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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

Lord Mayor hears your Stories of Hope

It’s exciting to see what God is doing through SU in Australia and the impact that trusted and trained Christians are having as they serve on the frontlines of…

It’s exciting to see what God is doing through SU in Australia and the impact that trusted and trained Christians are having as they serve on the frontlines of our communities.

It’s an impact that more of our political and community leaders are taking notice of.

Earlier this year, SU Australia Group CEO Peter James joined with other Christian leaders to meet with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese, to discuss the role Christian organisations will play in Australia’s post-COVID recovery.

Most recently, Peter was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, where he shared the many challenges our young people are facing in our communities.

But more than that, he shared how your support is meeting those needs for the most vulnerable.

More than 500 dignitaries and members of the community attended the breakfast, including Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Lady Mayoress Nina Schrinner, local councillors and members of parliament.

In his speech, Peter shared the story of a young woman who had grown up in an abusive home, and had developed a deep sense of shame – not for what she had ever done, but for what had been done to her.

She grew up being told she was stupid and worthless… And then she met her school chaplain, Matt.

In a letter written by this young woman she said:

“For some reason I felt safe in [Chappy’s] office. I poured out my heart to him. I told him the truth about my life. He was a safe option, and the only person I’d ever opened up to.”

Peter went on to say…

“[Chappy] was able to find her a safe place to live, a church family who took her in for her last years of schooling.

“It was the first time she’d been part of a normal, functional family. She discovered for the first time in her life what it meant to be loved. She discovered for the first time what it meant to have someone who thought she was worthwhile, not worthless,” said Peter.

While this specific story may be new to you, it’s a story you’ve heard many times before as a vital part of our SU family. You are making these stories of hope possible through your prayers and financial support. Please continue to pray with us for our ongoing ministry, particularly as we reach out to new communities as SU Australia.

Pray also for our political and community leaders to continue to see the value that trusted and trained Christians bring in meeting the needs of our young people who are searching for meaning, purpose and hope.

Posted: 14/07/2021

He’s been going to SU-Schoolies for 15 years – why does Jeff Burstow keep coming back?

When Jeff Burstow attended his first SU-Schoolies as a school leaver in 2006, he had no idea the impact it would have on his faith journey 15 years later….

When Jeff Burstow attended his first SU-Schoolies as a school leaver in 2006, he had no idea the impact it would have on his faith journey 15 years later.

“I first heard about SU-Schoolies when my older brother went along,” Jeff recalls.

“He had such a great time. So based on his experience, paired with the fact I wasn’t into the party scene on the Gold Coast, I was keen to go.”

Jeff had the time of his life and it was this experience as a schoolie that inspired him to come back as a leader – so he could give that same experience to other young people. 15 years on, and he’s still loving it.

“It’s my favourite week of the year,” Jeff says.

“Some of my best Christian friends are friends I met on SU-Schoolies – friends that have helped me grow in my faith. I love getting to hang out with them and show the schoolies a good time.

“I love getting alongside young people as they take the massive step from school into adulthood. To show them there’s other ways to have real fun in life than just drinking and messing around.”

Jeff says the community at SU-Schoolies has changed his life and has got him through some tough times – and he wants to share that experience with other school leavers.

“It’s my hope that some of the schoolies look at us leaders and think ‘these guys are really enjoying life – I want to be a part of that’,” Jeff says.

“The more Christian friends a young person has around them – the easier it will be for them to continue to live in and walk out their faith.

“Each year I go back to SU-Schoolies I’m encouraged and lifted up again as a Christian. It’s an event that reminds me of the love that Christian brothers and sisters have for each other.”

SU-Schoolies Director Hannah Machin says longtime leaders like Jeff are essential to the success of any faith-based camp.

“Jeff’s passion to see young people introduced to Jesus inspires me – I dread the day when he’s not able to come on SU-Schoolies,” Hannah says.

“If you’re considering coming on SU-Schoolies as a leader – do it! You’ll see God move in incredible ways and make lifelong friends along the way,” Hannah adds.

SU-Schoolies registrations are open now, but spaces are limited!

If you know someone graduating this year or next, bookings are open for 2021 and 2022.

Register at su-schoolies.com

Posted: 13/07/2021

NAIDOC Week 2021 – Heal Country

NAIDOC Week is a chance to celebrate the important and invaluable part that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples play for all of Australia. The theme for 2021 is…

NAIDOC Week is a chance to celebrate the important and invaluable part that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples play for all of Australia.

The theme for 2021 is “Heal Country”, and cleverly invites us into a discussion about multiple layers of meaning, challenge and hope.

First there is the now familiar call to be good stewards to our physical land, combatting destructive and wasteful practices, and learning from first nations peoples about ancient ways of caring for land, culture and heritage.

This environmental concern is deeply founded in the unique understanding that First Australians have to the word or concept of “country”, though it is can be a difficult concept for non-indigenous people to grasp. As one of those non-indigenous, I recognise I am still learning and can only try to explain my understanding.

To first nations peoples, country is intertwined into their cultural identity and is often spoken of as if it had a consciousness, like a living entity. It speaks of a strong connection to origins, both in terms of ancestry but also the land upon which ancestry was grounded. And these origins hark all the way back to creation – God’s creation – where all people were formed from dust, the very land itself.

Therefore healing country longs for a restoration of both the land and our sense of connection and belonging.

Finally, the theme highlights (for me) that our nation needs healing. We are battling a global pandemic, experiencing fierce division over race, sexuality, politics, wealth and so much more, and through it all our First Australian peoples continue to endure historic trauma, deprivation and disadvantage, and have still to find their fulfilled place within our multicultural society.

My faith powerfully convicts me that all people were made equal, in the image of God, and yet our social brokenness is not of his making but is a consequence of humanity’s rejection of God.

Likewise, I am convinced that our God loved this broken world so much that he came as a humble man, Jesus, to offer us healing as individuals, families, communities and countries. Then he gave his followers what he called a “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:16-21), where we strive with his help to make things right again.

This NAIDOC Week , “Heal Country” is a call we can say amen to, on so many levels.

 

About the author…

Tim works in Cross-Cultural Innovations for SU, seeking to foster vibrant ministry with people of minority cultures and other faiths. Prior to this Tim spent 8 years with The Feast in the UK, engaging youth of different faiths, and 10 years in various roles with SU Qld.

Posted: 5/07/2021

Why I Run – with Marg Peril

“Let chaplaincy be your motivation and it will inspire you to keep going.”   Meet Marg. Grandma, adventure-enthusiast and knee-surgery survivor.  Marg joined #TeamChappy in 2018 – which also…

“Let chaplaincy be your motivation and it will inspire you to keep going.”

 

Meet Marg. Grandma, adventure-enthusiast and knee-surgery survivor. 

Marg joined #TeamChappy in 2018 – which also happened to be the year Bridge to Brisbane experienced torrential rain. Despite this setback, the morning of Race Day, Marg donned her yellow tutu, laced up her walking shoes, and was determined to reach the end with confidence.

“It was hard to even show up in the morning because I knew I was going to get soaking wet. But #TeamChappy was there to cheer me on. I was the last one in and they motivated me all the way to the finish line!” says Marg.

“I like that everyone is having fun and doing the race for different reasons. For me, it was personal. Not only was I raising money for SU and being an advocate for children that need someone to walk alongside them in their time of need, I was proving to myself that physically I could do it.”

Marg had two total knee-replacement surgeries over 2017 and 2018, but not even this major surgery could dampen her spirit and enthusiasm to raise awareness for our young people.

Now Marg can’t stop herself from exploring on-foot! Here is her recently adventuring over the Gateway Bridge.

“I used the fundraising platform to get my story out there, and together my husband and I raised around $1,200 for local chaplains,” says Marg.

“I worked with Scripture Union for many years in lots of different roles, and I never got tired of seeing children receive support from their chaplain. Being part of something that builds community was my passion, and I love being able to raise money to support this work.”

“On the day, I think it’s important to go at your own pace and respect how you’re feeling. Remember that you’re doing your own race amongst all these other people who are doing it for their own reasons – let chaplaincy be your motivation, and it will inspire you to keep going.”

Well done Marg, and thank you for your commitment to raising funds and awareness for our young people! You’re a champion!

Posted: 25/06/2021

Why I Run – with Julian Williams

“When it comes to fundraising for Bridge to Brisbane, I know where the money goes and I can see the difference chaplaincy makes.”   Meet Julian. Father, former baker,…

“When it comes to fundraising for Bridge to Brisbane, I know where the money goes and I can see the difference chaplaincy makes.”

 

Meet Julian. Father, former baker, and technology whizz. 

Julian joined #TeamChappy in 2019, but life took a dramatic turn after he was unexpectedly diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes a week after the run. 

Nearly two years on, Julian has been learning all he can about his ‘new normal’ and how to better care for his body from the inside out. Despite his health challenges, Julian has selflessly determined to grow from the challenges he’s been through in the past few years, and is still committed to making a difference in the lives of young people and their families.

“I’ve learnt that when you go through something life-changing like an illness or loss, it makes you more aware of what others are going through,” says Julian.

“When I think about kids in schools who lose parents or go through awful things, I know how important it is for someone to be there for them. I’ve seen how sowing into chaplaincy directly helps kids and that’s why I run.”

Julian recently did some personal fundraising to raise money for a diabetes pump, which allows him to regulate his insulin levels. He drew on his past career as a baker and raised funds by selling a tasty selection of sweets and homemade goods.

Within 6 months, he’d reached his goal and picked up his new pump.

“I don’t find it difficult to fundraise by talking to friends and family about things I care about, but at the same time, I’m aware that not everyone is in the position to donate,” says Julian.

“When it comes to fundraising for Bridge to Brisbane, although it’s a much bigger scale than the fundraising I did for my insulin pump, I know where the money goes and I can see the difference chaplaincy makes.”

With race day fast approaching, Julian is excited to get back into the thick of things.

“On the day, the atmosphere of 20,000 people all together is really exciting. Everyone encourages you to keep going. In 2019, there were about 100 of us from #TeamChappy and we all really felt like part of a team. It was great to see all the red and yellow colours standing out in the crowd as you’re running along.”

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

Posted: 25/06/2021

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

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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