Tag Archives: eu

A change

There’s some career-related news I’ve been sitting on for awhile and it’s finally time to make it public. I am leaving my position as a social researcher Anglicare at the end of the year and taking a sideways career step to work with the Sydney University Evangelical Union!

I will be employed as part of the Howard Guinness Project, a two year ministry trainee program that will employ me as kind of an apprentice university chaplain. There are eleven other people starting this trainee program with me, and in 2013 we will be joining a team of eight senior staff and 5 existing trainees who are already on campus working alongside the student group. It’s going to be an epic two years!

The particulars
I know there are plenty of people out there who have never heard of the Sydney Uni EU or the Howard Guinness Project. The student group (the EU) is an affiliate of the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students, which in turn is affiliated with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. Any overseas readers? I will be working alongside a group that is partnered with the Inter varsity Christian Fellowship (USA), UCCF (UK) and IFES-Nederlands (Netherlands). It’s a non-denominational evangelical Christian group, run by students and supported by graduates.

There is a list in my desk drawer at work with a list of things that will be awesome about working on campus next year. The list looks like this:

– get out of office
– can wear t-shirts
– experience seasons
– shorter commute
– work with awesome people!
– get to walk around and exercise
– see the sky more -> more vitamin D
– can cycle to work

There are also some serious reasons I am excited. I am excited to have two years to work with students in an important transitional period of their life. I’m hoping that there will be many opportunities to help Christians think about how to integrate their faith into their studies, passions and future work.I’m also hoping that I will get to share the gospel with many people who have never seriously considered Jesus as an adult. Personally I am expecting that the next two years will give me many opportunities to be trained in different ministry and “people” skills. I’m also looking forward to some experience of full-time, people-focused ministry work. I’d like to see if I can actually do it, whether this is a sustainable career option to consider in the long term.

Finishing up at Anglicare
In the midst of all the excitement there is also sadness about leaving my job at Anglicare. Even though I know that my geography brain is not going to switch off with this job move, I’m still going to miss being employed as a geographer. I will miss making maps, I will miss all my work friends, the Monday morning staff devotions, the way that there is always someone turning my attention to the marginalised. I will miss my access to the census database! I will miss helping churches and writing reports for the Diocese. I will even miss providing IT support to all the Emergency Relief social workers who struggle to use their database. I will be finishing up at Christmas so there’s only really a month to go before everything starts changing!

As part of my work I am collecting a group of supporters who will pray for me and the work on campus. If you are a Christian and are interested in praying for me in this new role over the next couple years, mention it in the comments or send me a private message and I’ll send you regular prayer updates by email.

So much excitement!


First Time Ministry Widow

Matt has been away for the last week on the National Training Event (NTE) – a massive conference where all the different Christian student groups from around the country get together to train for ministry and then go out and volunteer with local churches. I have had my fair share of NTE’s in the past (digging up this old LJ entry and this one too has made me all happy and nostaligic!) but this is the first time that Matt has left me to go for this long! He is away for 9 nights!

There is only one adjective for describing this week: Weird. It hasn’t really been sad. But it also hasn’t really been happy. It’s just been weird! Weird and unexpectedly tiring. I can’t work out exactly why, but I think it’s a combination of at least some of the following things:
– I am taking advantage of this lonely time to try and catch up with people who I haven’t seen for awhile.
– I didn’t realise how much housework Matt does, and it’s been tiring to do all his work as well as the work I normally do.
– I have to do things like run our fellowship group and pray for and support our group by myself while he’s away.
– I haven’t really been sleeping that well.
– I have had busy work days and worked a little bit overtime.

More writing about my week under the cut. And photos.

Exciting news!

It’s been on the cards for awhile but the time has definitely come to go public with this… Matt has a new job!

Starting in two weeks, he will begin a new job with the Evangelical Union Grads Fund, the organisation made up of and supported by Christian graduates from Sydney Uni who think that the Evangelical Union (EU) does a good job in sharing good news about Jesus with the rest of the campus. Matt will be part of the Howard Guiness Project, a two program that people can sign up to where they work alongside students in the EU in reaching out to the campus and try out full time Christian ministry for a couple of years. He will be one of 13 of these apprentice-type workers, affectionately called Howies, spending his days doing things like training students to run bible studies, encouraging them in their personal christian growth and and equipping them to spread the gospel in whatever way the campus needs to hear it. Matt will be spending most of his time working with students from Agricultural Science, Vetinary Science and PostGrad students from all faculties.

This will either sound really cool or really bizarre to you, depending on your own opinion of the value of Christian ministry, but I thought I would share it all anyway. And I think I would like to keep sharing stories about the things he will get to do, if they are entertaining enough!

The obvious flipside of this good news is that Matt is finishing up at CMS, which is very sad for both of us. The staff and missionaries that Matt has worked with since he started 3 years ago have been really wonderful to know and they have been inspiring models of serving God in lots of different contexts – in all sorts of occupations, all ages, all areas and communities across the world. And I’m including the accountants/ministers/techsavvy guys/writers/graphic designers that have worked in the office here in Sydney of course! So Matt’s last week at work will be next week at Summer School, the big CMS conference in Katoomba. We’ll be spending New Year’s with the staff and missionaries who happen to be at home, setting up the next day and then madly making a conference happen. Then it will be goodbye to CMS, and hello (again) to Sydney Uni!

Enough about Matt… my own news is that Anglicare have offered me a permanent full time position! Whoo!

The end is near: #8

My last ever Ancon is over and done with.

And what was it like? Click on this link and watch this video. It’s the most amazing video I’ve ever seen. At least in the last month.

Throughout the week, I was prepared to have some significant ‘final moments’ with my friends and with the EU in general. But it was hard to make them happen, just because most of my friends have moved on already. And there were so many new people that I had never seen before. There were 600 people there this year (160 more than last year) and it was so easy to get lost in the crowd.

everyoneThe crowd listening to Rowan’s talk.

So after the first couple of days, I decided to forget about grasping for those elusive final moments and just enjoy myself. The conference was really great in its own right. This year we were looking closely at the Holy Spirit, and it was amazing. There were so many challenging things to consider. The review group I was in got on like a house on fire. Everyone was open with their ideas and opinions. It was really comfortable and lovely.

review roupReview group #5

My first closure moment came on the Tuesday night, when I found myself eating dinner with a bunch of friends who had all started in the same year as me. Yeah! We laughed so hard remembering things that happened to us when we were in first year, remembering how complicated Ancon was in 2005 and sharing stories about the different times that Katay had thrown chalk at people in classrooms. The second closure moment was like this but better: the grads night on Wednesday. Matt came, and all my graduate friends, and we sat together during the main talk and it seriously did feel like first year! I was sitting with the same people again! Half the grads that came back were people who began uni with me. Hooray!

scienceSome of the cool science kids

On Thursday night, the pressure was on to do something memorable. It was my last ever night at Ancon, and my last ever night with the EU. Except that I was sick. Someone had brought a bizarre kind of disease with them to Ancon and by Thursday night almost everyone was infected with it. I was feeling really run down with coughing, so I sat at the back with my friend Amy. The talk was out of this world, it was so inspiring and challenging. It also went an hour overtime. At the end of the talk we stood up to sing together and I stood on my chair looking out over the crowd to read the lyrics off the projector. There were 600 people spread out in front of me, praising God and dedicating their lives to him with their voices, and I think that was the moment. I realised that I God will keep working through the eu whether or not I am there, and that’s OK. It was the best moment of the conference. And depsite hacking up my diseased lungs, I kept singing with joy and it wonderful.

beatles600 people singing All You Need Is Love by the Beatles

Anyway, I’m home now, and I still have this stupid cough! I went to the doctor and discerned that it wasn’t swine flu, which rocks. But it won’t go away.

I’m off again tomorrow for another holiday. The count down to full time work is on!

The end is near: #6

have been collecting pictures of places and spaces and objects that have some significance to me. Here are some of them.

The last day of uni

How bittersweet. It began with our very last Public Meeting team meeting.

Public Meetings Team
Public Meetings Team

And then onto the Thursday prayer meeting – also my last one! My friend Laura, who organises this meeting, wanted a photo of the group to brag to the other leaders about the number of people who turn up 😛 (I know this isn’t many people but sadly it’s one of the bigger ones! How is it that hundreds of people will go to bible study or public meetings talks or annual conference but not prayer meeting?). Laura had some trouble setting the timer on the camera. This photo took about five minutes to take. This was the third try.

Hooray Thursday prayer meeting!

Then it was onto morning tea with my friend Liz.


And then running into my friend Amanda who was busy rolling up an extensive amount of tangled red wool back into a neat ball. She is going to Melbourne tomorrow and, no kidding, she is preparing to re-stage the “get lost in Melbourne” advertising campaign with her friend while they are there. I followed her to Moore books where she met Mark who has, incidentally, also followed a ball of red string around Melbourne, although apparently in reference to a Something for Kate song rather than an ad campaign. Much less capitalist, Mark 😛

Amanda with her wool.

Amanda with the tangled wool and myself with the neat wool.
Mark took this picture for us.

I realised after I left that I forgot to take a picture with Mark too, so unfortunately I don’t have one to put up. However experts suggest that he probably would have looked something like this:

markymark Mark in Moore books sometime in the past.

After public meeting I stayed back for afternoon tea and I even got to play hackey sack, just like I was in first year again. There I was, in my Wishful Thinking hoodie and my COL shirt, playing hackey with my friend Simon who is an Engineer in the year above me and was one of the cool Engo guys who let me play hackey with them when I started uni. How nice. But the other guys we were playing with were young and/or exchange students so they probably didn’t appreciate the moment so much. You know, it was just a game of hackey.

The end is near: #5

These reflective uni posts are getting so much more frequent this week, and so much more self indulgent.

I’ve had my last class now. It was great. It was in the main quad, the beautiful iconic sandstone building, and it was with Vras. It was pretty much the best way to finish up.

There is one more public meeting to go. On Monday I get to hand over public meetings to someone else, although I still don’t know how that will be! Monday is the last General Council meeting I get to go to. The IT team has promised a chocolate bar to the person who updates their section of the website best, so I have been working to win that chocolate! I’m very proud of myself. I made a sweet banner.
Please, check it out and admire my elite html skilz. Ok. Maybe not that elite… Or you can just check it out to see what I have been doing with myself these last two years. Don’t forget to check out the links on the side bar – I am especially proud of the picture gallery.

This entry is thinly veiled procrastination from my third last essay – I’ve got 1600 out of 2500 words!

The end is near: #4

It’s been an interesting day so far. My last Tuesday at uni and I really do think I am letting it get to me.
This morning I read three psalms in succession. They were very good together: Psalms 113-115. One had a very global focus, one had a very Israel focus and the last one had both. But they were all about God’s glory and power and authority and graciousness to his people. I have been finding it harder to pray recently, but the Psalms this morning made it easy. While I sat at the station and waited for the train I prayed properly, not in the lip service ways that are so easy to fall into. I particularly asked God to help me be helpful in the ways I related to people today – to bring glory to him in my conversations rather than to elevate myself or slander other people (as is often the case).

Wow it was a good thing that I prayed about it this morning because there were heaps of opportunities today for me to do those things. But God was gracious. There were a couple of moments where stressful things happened with Public Meetings, but God gave me clarity of mind and instead of getting mad I was able to pray about things; I found myself being patient and humble. The one time that I broke down it was the exact moment that I ran into a very good and wise friend who had all the right words to say. And in all the other moments there were amazing friends who I didn’t realise I would miss until today. All throughout the the time before, during and after public meeting, they were there thanking me for my work, hugging me or praying for me. These guys were kids, they were the small fry who started uni two or three (or four!) years after me and I was the “leader” who get to watch out for them. But today they were there for me and it was a new thing and it was really really wonderful.

I have two hours of class left to go. And three essays.