As part of our member protection practices, Surf Life Saving SA offers all Surf Life Saving Clubs the opportunity to appoint a dedicated Club Chaplain through our partnerships with Sports Chaplaincy Australia and Lifesaving Chaplaincy. Our team of Lifesaving Chaplains are in place to promote wellbeing and support our Members who are facing challenges in their lives. Over-seeing the Chaplaincy program in South Australia are State Lifesaving Chaplains Brian " Bandy" Edwards and Bruce Rankin.
Bandy Edwards says the role of the Chaplains is to "support the members and their families through good and tough times, with either personal issues or competitive highs and lows. They (the Chaplains) are impartial and are primarily concerned with the welfare of the people within Surf Life Saving".
Most of the Members who have used the Chaplaincy service are surprised at how informal and comfortable it is. Surf Life Saving SA staff member Sita Bacher says "I'm not a Christian, so I was a bit hesitant to get involved with Chaplains but now I know that's not what it's about. Bandy pops in for a cuppa about once a month to check on me and see how I am. It's great to have someone in my life who so openly cares about me and who I can talk to about personal things in privacy and confidentiality".
"A Chaplain is person who cares for the welfare of people. They are all Christians but do not preach their faith to those who they serve. Being available for pastoral care for all Denominations and Faiths" says Bandy.
Bruce Rankin said "You certainly do not have to be religious to go to a Chaplain and while we are Christians, we do not preach or push our faith. Our focus is on the person and their concerns, unconditionally. We are there for the people within Life Saving, and not for any religious approach. Our heart is for the Life Saving community. People from any background are welcome to come to see us at any time. We do not judge and offer our help in any way we can".
The Chaplains are called as a matter of process in all major incidents involving Surf Lifesavers and as such are exposed to a lot of tough situations through their role in Surf. Bandy and Bruce love their role though; they both find it extremely rewarding.
Bruce says "The most rewarding thing about our roles is being there for the people of the club and associations, with any issue of concern, and we do this unconditionally and confidentially. To assist and care for people and see them move through the difficult times and celebrate the good times is a real privilege".
"It is a very trusted, humbling and rewarding position that focusses on pastoral care. Being a Chaplain is the most rewarding experience we have been involved with" said Bandy.
Clubbies can access the Chaplaincy service any time for any reason. When asked what kind of issues they deal with Bandy tells us "They range from critical incidents, drownings, accidents, suicides, grief and loss, bullying, relationship issues, employment, ethical issues, harassment and performance concerns".
You can seek support from a Chaplain on any issue that you feel you cannot discuss with someone else in confidence, or when you want a sounding board" says Bruce.
"Sports Chaplains are not counsellors, but are the initial “post to lean on”. Sports Chaplains have assisted in issues as diverse as; critical incidents, relationships, ethics, employment, suicide, grief and loss, club culture, domestic violence, sexual abuse and harassment. Just to name a few. If you feel you just need a chat, someone to listen to, that is fine as well" said Bruce.
Conversations with Chaplains are confidential and Chaplains are trained in crisis care, discretion and sensitivity. "This can be helpful within clubs, as Chaplains are often the sounding board that helps people clarify their thoughts. Situations like domestic violence, sexual abuse and relationship problems, which we have been involved require confidentiality, conversations about any issue also require confidentiality. Trust is so important when someone is working on an issue" said Bruce.
Connect with a Chaplain Today
If your club has not a designated Chaplain, you can contact either Bandy or Bruce from the list below, they will assist you with your issue, or go direct to the most appropriate Chaplain. Sports Chaplaincy Australia supports and provides resources for all Sports Chaplains and the community they serve.
Sports Chaplains within Life Saving in SA, are as follows;
Bandy Edwards, State Centre SLS, 0438 523 158
Paul Kingham, Glenelg SLSC, 0488 135 955
Liam Clifford, West Beach SLSC, 0431 830 234
Belinda Uppill, Christies Beach SLSC, 0417 288 868
Cassie Willmott, Seacliff SLSC, 0490 394 160
Andy Bedford, Moana SLSC, 0435 597 644
Daniel Scadden, Aldinga Bay SLSC, 0405 228 649
Kiara Bedford, Aldinga Bay SLSC, 0481 558 903
Bruce Rankin, Henley Beach SLSC, 0411 499 923