How SCA has been an answer to prayer and helped Liz Cummins find her fit in a desire to engage with her local community
I spent some time with Liz Cummins to hear about her journey of becoming a chaplain and why she is volunteering her time to help grow chaplaincy. This story shares what that looks like for her. Let me start by introducing you to Liz and then sharing some of her journey and her “why” behind what she does.
Liz lives with her husband and 4 kids (aged between 9 and 13) in Sydney. She works part-time as a school teacher and, yes, life can be very chaotic at times, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Most weeknights consist of homework, sports training, music lessons and church activities. Every Friday night and Saturday in winter, her family plays soccer with Hills Knights (Liz included). During summer they enjoy water sports, camping and basically anything outdoors. Liz and her family are a part of Telopea Church of Christ.
In October 2017 Liz’s neighbour Kylie was at a bible study with St Paul’s Castle Hill and she heard about sports chaplaincy from another lady who was a chaplain at her local netball club. Kylie later that week popped over to Liz’s and mentioned this and asked her what she thought about it. Liz never knew it existed but as soon as she heard the vision she knew she wanted to be a part of it. Both girls came to a level 1 training and a week later were completing their level 2 training. For a few years Liz has had a desire building within her to get more involved in her local community and she hadn’t seen exactly where she fitted until that conversation.
At the start of 2018 Liz & Kylie became the chaplains at Hills Knights where this season they have over 1000 players registered with the club, ranging from U/6’s to O/45’s. Since it is a new concept for the club, the main focus for the girls has been to let people know who they are and what a chaplain does.
In Liz’s words: “We just want them to know that we are here to show support and care to our club community. This has so far involved a monthly ‘chappies chat’ article on our club Facebook page and by ‘intentionally loitering’ at training sessions and on game days around the sporting fields. Through this, we have formed friendships with people within our club and have been made aware of a couple of families facing extremely difficult circumstances. We have been able to begin walking these difficult journeys with these club members and their families, and will continue to do so in the ‘off season’ as well.”
“Additionally, our club has a program each Saturday for our All Abilities players (All Abilities Football enables special needs children from 5-19 to participate in a fun, safe and less competitive football environment). This group of players have also participated in a number of gala days and social nights this season. We have had the pleasure of attending some of the Saturday programs and the additional events. I have felt privileged to be able to share in the journey with some of these awesome children and their families. The program coordinator and some of the parents have mentioned on quite a few occasions that they are extremely thankful and grateful for the support and encouragement we have been able to give them during these events. I personally feel that I have been blessed more by being a part of their programs!”
When Liz started on the journey of chaplaincy she observed there was need within SCA as a whole and felt she had some time and some skills that could benefit the organisation overall. So she spoke with her regional coordinator, in her words this is why:
“After hearing the vision of SCA, which is to put a club chaplain in every club in Australia, I wanted to help them fulfil that vision. They needed some extra hands with organising databases and I had a few hours each week that I could give, so I have. I see sports chaplaincy as one of the best ways to reach and serve ‘ordinary, everyday Australians.”
“With statistics showing that up to 70-75% of Australians are involved in some sort of sporting club, this is an amazing and unique opportunity to show Christ’s grace & mercy to my local sports community and the Australian local sports communities overall. How awesome would it be to have Christian’s intentionally and proactively providing pastoral care and support in every one of the 80,000 sporting clubs around Australia? So if I can use my gifts and talents to help grow and increase the impact of SCA why wouldn’t I? God has gifted us all with a unique set of skills and passions. If you are considering being involved with helping chaplaincy grow, I would encourage you to step up and step out as we can’t let this amazing opportunity go. The sporting clubs are crying out for chaplains so let’s make it happen!!”
We all have the opportunity to grow chaplaincy in whatever shape or form that looks like. It might be sharing about it in your bible study, it might be chatting to a neighbour or maybe looking at what skills and passions you have and how they might be able to help enlarge the impact of SCA in your local area, your state or the country. If you want to get more involved please speak to your regional coordinator or contact us at ua.mo1537288082c.ycn1537288082ialpa1537288082hcstr1537288082ops@m1537288082aet1537288082