NRL and Chaplains catch up at State of Origin
Our Rugby League fans, and most true sporting fans in Australia, will understand the significance of The State of Origin, one of the greatest sporting events that happens world-wide. Yes, the author is a NSW dweller, and will highlight that our Baby Blues did win the series this year which has made it even more significant 🙂
Well it was a cold Sunday night in June in Sydney and the NRL Wellbeing Unit had actually flown all our NRL chaplains in from across the country to be there at ANZ stadium for the second game. Some great comradery and quality banter was heard between our chaplains as they were given the opportunity to witness the Blues take out game 2 and thus take out the State of Origin series for 2018.
The next day in Narrabeen at ‘Sargood on Collaroy’, a beach resort for people with spinal cord injury, we gathered all those chaplains and some of the NRL Well-Being staff together to collaborate and share ideas. The NRL intentionally place SCA, our chaplains, as a key part of their support structure for their clubs and the Rugby League system. Sitting in a room with NRL staff that were, Christians, Mormons, athiests and others all working together with our chaplains, to see the role of the chaplain become more influential and better equipped to meet the needs that they see in their NRL communities.
A comment from Grant Stewart, Storm chaplain. ‘ I felt it was of great value and an excellent platform for discovering ways to work together for the well-being of all those associated with Rugby League. I can’t remember a better sense of connection and purpose in all my team spent in Chaplaincy with Storm. I sense that this will be the beginning of a new era of an effective and warmly welcomed partnership between Chaplains and the NRL Wellbeing team.’
Our chaplains vary in denominations including Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, ACC and Salvos; varying in age spread by nearly 50 years, and different cultures and races represented. We had 1 chaplain who has just been in the role for 4 weeks and another who had been there for 32 years, and everything in between. It really did highlight the fact that our chaplains all look different and come from very different back grounds but the one true thing that connects them is their love for Jesus and people (and let’s not forget their love for sport).
Having the privilege to be in meetings with sporting bodies across the country and continually hear their openness and hunger to see chaplains placed in sporting clubs from local to elite sport, it’s always encouraging and makes me thankful for the great work all of our chaplains have done in the last 30+ years to see this favour open and the opportunities that we have been given. The NRL again highlighted the value they place on chaplaincy, they see chaplaincy as a central part of the support they provide to the people of rugby league and I’m encouraged to see what the future holds and the opportunities that awaits the church to be positioned to serve their local communities through sports chaplaincy.