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Boys’ Brigade volunteer Rod Hurman Photo: Supplied

Making boys into men

Volunteering with the Boys’ Brigade has provided Uniting Church member Rod Hurman with the opportunity to mentor youngsters outside the regular church community. Dianne Jensen reports. 

When it comes to racing billy carts, organising camps and mentoring young men, Rod Hurman from Broadwater Road and St Marks Uniting Church Mt Gravatt has plenty of runs on the board.

Rod has spent nearly 30 years volunteering with his local Boys’ Brigade Company (45th Brisbane Company), including service as regional president and coordinating the state-wide junior camp and annual State Soapbox Derby. He was awarded the 2016 Doug Adam Medal for distinguished service.

“Service to me is a natural response to God’s grace—be it spontaneously in my daily life or on an organised basis such as Boys’ Brigade and other ministries of the Uniting Church,” says Rod, referencing Luke 17:10 (GNT) “We are ordinary servants; we have only done our duty”.

The Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades have been ministries of local churches across denominations in Queensland for more than a century, with the aim of developing life skills and building faith in youngsters who would not otherwise engage in church life.

Rod finds it hard to single out one memory from so many positive experiences over the years.

“How do you compare the excitement of the boys receiving their awards at the end of the year … to interviewing young men on their Christian journey and then seeing them proudly receiving their Queen’s badge from the Governor and sharing that moment with their parents, to seeing the transformation of a shy young boy on his first camp to a mature lad helping other boys settle in.”

While working with young people means that he may not see the fruit of his ministry, Rod lives with the hope that their lives have been touched.

“I pray that however I can bless them is enough to nurture that seed that has been sown, and that they continue to question and seek answers from others around them.”

What does he love most about the Uniting Church?

“I can be me, and you can be you, and we will thrive on (not just tolerate) that difference as we worship God, build up the kingdom and serve our community. I believe our diversity in terms of our cultural background and how we live out God’s word gives us credibility in the community.

“With ministries such as Boys’ (and Girls’) Brigades we have a great opportunity to reach into the community of both churched and un-churched and bring God’s word through Christian-based life skills not only to the youth in our care, but also to their parents.”

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