AIS Chaplain Peter Nelson writers – extracts from The Peter Nelson Story
In 1991 Dr Mark Tronson appointed me as Chaplain at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) replacing the inaugural chaplain Reverend Ken Bond who was moving. These continuing 23 years (2019) have been a highlight of my ministry with a non-churched community.
Very few ministers have such an opportunity which has been enormously beneficial to me and I trust to those whom I've served in elite sport.
I've always had an interest in sport as sport is a microcosm of life and having been a foundation Panellist and now solely a Sport Panellist, I have taken a great interest in their articles as they speak not only of sport but of life and experiencing another aspect entirely - a national sub-culture. I enjoy understanding what the sport writers convey to the reader.
The AIS has provided a special kind of window for reflection on sport with highs and lows and keenly focused ambition.
I've worked very closely with Mark and have a great respect for what he has done in establishing chaplaincy across the board in all sports since 1982, and his Australian cricket chaplaincy from 1984 and founding the Basil Sellers athlete respite facility in Moruya in 1992 - these achievements are recognised from the highest official to the newest athlete.
‘Timeout in Moruya’ was perhaps the single most important factor in making effective my ministry as the AIS chaplain. Athletes over many years visited Moruya and were ministered to by Mark and Delma Tronson.
Mark gave them a bible talk and handed sports New Testaments to each young athlete. Many a time when doing room inspections these bibles were found beside their beds. It has been my privilege on many occasions at their initiative to speak with these young athletes when returning from Moruya.
When Mark was away there were times I went to Moruya and gave the bible talk to the athletes. I arranged for various international visiting athletes to visit Moruya. This Moruya excursion became a highlight for all elite athletes in their stay at the AIS, I cannot emphasise this enough.
Meeting Mark's great support Mr Basil Sellers AM on his visit to the AIS was very important for as Mark reminded me again today, that the Scriptures exclaim, the Lord sent Basil Sellers for "such a time as this".
Working so closely with Mark has been a tremendous experience, but not only me, his 18 years founding and heading the sport ministry helped chaplains received wisdom, insight and encouragement. Mark stamped the validity of chaplaincy upon the Australian sporting community from Cricket, AFL, NRL, NBA, Tennis, Motor Racing, Soccer, Rodeo, Golf ..... all the way to the Olympics.
Mark attended an AIS breakfast and numbers of the most senior AIS athletes whispered in my ear with awe: "Mark Tronson is here!" Even today Barry Barnes who is responsible for the over all athlete assistance program (former Boomers Basketball Olympic Coach) has Mark's huge painting in his office, an art work celebrating the 25th anniversary of the AIS.
Mark appointed me as a chaplain to the Atlanta Olympics and the Sydney Olympics and no person deserved the accolades as much as Mark and Delma when in 2009 they were awarded the Olympic Ministry Medal by Carl Lewis the Olympian of the Century.
The highlights of my AIS sport chaplaincy ministry has been the 1996 Atlanta Olympics chaplaincy, the 2000 Sydney Olympics chaplaincy and the 2008 Melbourne Commonwealth Games chaplaincy. Atlanta proved to be a milestone for me in athlete ministry, I was the only non-American, so much good came out of that ministry as I was made so welcomed by the Australian Olympians.
When Mark and Delma in complete exhaustion - moved on in 2000 after 18 years of founding and leadership - he left a strong functioning ministry for others to build upon.
End of extract.
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 25 books, and enjoys writing. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded ‘The Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/dr-mark-t.html