Snags and song out in full force for tour gathering
VOICES were raised in song and supporters cleaned up sausages buy the hundreds as Warwick folk came out in force for a lively 'Back our Chappies' tour gathering in Leslie park.
Though the atmosphere was joyful, last night's event carried important and far-reaching undertones.
The statewide tour, to end in Stanthorpe tomorrow, was organised ahead of a High Court hearing to challenge Federal Government funding for chaplains.
Scripture Union Queensland chief executive Peter James said he was overwhelmed with the support from the town.
"It's only a small number of people against chaplaincy, in contrast every town we have been to, teachers, parents, principals and students say they love their chaplains," he said.
Mr James said he found the challenge to the funding "a little bit mystifying".
"If you look at what we are doing parents and schools can choose to opt out, this is compared to the hundreds of thousands of students who benefit from chaplains daily," Mr James said.
"Our agenda is simply to do good for children and young people."
At present, SU provides to 817 schools in the state chaplains who minister to the needs of more than half-a-million children.
"I was in Canberra three weeks ago and every politician I met was supportive," he said.
"It wasn't just lip service as inevitably almost every one of them told a story about the influence a chaplain has had in their electorate."
As Warwick was the second-last bus stop on the 6000km, three-week journey throughout the state Mr James said he had a fair idea of the support behind them.
However, he said it was still too early even to guess what the High Court's decision might be.
"We have seen it across the state that people love their chaplains, so we will still be here one way or another," he said.
The tour has visited more than 20 Queensland communities including Mount Isa, Longreach, Cairns and Stanthorpe.
SU has also offered residents the opportunity to add their name to the long list of Australian's who support the role of school chaplains.
More than 70,000 people have filled out Statements of Support ahead of the challenge to Government funding for school chaplains in Australia.