Dr Mark Tronson and his wife Delma are the driving force behind Press Service International. They founded the young writers ministry in 2009. Throughout his active career, Mark has authored 24 books. The name Tronson means ‘son of the throne'.
In 1863, four Tronson brothers, left a rich family heritage in Ireland and England to join the Victorian gold rush. Thomas Blakeley (T.B) Tronson set up a drapery business in Gympie. In a nod to their rich Christian heritage, Mark and Delma included the family crest in their logo.
Mark worked as a train driver for 10 years, primarily out of the Port Kembla depot. He transferred to Wollongong and applied to Wollongong University as mature age student. He earned a theological degree at Morling college and achieved first class honours and two academic awards.
He was ordained in 1981 and began his career with the InterChurch Trade and Industry Mission as the Shell Australia industrial chaplain. It was there Mark met Kevin Gosper, the Australia track champion and the chairman of Shell Australia. Gosper was also the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice Chairman and the Australian Olympic Committee chairman.
The connection with Gosper clicked immediately with Mark’s keen sports interests. He was already writing hockey. He attended the Hong Kong 2nd World Congress in Sports Mission in 1982 (Cricket legend Brian Booth attended the 1979 World Congress).
In 1984 Mark served as the chaplain to the Australian Olympic team and in 2000 was sent to Lausanne, Switzerland to help the IOC develop the Religious Services Transfer of Knowledge. In 2009 Mark and Delma were awarded the Olympic Ministry Medal, presented to them by Carl Lewis
Mark recalled: “At that Hong Kong conference I noticed Julius Irving the world’s greatest basketballer of his era — standing alone — at that time I did not know who he was. Like a typical Aussie I went up and said hello, he told me about his family, and we chatted about Kangaroos — anything but sport. I realised elite athletes at his level are lonely people — they cannot tell whether someone is genuine.
“On my return — the Baptists endorsed me to ITIM to develop professional sport as part of the ITIM mission and for the next 5 years the Sports and Leisure Ministry developed under the umbrella of ITIM. ITIM operates on the basis that user pay (i.e. industry pays for the chaplain). In sport, officials at that time 98% were volunteers and no one was going to pay for a chaplain. This was when we initiated our faith funding in 1982 and those monies were channeled into ITIM who in turn paid me for 3 days a week (2 days with ITIM at Shell).”
Mark often refers to the Lord’s call. He founded the Sports and Leisure Ministry which recruited 150 chaplains into professional and amateur sports across Australia. He was chaplain to the Australian cricket team for 17 years. After that came what he calls Life After Cricket and his connection with the Basil Sellers AIS Respite facilities at Moruya and Tweed Heads. With support from the Basil Sellers, team Mark and Delma established two Basil Sellers Art Centres and two Basil Sellers Art Prizes.
They then founded Well-Being Australia
The CV is impressive. A comment by Mark was very appropriate. “Christians are faced with many good-option forks in the road, somehow they each need to seek the Lord which of those good-options to take knowing the Lord's touch upon their lives.”
The modern day investment by the Tronsons in their Young Writer programme is a testimony to their vision and their people person skills.
The Young Writer program was initiated in 2009 with five sports writers. That expanded a year later to cover different topics including IT, music, theology, education, life issues, family.
Now there are 85 young writers. Twenty internationals come from England, West Indies, South Africa, China, Mozambique, USA, Canada and the Philippines.
The team includes 44 young Australians from all states and 21 New Zealanders from the North and South islands.
Mark says, “The focus of the young writer ministry is to provide a vehicle for young Christian people to have their 'Voice' placed into the online market place of ideas. It's been a wonderful turn-around for many young people in their own faith and their readers — some get 75,000 people who follow their articles.
This young writer ministry is a wonderful blessing to a fresh generation and for Dr Tronson, he rejoices in the Lord — (he and his wife Delma have lived by faith finance as 'home missionaries' for 40 years — they have raised 4 children and are grandparents). This is the beginning — not by any means the end.
Disclaimer: I personally remember the beginning. In the early 1960’s I was the Sports Editor for WIN Television. Mark was publicity officer for the local hockey association. He made an appointment to ask me to provide the weekly hockey scores every Sunday night. I remember telling Mark, some sports were very unreliable in providing the information needed consistently. He made a deal… If Mark provided the scores they would be used. He never missed a week and he has been producing with that determination and consistency, ever since!
Ron Ross is a Middle East consultant for United Christian Broadcasters (Vision FM). Previously he was an evangelist with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) His career started at WINTV (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ron Ross previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/ron-ross.html