmas is just around the corner and for many the pressure is on to find just the right gift for each child. In a world that has become so driven by and focused on achieving goals, it is clear that many parents have taken their eyes off the best gift to give to those you helped bring into this world.

Take a moment to reflect on your goals for your kids. For many it is providing a good education, setting them up for a good job, finding a life partner or a healthy lifestyle. As important as these may be, there is one goal that sits atop the list.

The biblical teaching clearly sets the home/family as the primary center for faith formation and nurture. As Christian parents our highest ideal is that our children will find the faith that we have and become lifelong, active followers of Jesus. To provide extra support, God has provided the gathered church, grandparents, extended family members, friends and mentors.

So what strategies and priorities are you setting in the everyday dance steps of life to work towards achieving that goal? Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it,” is a proverb (not a promise) that will most often be realised if we work hard at it.

Reflect on your week and consider how much time is being invested into this one goal. The only screens at the meal table should be the reflections in the eyes of each of the family members present as we listen to, and reflect biblically, on the events of our day. What family traditions are we implementing? What are we sacrificing as parents to create the time and energy into this one goal for our children? This is not about quoting Scriptures at our children all day – it is about seeing faith as a natural and intentional ingredient in our daily life. It is vital that we explore the big and the small questions of life around table conversations, windscreen conversations, bedtime conversations…. all of which flow from the words of Deuteronomy 6.

Can you add these ‘gifts’ for your family to your list?

  1. Get back to the meal table (a ‘screen-free zone’) with your family on a regular basis. Listen, laugh, struggle and journey together.
  2. Celebrate together the ‘seasons/events’ in your family year – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Easter, holidays, first/last days at school, etc.
  3. Create your Family Traditions: choose your own meal on your birthday; write affirming words in all birthday cards to each other; family ‘treat’ after church; reading the Christmas story around a candle; etc.
  4. Write down a short list of goals for your children and develop some priorities that will work towards achieving them.
  5. Have fun together. Start and maintain an ever-growing list of activities you can all enjoy together – and make the time to tick them off.

So finish this sentence: One gift I will bring to my family this Christmas Season is … ?

Merry Christmas, everyone! Wishing every blessing upon you and your family in this special time.


Terry Williams
Family & Children’s Ministry Specialist
Scripture Union Queensland & International

Posted: 5/12/2019

Lauren’s gifts from the heart

Through your support school communities across Queensland are being blessed by the everyday actions of their school chaplains. But as Chappy Carol from Vienna Woods State School can attest…

Through your support school communities across Queensland are being blessed by the everyday actions of their school chaplains.

But as Chappy Carol from Vienna Woods State School can attest to, the blessings often flow both ways.

When she first met a big-hearted young girl named Lauren, she was moved by her compassion for those in need. What followed has been a partnership that continues to bless and impact her local community.

Since she was in prep, Lauren has given away her birthday presents to those in need.

This selfless act started after the Queensland floods, when Lauren saw the devastation that affected other kids in her class. The following year, six year old Lauren and her mum, Deb, contacted a chaplain through the Radio Station 96.5, and gave gifts to a little girl whose house burnt down.

On the invitation to her birthday parties, Lauren writes specific details of someone in need and the people at her party bring gifts to be passed on anonymously.

Over the last eight years, Lauren has helped a man suffering from cancer, a lonely teenage girl and a family who lost their mum. 

“I know that money can’t buy happiness, but it can make a difference when it makes people feel special,” Lauren says.

Since she was in prep, Lauren has been giving away her birthday presents to those in need.

The process of selecting a special ‘someone’ each year, led to partnering with local chaplains who are the heartbeat of their communities, explains Deb, who also volunteers with the Local Chaplaincy Committee.

“Chaplains know that perfect person who needs a little bit of encouragement,” Deb says.

“Over the years they’ve played a really important role for Lauren, because they’ve been our gift registry!

“It’s a very joyful journey. I get a warm-fuzzy smile thinking about it.”

Chappy Carol says the partnership between chaplaincy and families is incredibly important.

“This family, everything they do is about giving. Lauren is very generous and her mum, Deb is always thinking of ways to bless others. As a chaplain, I get the best job of sharing the love around,” Chappy Carol says.

Lauren has started a beautiful tradition of generosity that will last for many years to come.

Your support helps make partnerships like Lauren and Chappy Carol’s possible. Please help keep this going. Visit suqld.org.au/donate.

Posted: 2/12/2019

Trek through our heartland launches new chappy services

In July, Scripture Union Queensland and Inspired Adventures partnered to send a team of passionate supporters to trek the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory. A group of 14…

In July, Scripture Union Queensland and Inspired Adventures partnered to send a team of passionate supporters to trek the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory.

A group of 14 big-hearted SU QLD supporters undertook the 6 day challenge to ensure the vital work of school chaplaincy continues. The team hiked 60+ kilometres across Australia’s beautiful, rugged and formidable red centre – and raised an incredible $55,461!

Through the funds these amazing adventurers raised (and a massive thanks to you wonderful people who supported them) we’ve been able to launch two new chaplaincy services, while also providing support to four existing services.  For long-time SU QLD supporters, Wendy Phillpotts and husband Steve, the trek meant so much more knowing what it was in support of.

“Larapinta was fantastic – the highlight of my year! We’ve had a long-term involvement with SU and chaplaincy, so it wasn’t a hard decision. Right from the start, we knew it was going to be achievable but still a challenge,” says Wendy.

“We had 3 chaplains in our group, which was wonderful. Getting to see the gifting’s they have, and hear about how they are using those in their schools was incredible. It was great to meet other people who are like-minded.”

Along with the community building, Wendy was blown away by the diversity of the landscape.

“The scenery was breathtaking. We trekked through massive gorges, sandy riverbeds and rock-hopped on rocks that were purple, pink and blue. At night we got to sleep under the stars in a swag, which was a new experience for me. It was a spectacle to see the shooting stars, and watch the moon moving across the sky.”

Steve and Wendy Phillpotts – long-time supporters of SU QLD

 

Also taking part in the adventure, SU QLD Regional Manager for Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay, Kerry Evans, says the trek not only had an impact on those who took part, but it will now positively impact children in his local community.

“These funds have been fundamental in getting new school chaplaincy services started in schools that have never had a chaplain.

“The journey was more challenging than I was expecting, but seeing the need for teamwork and encouragement every day out on the trail showed me that by working together, we really can make a difference in the lives of young people.”

Kerry Evans – Regional Manager for Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay

 

A massive congratulations to this amazing group of people who have put in an incredible effort to raise money for school chaplaincy. And thank you to all those who supported the team financially and prayerfully.

Posted: 22/10/2019

When floodwaters subsided, your support saw them through

When her high school students were being evacuated from their homes in the dead of night, with rain pouring so hard it was deafening, William Ross State High School…

When her high school students were being evacuated from their homes in the dead of night, with rain pouring so hard it was deafening, William Ross State High School chaplain, Kay, was there to support them in any way she could.

The February floods tore through the Townsville high school community, destroying everything in its path – carpets, furniture, resources. Some staff lost everything.

William Ross State High School principal, Allan Evans, who steered the school community through the flood disaster, said one teacher was lucky to escape with her life.

“[The teacher’s] fiance was shifting the vehicle up the road to get out of the water and when they walked out again the water was chest-deep. The guys in the boat said ‘dump the lot or die’, so they got in the boat and that’s what they left with,” he says.

Chappy Kay recalls that many students feared for their lives too.

“I was talking to some kids and they said they were taken out in great big army trucks, and there was a cover over the top but because the rain was so heavy, there was a foot-and-a-half of water inside the truck,” she says.

“They couldn’t see anything, and every time the truck lurched, the parents were grabbing their kids because there was so much water, and they didn’t want them to drown inside the truck.”

In the light of day, the devastation became heartbreakingly clear. Many of the buildings at nearby Oonoonba State School had to be completely gutted and rebuilt.

Mr Evans found himself adopting 350 year 3-6 students on the high school campus for Term 1 after quickly offering his support.

“We were given 12 hours to completely revamp the school. We were a little protective of the younger students,” Mr Evans says.

Even after the floodwaters began to subside, it was clear that the full impact was still being felt. Mr Evans recalls that many of the students would panic whenever it would start to rain again. “Every time it rained, it was like they were re-traumatised,” he says.

But he was full of praise for Chappy Kay and the school’s other support staff.

“The support staff are the pivotal edge of any change. Kay is one of five support staff and each brings that element of support and that’s critical,” he said.

“The day-to-day business, the staff have got the ammunition to deal with it. But when you’ve got the blow-ups, a teacher can’t handle that because they’ve
got 20 other kids – that’s when you call for Chappy.”

Chappy Kay was there to support her traumatised school community because of your support. Help keep this support going, visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 10/10/2019

Chaplaincy celebrated in Sarina

It’s nice when hard work is recognised, especially when it’s work done for a good cause. The efforts to promote chaplaincy in Mackay have been recognised by Sarina Community…

It’s nice when hard work is recognised, especially when it’s work done for a good cause.

The efforts to promote chaplaincy in Mackay have been recognised by Sarina Community Bank® Branch, Bendigo Bank who recently awarded the local School Chaplaincy District with the inaugural Community Impact Award. The award recognises  organisations that are making a significant difference in the community.

Rod and Raylene Ballard, long-time community members, and joint-chairs of the Local Chaplaincy Committee, are deeply invested in growing chaplaincy in their region and were pleasantly surprised for their team of chaplaincy supporters to be recognised.

“Sarina Community Bank® sees us as a group which interacts widely with the community in both our fundraising and our service. Our chaplains do such a great job in the schools supporting young people, so that doesn’t go unnoticed either,” says Rod.

“One of the benefits to this award is that you receive that little bit of extra exposure in the community. We’ve worked pretty hard over the years to help people understand what chaplaincy is, and how it helps young people.

“I’d just say, we don’t do what we do to get awards, because that’s not what it’s about. It’s all about the kids. When it all boils down, we’re just an ordinary group of people doing the best we can to help those who need it.”

Chair of Sarina Community Bank® Branch, Karen May, explains how the Community Bank® model works, and emphasises the importance of chaplaincy in the Sarina district.

“The benefit of the Community Bank®  is that we are able to invest profits locally. With 50% of the profits available to the local company, Sarina Community Bank® Branch is able to invest in various community programs and initiatives. This means that when local people bank with Sarina Community Bank®, funds are able to be invested straight back into the community.”

“We have had a longstanding relationship supporting Sarina District School Chaplaincy for up to $6,000 each year because chaplaincy is a centerpiece in our community. By running a smooth transition to high school program, chaplains become the go-to person for our young people who are going through a difficult time.”

This generous support has enabled Rod, Raylene and their team to help chaplaincy flourish in our region. You too can empower communities to support the work of chaplains by visiting www.suqld.org.au/donate.

Posted: 26/09/2019

Bringing Fellowship to the Outback

Over three decades ago, Trevor Meares founded Church of the Outback from his base in Broken Hill after seeing the desperate need for Christian fellowship in rural communities across…

Over three decades ago, Trevor Meares founded Church of the Outback from his base in Broken Hill after seeing the desperate need for Christian fellowship in rural communities across Australia. Today, Alan and Myril Frankham continue his legacy as pastors of this unique community.

Pastor Alan “gathering” with his community by dialing in online. 

Each Sunday morning, Church of the Outback helps around 50 Christians from remote communities across Australia connect with other believers, who are eager to grow and nurture their faith – but would otherwise struggle due to their distance from a local church.

“Like any church, we gather together to meet with the Lord on Sundays, but our community does this by dialing in or logging in online,” Pastor Alan says.

“As part of SU QLD’s ongoing commitment to work with churches to bring God’s love, hope and good news to children, young people and their families, we’ve had the great pleasure of partnering with Church of the Outback by offering the use of our telephone conference calling system.

“This has been a real blessing for Church of the Outback because the connection is large enough to host all of our members simultaneously,” Pastor Alan says.

Beyond the online connection, Pastor Alan and his wife love hopping in their caravan throughout the year to visit their flock for face-to-face fellowship and to provide pastoral care.

“It can be lonely in these remote communities. So it’s important that we get out there and remind our church members that they are not alone. We are indeed one body,” Pastor Alan explains.

Albeit a unique one.

“Recently while doing Bible Study during the week, we had people dialled in across three states of Australia, plus a young man on an interstate train travelling back to his work in far western Queensland, and another couple connecting in via the internet from Vanuatu. It’s mind-boggling,” Pastor Alan says.

“Our services include welcome, worship, a Bible reading and message, communion – with everyone providing the elements in their own homes and a dedicated time for prayer.”

Church community is a connection that is so often taken for granted, but it is vital for believers to come together, regardless of how that looks. Hebrews 10:24-25 says,

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

“We’re technically denominational under the umbrella of Churches of Christ, but we’re also not,” Pastor Alan explains, “What we are about is the gospel: that’s our focus.”

Pastor Alan uploads his weekly teachings onto the Church of the Outback website, so even if members do miss Church, they can still listen to the sermon later in the week.

With SU QLD now transitioning to internet-based conferencing, Church of the Outback is also making a similar change using both the phone and internet/video based communication.

Church of the Outback is a community of friends in rural communities who have been able to share in the fellowship of believers.

Members stand together in times of difficulty, pray for one another regularly, and show the love of Christ to their mates in their outback communities.

For SU QLD, it is a pleasure to be partnering with this amazing community.

Please pray for this beautiful ministry and for our brothers and sisters in remote communities in need of fellowship.

If you or someone you knows has a heart to serve in outback communities, SU QLD currently has a number of chaplaincy positions to fill. Find out more, visit suqld.org.au/morehands.

Posted: 5/08/2019

YOU’RE SETTING UP COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

Sport is a great way to connect faith communities with local communities – an incredible opportunity made possible thanks to your support!

Sport is a great way to connect faith communities with local communities – an incredible opportunity made possible thanks to your support!

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Posted: 8/04/2019

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
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