Sports Chaplaincy at Bright Church

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Writer Warren Hodge

A special service was held at Bright Church of Christ on Sunday March 5 to acknowledge the reappointment of one of our elders Graeme Mancer as Sports Chaplain at the United Bright Football & Netball Club (UBFNC). Graeme is a SCA (Sports Chaplaincy Australia) trained and appointed chaplain. Graeme began in this role last season and quickly built a high level of trust in his capacity to listen and support a wide cross-section of people at the club. Long-term residents of Bright, Graeme and his wife Janiece are well known community members and have been strong supporters of our local club for many years. Graeme is highly visible and accessible at the club on match-days, in the clubrooms, and at Thursday night training which also involves a community meal.

There was a packed to overflowing house for this chaplaincy service, including around 20 representatives of the club—players, coaches and committee members. UBFNC and our church cross-publicised this special service, with the club enthusiastically encouraging attendance. All present happily participated in the worship, and were led through communion by Graeme, followed by a message from myself. We prayed a blessing upon this chaplaincy ministry, and over the well-being of the club for the season ahead. The morning was rounded out by a sumptuous morning tea.

This sporting club appreciates the partnership they have with Bright Church of Christ, which also includes a significant financial sponsorship, and further involvement on the committee and sponsorship sub-committee. Acknowledging this partnership, Bright Church of Christ has a large sign on the fence at our home ground Pioneer Park, and a mention in the match-day 'record'. Various members of our church community get to the games, particularly supporting the footballers by assembling at the fence and getting out onto the ground for the quarter and three-quarter time huddles. We now look forward to our annual Saturday morning breakfast together, usually held before a home game in June, and most recently held in the function room at Pioneer Park. Having been run for many years now, over a hundred people from club, church, and the local area come together to celebrate community with a guest speaker. We also look forward to the new stand and clubrooms to be built after the current season.

This is surely evidence of the blessing and purpose to be experienced when you get out beyond the church walls and embrace groups of people meeting together within your local neighbourhood. More reports on the day can be found at the UBFNC and church Facebook pages, and also SCA newsletter. Go the mountain men and mountain maids of Bright!

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