2020 certainly highlighted the prayerful dependence, adaptive strength and persevering spirit of the SU Movement as we adapted what we do and how we do it to still safely share the Good News with children, young people and their families across NSW amidst bush fires, COVID-19 and a potential merger into SU-Australia.
Please see below some important updates, as we approach a new year of ministry under God.
Announcement: Scripture Union NSW’s decision to remain as an independent Scripture Union Entity.
Scripture Union NSW was recently presented with an opportunity to merge with all other Australian state and territory Scripture Union entities. A decision as to SU NSW’s participation in the merger process was required of the SU NSW Board. After considering the opportunity, the SU NSW Board unanimously resolved to not participate in the merger at this time.
SU NSW’s decision does not prevent SU NSW joining an amalgamated body of Australian SU states and territories at a later time.
It is SU NSW’s understanding that the Boards of other SU states and territories have commenced the legal process of merging. After some further preparatory activity, those other individual SU states and territories will vote in March to ratify their participation.
SU NSW’s decision not to join the proposed merger was not made lightly and the Board had good reasons for doing so. The Board was not persuaded that committing to the current form of the proposed merger was the best act of stewardship at this time.
- They did not believe they had seen a plan for shared mission that justified an irreversible merger.
- They did not believe there were enough safeguards in place to protect the current assets of SU NSW.
- They did not see an adequate plan to mitigate some of the identified risks to the merged entity.
- They did not have confidence that some of the different emphases in how SU NSW chooses to work out the SU Aims Beliefs and Working Principle would be able to be maintained.
The decision to remain as an independent SU entity means SU NSW will maintain its own legal and governance structure. If the merger proceeds for the other states and territories they will operate as a separate legal entity with a single governing Board.
While not joining at this time, the SU NSW Board looks forward to unity and interdependence forged by continued collaboration on SU projects around Australia. We celebrate that we share the same vision with our SU brothers and sisters across Australia to see God’s Good News made known to children, young people and families.
However, we also celebrate the diversity that is inherent in how SU movements are expressed, shaped and governed across the world. Like other SU movements across the globe we value that the SU Aims Beliefs and Working Principles allow the freedom to determine how best to meet the needs of those in the local context; the SU NSW network of volunteers and work well with the churches of NSW.
SU NSW have used the merger discussions to do a big rethink of what we value most.
- We value that we have always been a movement of volunteers, supported by a small staff team, united by a by an earnest desire to reveal God’s word to others.
- We value that our movement promotes a ‘homegrown’ approach, encouraging people across NSW to have a go and get hands-on experience in running activities for children, young people and families.
- We value that our volunteers have the freedom to creatively invent spaces for God’s Good News to be heard, that align with their own passions and interests, whether that be at a fishing camp, Spikeball event or during a lunch break at school.
- We value how God uses opportunities to refine, encourage, grow and strengthen his people as they lead School lunchtime groups, camps or on mission.
- We value the unique opportunities SU NSW has prioritised over time, in order to openly share God’s Good News with children, young people and families.
- We value the choices we have made to fund our programs in ways which allow us freedom to talk openly about our mission and purpose to all who have contact with us, from volunteers to participants in our activities.
- We value the legacy of past supporters of SU NSW and honour that.
- We value that we seek to be entirely dependent on God, expressed in prayer and Bible reading and we look to him for solutions and strength.
Thank you Glenn!
The decision not to join now does not prevent us from strengthening collaborations with our SU partners both within Australia and Internationally.
In fact Glenn Coombs has finished up as Interim State Director at the end of 2020, allowing him to move to a new role, supported by SU NSW, focused on fostering both international and national collaborations. We have seen great ways of collaborating, especially during COVID-19 and we intend to build on these opportunities.
We are now looking to appoint a new State Director to lead SU NSW. Key SUFM directors are using this season to plan for the next 10 years of missions to families. Camp directors will meet in late February to plan how best to regroup in light of the disruptions of COVID-19 and seed new camps. We have learnt much from our SU partners around Australia regarding schools ministry which we can use to strengthen our work. The Board are also keen to provide seed funding for new ideas in partnership with local churches across the state.
There are so many opportunities ahead. We are thankful to God for his provisions to SU NSW over many years and look to Him for guidance, trusting in Him who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine, by his power at work within us.
The Board wish to thank you for your continued support of the work of SU in NSW.
Scripture Union NSW Board Chair
As we approach a new year of ministry amidst a continued season of change, please join us in praising God for His providence in mission at this time and prayer for continued ministry breakthrough across NSW in 2021.
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