Shaping the next generation
Rev. Stuart Bollom is the new Director of Mission (School) for NSW and ACT Synod, a role he began on Monday 19 October.
According to Rev. Bollom, the role will see him working with Schools in the Synod, assisting them to, “find ways to better reflect the ministry and values of the church and to help link schools and students to local [congregations].”
“The role includes supporting and encouraging School Chaplains, who do an amazing job,” he said.
“The third part of the role is to work with the Schools Education Committee to explore the possibilities of establishing new schools in growth areas around South Western Sydney.”
“Schools have a huge privilege in shaping the future of the next generation and instilling values such as integrity, generosity, compassion and justice in response to the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. To work alongside Chaplains, teachers, principals, and school councils in that task, is very exciting.”
Rev. Bollom initially trained as an accountant with Price Waterhouse, studying for a Bachelor of Economics at Macquarie University, before taking up roles within the church at Leichhardt-Petersham Mission and Gordon Uniting Church.
He received his Bachelor of Theology from United Theological College and was ordained in 1990. He started his ministry at Guildford-Granville Uniting Churches, before moving to Newington as Chaplain. During this time, he studied a Diploma of Education through Australian Catholic University and a Master of Education at Sydney University.
Rev. Bollom has also worked in a variety of other educational settings, including as the Deputy Head – Pastoral at Oxley College. After 10 years in the role he stepped down to resume classroom teaching. He has taught in the Humanities area, History and Commerce to junior years, Business Studies, and Studies of Religion to HSC.
He says he believes that the Uniting Church has an important opportunity in school education.
“The message of the Church has never been more relevant to young people,” he said.
“To know that they are loved by God, and that they can make a difference in their world is fundamental to their ability to flourish as they navigate life’s joys and challenges. In a rapidly changing world, we need to be encouraging young women and men to join with the church in creating a more just, inclusive and caring community that reflects God’s love for all people.”
NSW. ACT Synod General Secretary Rev. Jane Fry welcomed Rev. Bollom’s appointment.
“I believe that it was Stuart himself (when he was chaplain at Newington) who described himself as a leader in the ‘largest youth group in the Synod’,” Rev. Fry said.
“In a church that’s growing old, it would be irresponsible to ignore the 10,000 children who currently attend our schools.
“Beyond the opportunity this gives the church to influence the formation of 10,000 souls, there’s also the possibility of engaging the whole church in the concerns that many young people express about their future. The church’s active support of the School Strikes for Climate are a recent example of this support. Stuart’s role will be pivotal in keeping the ongoing relationship between the church and its schools as constructive and creative as possible.”