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You might not know, but in Australia, SU in each state is a fully autonomous organisation. Since November 2015 there has been ongoing conversation about how greater collaboration and cooperation between us all could further and grow ministry across the country. Those of you who attended the National Conference in 2016 loved the shared heart & vision of SU across Australia. Last year, many of you gathered to consider the possibility of a national organisation, what the issues are for us here in the West, and where are things at now?

In 2019, discussions have moved to the process for joining SU together across Australia. Key staff have dreamed together and always at the heart has been the question of how to grow ministry – through better support, more resources, new initiatives and collaborative wisdom. The Chairs and Directors of each state see great benefit in nationalising and while there are still many considerations to deal with, a vibrant vision is emerging of greater sharing of effective ministry tools and development of ministry in new places…
It’s an exciting time for SU in Australia!

Come along in May to one of the Q & A sessions to hear more and to explore what this new development means.

Thursday 23rd May 7.30pm, south of the river (contact SU office for address).

Monday 27th May 7.30pm, at SU office.

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SUWA Orientation
Wednesday 13th June, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Saturday 22nd June, 9am – 12pm

See the website for more information: www.suwa.org.au/orientation-training/ or contact El at el.holmes@suwa.org.au or 9371 9100.

Mental Health First Aid
If you are interested in completing your Mental Health First Aid (a 2-day course), please email an Expression of Interest to our Training Coordinator, El Holmes. el.holmes@suwa.org.au

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Opening an office upstairs at 931a Hay St and appointing a staff worker were significant steps of faith in WA in 1957. In that year the wonderful Barbara Chappell was appointed as the first staff worker, to be shared between SU, CSSM and the ISCF of Crusaders, before the Scripture Union of WA was officially formed in October 1959.

Barbara’s many years of service as a SU staff member then a volunteer was a great model for the mainly young leaders who comprised the leadership in those early days.

Barbara passed away peacefully in late February. She was the widow of Dr Peter Chappell, who was the first chairman of SUWA.

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SU WA is a movement of passionate Christians belonging to over 250 churches. We long to see children and young people experience the love of Jesus in relationship and community and to have the opportunity to come to know and follow Him. Furthermore, for young people to grow in their walk with Jesus and in Christian leadership as they serve and are trained.

Check out this little snapshot of the impact we’ve had in the lives of children and young people as we live this out together:
• 83% of young people who attend an SU camp have said they’ve grown significantly closer to God as a result.
• 85% of attendees on LEAD Camp feel more confident, equipped and empowered as a Christian leader through camp.

Praise God for this work He is doing in the lives of children and young people!

There are many great new ministry paths happening in 2019, with a reboot of Schools Ministry, development of Reel Change Digital Story-telling and the new Journey Youth Ministry support program. These ministries are all partnering with churches to take the good news of Jesus to young Western Australians. Read about some of them in this SU News.

Money from programs covers some costs, but we cannot do this work without the support of people like you. This June, we will again offer 50% tax deductibility for your gifts, but we are working hard to increase this again in future. Let’s pray together for God’s faithful provision for His work.

Blessings, Kent Morgan

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Veta has got off to a really good start in 2019. The students, along with chaplains and teachers, got together for the first retreat of the year in mid-March. It was a great time of community and growing relationships together.

The first retreat focused on engaging with the Bible. It is so important that, as followers of Christ, we learn to engage with Biblical texts as best as we possibly can. Reading the Bible in context, understanding the audience that it was written for and understanding why it was written are all things we looked at through the weekend with the students.

Please keep the second retreat in your prayers at the endof May where we focus on the Mission of God.

Taylor Cowper

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For over 25 years, schools ministry has been a complex and changing space that SUWA has adapted to with varying success. Now in 2019 we sense God’s call to reboot, and intentionally reinvigorate to take the love of Jesus into WA schools.

We’re dreaming of partnering with Christian schools to effectively share the good news of Jesus through video story-telling, Make a Difference workshops, life-changing camps and equipping student ministry and student-led Christian groups.

We see churches lovingly connecting with staff and students in government schools, with SU’s help. There are many opportunities; we are planning a new student ministry in government schools, linked to church youth groups. Before and after-school care is a great opportunity for SU to partner with churches to meet the needs of families and share good news with students.

It’s an enduring vision with a new edge and we think God wants to use SU and His church to transform lives and communities with the light and life of Jesus. We are excited by what God is doing.

An example of the kind of opportunities that have opened up for us in recent weeks is the willingness of both government and Christian schools to invite SU volunteers to help students at risk by commencing mentoring relationships. Mentoring is an SU program that has been sitting in the background for the last few years, but God’s Holy Spirit is raising it for us as a way of serving individual students, and easing pressure from under-resourced school staff in support roles such as Chaplains. Our role at SU would be to help set up a team (of at least 2 people!) of Mentors who we train and support to meet with a child each week, with the aim of showing God’s love and care for them.

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Breakaway is facing some new challenges but with that comes new ways to partner and grow. Breakaway camps have been running for about 23 years with the assistance of various sources of funding. Most recently Lotterywest has been funding Breakaway camps through Prison Fellowship. However, last year they ceased to fund our program which has meant we’ve had to re-think how to approach this ministry. It has made us question our mission and ask if this is God’s direction for us.

Together with Prison Fellowship and in consultation with carers, parents and case workers, we’ve seen a path forward for Breakaway. We know that prisoners’ children have unique needs particularly when facing the shame of having a parent in prison. We can play a key role in providing a loving, inclusive, healing environment for campers to explore faith and have fun on our camps.

The camping model has changed to a fee-for-service model rather than a grant model. A camp fee together with donations and in-kind services is how we hope the camp will be financially viable. We hope to bolster the camps with mentoring, get-togethers and a mid-year day trip. Future plans may see our volunteers supporting children to visit their parent in prison.

Breakaway camps don’t come cheap; transport, accommodation and food along with a paid specialist Team Leader mean that the camp fee will be $500 with a provision for some campers to have sponsorship. This April Breakaway camp ran under this new structure with a parent/carer afternoon tea when campers arrived back in Perth.

Our vision remains clear – to support prisoners’ children in knowing and seeing Jesus, to create a space for restorative healing and to have fun and adventure. Join us in supporting Breakaway through volunteering, hosting parent/carer afternoon teas or financial support.

Joyce Arnott

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The start of 2018 was spent praying into whether there was any scope left for SU WA’s arts department, and if so – what did that look like? We contacted schools, chaplains, teachers, parents and Youth Workers to find out what needs still exist in our schools’ programs…

One consistent piece of feedback was that young people were most engaged and affected by real stories – and so, ‘Reel Change’ was created.

We all have stories. Stories that have shaped who we are, how we see the world and how we understand God. ‘Story’ is one of the most underutilised tools we have; stories go far beyond simply relaying facts and data, they emotionalise information. They bring colour and depth, and they allow people to connect with our message in a deeper way. The Reel Change project came from the realisation that, every day, we experience incredible stories that God is writing into people’s lives, changing our idea of God – but we weren’t telling them!

The concept of ‘Reel Change’ is to find Australians who have stories to tell about how God has met them in different situations in their lives. We are including stories that touch on key issues that high school students are grappling with at the moment such as; mental health struggles, relationship breakdowns, forgiveness, addiction, loss, bullying, perseverance, sex, or family breakdown. Once we have filmed a story, we edit the footage into a short film ready to be sent into schools. Schools will be able to choose which films they would like shown based on the needs of their students and curriculum. We then aim to have local youth pastors and Scripture Union volunteers at the incursion presentation and small group times so that young people can discuss the issues and be connected with a local church.

Through these stories we want to tell the story of who God is, how He REALLY responds to people in these times, and how He helps, teaches, grows, and provides. And what do these things tell us about who God is?

Ultimately, we want these stories to spark questions in our young people. The quote, “The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon” perfectly summarises our approach.

We want everyone who sees these videos to leave with questions about God; to want to know more about Him, who He is & how He cares, and to wonder if He would meet them in their struggles and journeys? We want them to be so curious that, just perhaps, they ask Him.

If you would like to assist this project, there are ways to help. We are running a fundraising campaign through GoFundMe in the next few months for the equipment we need to continue filming. For more info, please go to the SU website or contact me (Bonnie) directly.

Our other needs are people-based; we require volunteers to help us edit the films and if you have a story of your own – any story about God’s work in your life – please contact us, we would love to chat! bonnie.hughes@suwa.org.au

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It’s been such a blessing and privilege to see God work through the School Camping ministry and our teams this year. Across 7 camps in term one, there have been many stories of God’s grace, goodness and faithfulness.

On a year 11 camp, the school staff wanted to push resilience and perseverance as key themes. One activity was to climb Mt Toolbrunup and one girl struggled the whole way. It took a lot of encouragement from the SU team, but after a long while, we got her to the top! In her feedback, her ‘take home’ was that she was going to be better at persevering and not giving up. So encouraging to see growth in students like that.

One camp, we had been discussing the gospel in five parts and my small group were super keen to talk more about it. Late in the week, I felt God prompt me to ask them if they wanted to follow Jesus and six of the girls said they would. I prayed for them and we talked more about what that meant.

After a freak accident saw a year 6 student have a suspected spinal injury and go to hospital, we witnessed God at work. There was a real movement of prayer among the students and many gathered in small groups to pray. Many non-Christian students encountered prayer in a new way and it was awesome to feel and see God impact them through this. We’re so thankful that the student made a full recovery too.

We give praise and glory to God, for the students that grew closer to Jesus through School Camps this term.

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2019 opens the door to some fantastic new ministry opportunities with SU, where you can use your diverse skills, passions and experiences to share the good news of Jesus with children and young people. Alongside the time-tested summer Holiday Missions, Holiday Camps (there is a camp and role to suit everyone, every school holidays) and School Camps (term one is jam packed!), also, there is ONE NEW way you can use your gifts for the Gospel with SU.

Soon to launch is a NEW digital arts ministry for schools, making short films of people’s stories about their walk with God. These films will screen in schools and provide opportunity for small group discussions. So far, we have filmed half a dozen stories and hope to finish a pilot episode soon. Bonnie has done a great job getting things started, but needs some help. Are you a film person or just love playing around with video? We would love to have a group of people who can volunteer to edit one (or more) short films, to form a team working with Bonnie in this exciting NEW ministry venture. If this is you, contact us now & say ‘Bonnie, I’m in’. bonnie.hughes@suwa.org.au

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