Sitting in her Year 12 classroom at Mount Gravatt State High School on Brisbane’s south-side in the early 1990s, Sue Page never thought she would one day join the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and be providing critical pastoral support to deployed personnel.
More than 30 years later, and now Squadron Leader Page, she has spent nine years as a specialist reserve chaplain in the Air Force.
Sue is a Uniting Church Minister and her pastoral ministry experience, as well as being the partner of a full-time ADF member, prompted her to join the Air Force Reserves.
‘I thought I could bring a helpful perspective in chaplaincy to those serving and their families,’ said Sue.
‘My role in the ADF involves offering spiritual or pastoral support, guidance and or advice on work-related stress, or personal issues.
I really enjoy the varied aspects of my role, which have me visiting units and providing support and advice to command on workplace morale.’
Posted to No. 24 Squadron at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, Sue’s commitment to professional development was recently recognised when she won a coveted Defence 2022 Prince of Wales Award.
The Prince of Wales Award scheme recognises the dedication of ADF reservists and the valued support they receive from their civilian employers through the provision of up to $8,000 towards training and professional development. Each award is granted on merit, from a competitive field of applications.
Sue said she will use her award funds to pay for a company directors course through the Australian Institute of Company Directors as completing the course will help to enhance her capacity in her role as Associate General Secretary in the Synod of South Australia.
‘This is professional development that will directly impact my civilian role, giving me skills and access to resources that I do not currently have,’ she said.
‘I’m so grateful to receive this award. It is great that the church will benefit through my development in this course that Defence will pay for – a wonderful giving back to my employer for the time that I take off work to serve.’
June is the month for the Uniting Church Fellowship and Mission Support (UCFAMS) packing day, when cartons of clothing, shoes, manchester, stationery, toiletries and kitchenware are sent to predominately indigenous communities in Central, North and Western Australia, including Torres Strait island communities.