1942 – 1952 "Laying the Foundations"
Australia had been at war for 3 years when, in 1942, Archbishop Howard Mowll turned his attention to the youth of Sydney.
Youth ministry at the time was often led by the young people themselves, which created obvious problems as more men and women entered active military service.
Archbishop Mowll, concerned for the young people of Sydney and for what they would come back to after the war, took the step of appointing Rev Graham Delbridge as the first Chaplain for Youth in 1942.
The challenge for Graham was enormous, and under God, he laid the foundations that would forever change the landscape of youth ministry in Sydney. Sites were purchased along the Port Hacking River: ‘Le Meuse’, used for youth camps, was renamed Chaldercot in 1944, while Rathane served for welfare and spiritual work with returned service men and women, until it too was handed over for youth work in 1946.
That same year, a building was purchased in the city, named the Church of England National Emergency Fund (CENEF) Memorial Youth Centre, which became a centre for ministry, housing CEBS (Church of England Boys Society), GFS (Girls Friendly Society), Crusaders, the Anglican Board of Education and CEFDOS (Church of England Fellowship, Diocese of Sydney).
In 1950, the Youth Department was officially established, with Graham as its first Director. That same year, Rev Alan Langdon was also made Director for the Church of England Board of Education, a significant appointment for the future of religious education in NSW Schools.
You can read more about the history of the work of the Anglican Youth Department during the years 1942-1952 in The Delbridge Years. To purchase your copy of the book, click here.