The late Rev Dr Gordon Keith Moyes AC, MLC, B.A., LL.D., Litt.D., D.D., F.R.G.S., F.A.I.M., F.A.I.C.D., M.A.C.E.. - 17,11.38 to 5.4.15 – went to glory with his family around him. Rev Dr Gordon Moyes AC was one of Australia's most respected Christian leaders. Easter is a time to also thank the Lord Jesus for such Christian leaders.
He was described by former Australian Prime Minister John Howard as "the epitome of effective Christian leadership" when describing the way he had grown Wesley Mission into one of the most dynamic and socially responsive church-based charities in the world.
This article is on Gordon Moyes contribution to me as a young minister founding the Sports and Leisure Ministry and as the Australian cricket team chaplain.
Gordon Moyes exercised a particular ministry of leadership to young ministers in national leadership roles. I was one of those way back in 1982. He took a particular interest in my development of the Sports and Leisure Ministry (SLM) which I founded and led from 1982-2000 (later Specialised Life-Orientated Ministries and since 2005 Sports Chaplaincy Australia).
Gordon Moyes recognised that professional sport in Australia was something of a bastion within the culture and at arms-length of Christian ministry. He saw my wisdom of placing this ministry squarely under Heads of Churches due to its high profile nature and accepted my offer to be our Patron, ensuring its strong evangelical foundational principles.
Gordon Moyes spoke at our conferences, he was the 1988 Winter Olympic Team chaplain in Calgary Canada and kept a pastoral watchful eye over me as he realised the pressures upon me with so many competing contingencies leading a team of 250 high profile volunteers (many of whom knew best). He set up a bi-annual meeting for me to unload.
As the Australian cricket team chaplain I was meeting many corporate leaders in the private boxes as I saw part of my role was as a good-will figure. This led to what I referred to as Executive Ministries and I asked Gordon Moyes to be the chaplain to the Prime Ministership. I wrote to the then Prime Minister Bob Hawke with a supporting letter from Gordon, and this led to Gordon being invited to meet privately with the Prime Minister on numerous occasions over several decades.
Gordon mentioned this in his book on his ministry which to me was one of the greatest of acknowledgements of my own ministry.
In March 1998 the Australian Taxation Office called upon me to give an account of the 92 motor vehicles SLM had on the road for chaplaincy use and 'sales tax' exempt. It turned out to be a full ATO Audit of the entire SLM administration. It was held at St Andrew's House in Sydney with senior colleagues with me, an Anglican Bishop and a senior Salvation Army officer and our accountant, the then Mayor of Penrith.
I had pre-arranged with Gordon Moyes to do a de-brief after this Audit (which we came through with flying colours as Gordon had impressed upon me to have everything in order). Gordon Moyes sat me down and allowed me a full 60 minutes of his time, as I was washed out emotionally, a physical wreck, mentally exhausted and in need of serious spiritual nourishment.
That audit proved to be a milestone. SLM had the all clear. Gordon Moyes alerted me that now was a time to be watchful from behind, and his wisdom came to pass. By 2000 I was out after 18 years of founding this ministry.
Gordon Moyes along with Heads of Churches who had seen it all before, looked after Delma and me setting up Well-Being Australia, with a clean ministry bill of health (as it were) to forge ahead in our own ministry which retained the Australian cricket team chaplaincy, our respite ministry with the Australian Institute of Sport and the Olympic ministry.
Five months after moving on, a letter written to Gordon Moyes in July 2000 from a senior Australian public servant to illustrate continuing machinations and alerting him to false accusations and debilitating correspondence to the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Institute of Sport. Gordon Moyes in turn alerted Heads of Churches. He was right, it was for my back I needed armour.
Australia's Bush Orchestra
We were living in Moruya (May 1992 to December 2005) at the respite facility "Timeout in Moruya" for the elite athletes of the Australian Institute of Sport when Gordon Moyes moved into politics (9 years in the N.S.W. Parliament as a member of the Legislative Council the NSW Upper House).
On one occasion I sought his help. The Tourism "brown sign" is given out like hen's teeth to tourist operators. We had developed Australia's Bush Orchestra on the Moruya 10 acre site, a lovely walk under the Ironbark with the bell miner's remarkable singing and plaques along the walk displayed of great evangelists through the centuries.
With some help of a local Shire Councillor, we secured one of these tourist "brown signs" which the RTA situated at the town's major intersection, a magnificent position. You couldn't miss it. A few years later the RTA did an audit on small tourist operations and 'brown signs', a bit of witch hunt. Australia's Bush Orchestra was part of this audit with an RTA lady turned up, whose brief, in my view, was to have our 'brown sign' disappear. Sure enough, the letter arrived.
I contacted Gordon at Parliament House, setting out all of this. He said it's better to deal with these matters quietly. Sure enough he was in the lift with the relevant Minister whom he asked why is the Christian tourist site 'brown sign' in Moruya being removed and the Buddhist tourist site further up the coast being 'retained'. As a result, we kept our 'brown sign'.
When we left Moruya in December 2005 at our public farewell, this story was front and centre, how the RTA order for removal of our 'brown sign' was reversed - an astonishing feat and certainly the talk of the Shire.
We met Beverley many times in the course of all these years and I spoke at Belconnen Baptist during son David Moyes' ministry tenure.
Gordon Moyes played an important providential role in Delma's and my ministry. Thankyou to the Moyes family, thankyou to Gordon, thankyou to our precious Saviour Jesus Christ.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html