From The State Director - October Update
As the weather warms and COVID restrictions are eased, we can sense a thawing and growing of hope and optimism. I am seeing a sense of purpose and optimism as we plan for summer missions and camps, support ministry in schools and local communities. Our recent Staff Conference saw our teams, chaplains and interns come together online for a time of connecting with God, with SU and with each other. It was a creative, fun and inspiring morning. God is at work in SU Victoria!
As a movement, we’re currently responding to both exciting missional opportunities and significant ministry challenges:
Regional Coordinators are working with SUFM, Theos and KidsGames Directors, and Coolamatong’s Jeremie Buck with Holiday Camp Directors to plan summer ministries. Whether adapting their regular program or moving online, trying something new, changing location or identifying alternate dates. Our volunteer directors are needing to make significant decisions this month. Please pray for them as they identify God’s best plans for their summer. We’re developing resources to support teams in each of these options. Torque, SU’s annual volunteer training day, is on Saturday 17th October. This year it will be an important day for equipping volunteers to serve in a different context and new ways over summer. Alongside the planning for summer, we are currently developing policies to support our teams in the management of critical events such as bushfires.
This month, we are responding to two significant challenges for our school chaplaincy. Along with other Victorian school chaplaincy providers, we are working to engage Victorian politicians against a Private Members Bill which seeks to remove school chaplaincy providers like SU, from the ongoing provision of chaplaincy in Victorian schools. Thank you to each of you who have advocated by writing to MPs. Your voices are being heard! If you haven’t yet written, please do. It is swinging MPs’ sentiment as they hear how valuable chaplaincy is. Alongside this, in mid-September, the roll out of chaplaincy funding for 2021 and 2022 was announced and all schools must submit new funding applications. Our Regional Coordinators are working with our current schools and engaging prospective schools as they support them to submit funding applications. We surveyed school principals at the end of term 2 and term 3 and they have consistently fed back how valuable their chaplain is and how supportive SU has been.
Alongside all of this grassroots ministry, we continue to move towards national integration. Leanne Palmer and Brendan Petty have partnered with SU ACT to provide SU Children’s Ministry Training for staff, volunteers and local churches both in the ACT and across Australia. Similarly, our first year chaplains participated in cross-cultural training run by SU Queensland. I am excited for the impact we will see in the lives of children, young people and families as we maximise the resources and expertise available across the movement.
As we emerge from a long season of isolation and lockdown, we do so with thankfulness to God. We have seen SU ministries rapidly adapt to provide online camps, training and discipleship resources. We’ve watched chaplains engage students and serve communities during lockdown. We’ve heard of the joy as day campers returned to Coolamatong and prep students shared in online farming experiences. God has been faithful, equipping and enabling staff and volunteer teams, and empowering and providing for us through your ongoing involvement, prayer and generosity. As we look to the months ahead, we can do so with hopeful anticipation.
‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.’ (Ephesians 3:20)
Thanks for being part of SU Victoria!
God bless you!