November 2019 Newsletter

Greetings to you all as we draw near to the end of the year.

There is a lot to reflect on this past year, and let me begin with a report from our last annual Prayer Day at Scotch College in September.

Though numbers were down faithful supporters who attended were again encouraged as we heard testimonies and shared in times of prayer and worship together.

Twelve primary schools and seven secondary schools were represented and of those, there were eleven active prayer groups praying in or for schools. Our thanks go to Scotch College for hosting us and providing refreshments and to all who helped in planning and helping on the day. Special thanks to their Chaplain Doug Campbell for his invaluable input as he spoke to us of his work.

Liz, from Scotch College, shared that at the school there is a diverse group of different religions, so they have called themselves the Chaplains Prayer Support Group, and have that unity particularly with their Chaplains. They meet weekly and pray for issues arising in the school, for their Chaplains, students and the wider school community. Their group is a mixture of school parents and grandparents, and they have got to know each other more and at times share meaningful passages of Scripture with each other.

Tracey, a Chaplain at Weeden Heights P.S. mentioned how important it is to get alongside the children, and get to know them. She and her husband have compiled a booklet titled, “The Real Me”, which is about a child finding their true identity; who they really are. It is a 4-week program which is working well, emphasizing that names have meaning, and discussing how labelling affects them. One exercise she mentioned is where negative words that are said are put in a bag with a rock and tossed away thus discarding the bad things said. The aim is to be their real self, and this applies to us all, remembering who you are, your rightful identity, and accepting that.

Sylvia, Kids Hope Coordinator at Anderson’s Creek P.S. mentioned it was her attendance at a Prayer day in 2016 where she was inspired to pray more for schools, and how the Holy Spirit stirs up a passion in our hearts. Sylvia started prayer walking around the school grounds and after a period of time ‘Kids Hope’ was started in the school. Then Nancy prayer walked with her and finally, in God’s perfect time, the school agreed to have a Chaplain – the right person in God’s time.

Sheryn, Chaplain at Warragul North P.S encouraged us that what works well for their prayer group is to email short prayer requests weekly and then meet monthly. Nancy organised a prayer walk around their school. Sheryn shared an example of answered prayer: A student was running laps around the oval and Sheryn prayed for her. Later the student came up to her and said she felt different after the run and felt at peace. Isn’t God good the way he prompts us to pray for others? Their group has grown in faith as prayers have been answered. Sheryn quoted Philippians 4:6.

Marg Perry was our guest speaker and is the National Program Director for Kids Hope Australia. Kids Hope is run in schools with mentors from a neighbouring church meeting with one child for one hour, on one day a week for at least a year. Many (like me, Marilyn), have been mentors for many years. It’s a one-on-one program and kids are matched with a mentor who often shares a common thread with them. The child is covered in prayer before the session time, and the mentor tunes in to the child’s needs, especially as things might not always go according to plan.

The Kids Hope banner shows a figure on bended knee. All work done is undergirded by prayer and scripture. “Thy Word is a Lamp to my feet and a Light to my path” – a lamp shows us the next step ahead and a light illuminates the whole area. The word of God shows us the way forward. We can have such an impact on many kids’ lives, and Marg communicated to us the importance of mentors.

Throughout this year, prayer walks have taken place in the east and west and regional Victoria. We encourage you to start or be involved in prayer walks in your area and experience answered prayer.

In April we mentioned we needed to have a bright light to guide us ahead in the future of PGS and to have the younger generation come on board. We have faith that God is taking care of this.

After much prayer and 12 years as coordinator of PGS, I am stepping down and moving on to new ventures. It’s the start of a new season, and a time of rebirth for more seeds to spring up and to reach out to new and young people. The old is past the new is to come.

Through networking, PGS connected with other school ministries such as Scripture Union, Korus Connect, Mustard, Kids Hope, CCCVaT, Inspire and Children’s Ministry Network (CMN) to work in conjunction with them. Nancy Moyle is involved with all of these, so will be the contact person overseeing all future correspondence. Nancy can also facilitate starting groups and leading prayer walks. So feel free to contact her via email nancy@cccvat.com.au or mobile 0409 425 587.

Nancy has been building relationships with schools, chaplains and churches, in the North, South, East and West of Melbourne aiming towards a Prayer Day type gathering annually in each of the areas to pray, worship and celebrate what God has been doing through prayer.

Lai Poh is also finishing up maintaining PGS website and database, and I want to thank her for her faithful service and commitment in this area over many years and for her support working on team with us and we wish you well. Bless you and thank you Lai Poh.

We wish Nancy God’s blessing as this time of rebirth grows and expands to more regions in Victoria. Thank you Nancy for your commitment and support on team over these past two years.

The PGS website will continue for a short time before closing down. Nancy will keep you informed and has set up a “Care Group for Schools” page on Facebook to inform. Donations given to PGS will be used to further the work of Prayer in schools and ministries with whom we are working.

Thanks to all who have faithfully supported and encouraged me and the team in prayer and financial giving over the years, and your faithful prayer for schools. Now as we face 2020, I’m trusting God to direct my paths as I put my trust in Him. He knows the plans He has for me and you.

I would like to close with this blessing from Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Thank you and may God bless you this Christmas,

Marilyn, Lai Poh and Nancy

MARCH 2018 NEWSLETTER

Greetings to you all as we face what is ahead in 2018.

As this year has commenced, though some uncertainties still remain, schools are back, prayer groups are gathering and churches are interceding for schools in their area. The verses chosen for this year’s theme are from Phil:4:6&7: ”Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God – and the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” So don’t be anxious about anything – the unknown or challenges which we face can leave you anxious and be unsettling. We can react to feelings of dread or fear, and when this happens our heart pounds and we gulp for breath, feeling anxious. Paul reminds us to not worry, but pray, and present your requests to God. When we feel anxious we need to call on the Lord. He calms our fears and gives us that peace that transcends all understanding (Phil 4:7), and He releases our fears and we feel at peace and rest. As the believer commits all his cares to God in prayer he then has no need to worry about them. We know God cares. So, let go and let God. The full dimension of God’s love and care are beyond our comprehension, so trust in the Lord to direct your paths.

It’s encouraging to hear of a PGS at a Christian School praying for a state school in their neighbourhood. We are praying that God will move in a positive way in those schools. If you have a prayer group would you consider interceding for other schools in your area? As we have mentioned before, can we encourage your churches to adopt and pray for schools in your neighbourhood? This is so we can have all our schools covered in prayer. Prayer has no restrictions. Our PGS team members are available to speak to your church or Christian group about PGS so people are more aware of us and so they know how we can assist others to understand how we partner with schools ministry. Please contact us to arrange a meeting. We look forward to hearing from you. We are still having prayer walks in some areas, and we encourage you also to do a prayer walk around your school and neighbourhood. Please continue to pray for our Chaplains in schools and for continued funding. Some have new appointments this year and all need to be upheld in prayer. Thank God for them.

We have pleasure in announcing our annual Prayer and Thanksgiving Day for Schools (NB new title) this year will be held at Donvale Christian College on Friday September 7th. Please keep this date free and invite your friends to save the date now. More details in July.

We are currently looking for others to come on board the Support Team and work in with us, and would value your prayers re this. Dalrene is having time out for the present and we thank her for her faithful prayer support and working with schools over the years. Bless you Dalrene.

I would like to challenge you all with this prayer, “Lord I pray that you would show me what work I am supposed to be doing, and reveal it to me. If it is something I am to do in addition to what I am already doing, show me that too. Whatever it is you have called me to do, both now and in the future, I pray you will give the strength and energy to get it done well, and may I find fulfilment and satisfaction in every aspect of it. Speak Lord, your servant hears”.

“What is God saying to you?”

Blessings to you all, and thank you for your support to PGS,

Marilyn Ford – PGS Co-ordinator, Nancy and Lai Poh

APRIL 2017 NEWSLETTER

Greetings to you all!

Good friends don’t abandon us when outside circumstances change. They stay with us through the good and the bad days. Friends are a gift from God because they are examples of the Perfect Friend, who remains loyal through the good and ugly days. As the Lord reminds us, “I will never leave you, never will I forsake you.” (Heb 13:5). Regardless of the situation, His love endures forever. This is our verse for the year from Ps 106:1, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, His Love endures forever.”

Human love doesn’t always last. The closest of friends may offend each other, and never resolve their differences. Family members may argue and refuse to forgive. Husbands and wives can drift apart. Human love can be fickle. But the love of God is one constant and enduring love which endures forever.

God’s unfailing love is found in the Scriptures, and the greatest proof of his love is the death of His Son, who died for our sins. As Easter approaches this brings the reality of God’s love to us, with His death and resurrection, and what joy to know He is alive and lives within us. We have the assurance that no matter what is happening in our lives or will happen that God’s love never ends. It endures forever, and we praise Him.

Psalm 106:1 has a meaningful impact in our family recently. We were blessed and gave thanks for our latest grandson Daniel, born 3 weeks early but a good weight. Soon after birth he developed breathing difficulties which necessitated his transfer to a big city hospital Newborn ICU, where he was put on a life support respirator and other medical aids. For a week we had many anxious moments, testing our faith and trusting in God, praying fervently for our little Daniel to be spared with a full recovery. We were very aware of others praying for him and the family and conscious of God’s love surrounding us through this time and we gave thanks to God each day as he improved. After 2 weeks Daniel had overcome all problems and was breathing alone, feeding well and gaining weight and was allowed home and continues to do well. God’s love endures forever and He cares for each one of us His children.

Looking ahead to what 2017 will bring, I pray that you will give thanks to God in all circumstances, knowing He is in control and will direct you in the work He wants you to do in our schools, churches and other ministries where He leads you.

In the past few months we have had 2 prayer walks in the Mitcham area, and if you would like to be part of a prayer walk in your area please contact me to help you plan that.

Our annual Prayer and Thanksgiving Day this year is at Heatherton Christian College on Friday 1st September. More information will be sent in July. We hope to see you there.

One of our Support team members, Nancy, is adding to this newsletter, so read on.

 

Blessings to you all,

Marilyn Ford (Co Coordinator PGS Vic.)

 

WHY I BECAME PART OF PRAYER GROUPS FOR SCHOOLS

Over Twenty years ago my daughter started in Grade Six at Blackburn Primary School and my friend Bronwyn Checkley invited me to be part of the Prayer Group there. We were a Home Schooling family at the time, so this meant my two other primary aged children, a pre-schooler and baby had to come to the prayer group as well.

This Prayer group was like a lifeline in some ways, as we prayerfully supported each other as well as the school. In those days the group had the freedom to organise special events such as providing morning tea for the staff, and contributing in other practical ways to the life of the school.

In more recent years I was working for the Victorian Council of Christian Education, providing resourcing to churches in the area of Children and Families Ministry and as a result of being in this role I attended one of the September Thanksgiving Prayer Day for Schools. I was so encouraged and blessed with the Service that I almost regretted not having become involved with PGS sooner.

During this time, I also started some prayer groups in the North, East and West of Melbourne, as well as Bendigo, and it was through the Bendigo Prayer gathering that I met Barbara who shared some lovely stories of how God had been using her within the school where she led a prayer group and helped run a breakfast club. This further inspired me to become involved with PGS.

As I am now Prayer Coordinator at CCCVAT (Christian Community Churches of Victoria and Tasmania), I found it vital to become involved more with PGS. CCCVAT oversees Chaplains in a number of schools and were also responsible for helping set up INSPIRE, which brings all the School Chaplaincy providers such as Scripture Union, Access Ministries and YFC, together once a term, to encourage one another, pray and advance the work of Chaplains in Schools.

Last year I began prayer walking with the Kids Hope Coordinator from our church and it has been so exciting to hear that his year there are two Christians on the School Council and a Christian Teacher new to the school who was formerly KH Coordinator at her own child’s school. God happened to place one of these Christian Mums as a Playgroup Leader in the group I help lead at our church. At my encouragement, she has organised and just held the first Prayer Group gathering for the School.

In this last month we have held two Prayer Walks in the Mitcham area, and a Mum I have been mentoring for years who has children at both the primary and secondary school is keen to start a prayer group there.

God is so good and faithful. It is an absolute blessing and privilege to be a part of the planning for our PGS Thanksgiving Service to be held on the first Friday in September each year.

Nancy Moyle