50+ years of service to MCF-A and other Military Ministries
A lifetime of service to Christ and the ADF.
Russell and Helen Bielenberg have had significant involvement with Australian and international Christian military ministry and have been instrumental in MCF Australia flourishing for around 50yrs. Russell has been a member of MCF (or its equivalent) for 60 years since the early 60s when he graduated from RMC. Russell was the secretary for MCF 5O years ago in the 1970s. Helen was the prayer secretary for MCF for a number of years in the late 90s and early 2000s and she used to write many letters to MCF members and ADF personnel, especially when they were deployed. Russell and Helen have been host families for many Command and Staff College international students, encouraging them to be leaders in their MCF’s when they return to their countries and to ADFA cadets, encouraging them to be active in MCF and other Christian military ministries.
When observing that the Australian Christian military ministries could work better with each other in growing the Kingdom of God in the ADF, Russell was instrumental in calling the leaders of the different ministries together to form the Forum of Christian Military Ministries (FCMM) and having the leaders sign a covenant that would increase unity amongst the ministries to coordinate, pray and meet with each other.
Russell and Helen have also had a heart for the international Association of Military Christian Fellowship (AMCF), having attended four world conferences and they have supported the SW Pacific AMCF Conference that has primarily been hosted by Australia in Brisbane. This has been a great way to train and mentor SW Pacific MCF leaders in our region and has been a great support to the AMCF SW Pacific Vice President. Russell and Helen have been involved in the Association of Christian Conference and Teaching (ACCTS) for the past 30 years and have visited many SW Pacific countries providing the Interaction Course to them. They have also had an ongoing relationship with Spain mentoring the Spanish MCF leaders through some difficult times.
Russell has recently commenced writing the history of MCF-A and has been engaging with a number of previous MCF-A Chairs to accurately record what MCF-A has been doing over the past 30 years. This will be a great keep sake for many years to come and a valuable resource for those in future leadership positions to learn from past experiences.
Russell has provided leadership, mentorship and wisdom to many people on the MCF-A Council and Executive Committee over the years and for this we are very grateful. He has been referred to jokingly as Yoda from Star Wars who would provide guidance to the Jedi Knights.
Russell and Helen are proud that three generations of men have served and continue to serve in the Army, with their sons Thomas and Adrian and now grandson William joining the Army in the different corps.
Russell and Helen were presented with a quilt donated by Aussie Hero Quilts showing Russell’s Regiment Badge, Service number and colours including an embroidered MCF logo and thank you message from MCF. The quilt was presented to them after the MCF AGM by outgoing MCF Chair J Cho,i along with D Coleman (Sec), J Jaensch (SW), and representing Aussie Hero Quilts, M Willis.
We are very grateful for the long and distinguished service of Russell and Helen to MCF and the broader military Christian community both here in Australia and internationally for the past 50+ years.
Written by: Jamie Van Heel – Past MCF-A Chair and current SW Pacific AMCF VP. (Nov 2021)