Deacon Gary Stone
A Disciple of Jesus – A Soldier of Christ
To provide empowering spiritual ministry to the ADF and veterans
1. To maintain a peaceful , faith-filled , hope inspired and joyous life.
2. To proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ through ministry of presence, oral presentation, in writing and visually.
3. To offer care, healing and nurturing for the whole person, through the Sacraments, prayer and fellowship of the Catholic Church.
4. To discern, call, affirm, encourage and equip Christian leaders for ministry as disciples of Jesus.
5. To raise the health of the Veterans Community through the ministry of the Veterans Care Association.
6. To support the East Timorese, through the “Friends and Partners with East Timor” Association.
” The Spirit of the Lord is upon me , because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind…and announce that the time has come when the Lord will save his people” ~Jesus in Mark4:18
I was born in Brisbane on 17 Sep 52 to Daphne and Alf Stone .My parents desired that my brother Craig and I have an understanding of Christianity, and had us baptised, worship and confirmed at our local church. Apart from these sacramental experiences during primary school, our participation in the life of the church was limited. However, we did get to know about God, the Scriptures and prayer. Seeds had been planted!
I entered the Royal Military College Duntroon in Jan 1970. I very much enjoyed the camaraderie and friendships of college life, and in 1972 my best friend Jim Wallace, invited me to a Christian Fellowship activity. A young Army officer shared with us his testimony of entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He explained how the Scriptures showed that God loved us so much, that he sent his son Jesus, both to show us God’s love in action, and also to pay the price for our sins. (John 3:16) I accepted an invitation to commit my life to following Jesus. I started to get to know Him personally.
Encouraged by the group to find a church where I could root my faith into a community, I visited many churches in Canberra and finally decided to join the Catholic communion. ( The positive witness of my newfound girlfriend , and now wife, Lynne must be acknowledged here!) I found in the Catholic community a strength of conviction commitment and a practical Christianity that blended well with my life in the military.
Lynne and I married soon after my graduation from Duntroon and we commenced an exciting journey of postings around Australia and overseas. At every place we went, we got involved in the life of the local church. Each community seemed to offer something special. We were able to experience fellowship and growth in faith
, life and love through the various renewal movements in the Church – Cursillo, Marriage Encounter, Teams of our Lady, Antioch, and Charismatic Renewal . At the same time we maintained ecumenical fellowship with other Christians through weekly meetings of the Military Christian Fellowship.
God blessed our marriage through the birth of 4 wonderful children: Catherine, Michael, Christy and Paul ,and through his providential involvement in our daily lives. As an infantry officer I experienced his guidance and support in command , instructional and staff appointments . Significantly I experienced his presence and protection when commanding troops deployed to respond to the Coup in Fiji in 1987, and restoring peace on the Iran Iraq border in 1989-90.
More and more I came to experience God mightily and miraculously intervening in life events in response to prayer. At a “Life in the Spirit” Seminar in 1986, and through the prayer of others, I experienced the fullness of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). I felt God burdening me with a mission to share his Good News , and to encourage, support and affirm those who were already following him.
During a period of prayer and discernment as to where God might want to use us in the late 1980’s, the invitation was made for me to proceed to ordination in the church , for future ministry as a Chaplain. This was realised after formation at Banyo seminary in my ordination as Deacon on 9 Dec 94, whereupon I received God’s grace and the blessing of the people of the church to serve full-time in ministry.
Pastoral placement in the civilian parish of The Gap in Brisbane, Army chaplaincy at Enoggera and Duntroon and AFP Chaplaincy in the Asian Tsunami ,Timor and Solomons have followed. I witnessed life-saving miracles in service in East Timor and Bougainville and became convinced of the need to faciliate lay ministry in support of operational deployments. The ADF and the AFP have utilised me in a range of activities involving pastoral care , preaching , and leadership development and values formation .
Following deployment to East Timor in 2000 I was inspired to initiate “Friends and Partners with East Timor” – an association which continues today faciliating relationship and aid and honoring their request : “Please don’t forget us” . I and my family have made 22 visits to Timor , and have been involved in the building of schools , clinics ,and a range of capacity and human development projects.In 2005 we received from the National RSL, the Anzac Peace Prize for “making a significant contribution to world peace”. See www.fpet.org.au
In Apr 2007 and Sep 2009 we were acknowledged in episodes of “The Australian Story” depicting our son Michael and our familys involvement in peacemaking in East Timor, and assisting President Horta when he was shot in an assassination attempt . God has blessed our love of neighbours in Timor .
Though my experiences have been many, the “message” has remained the same . God loves you and me so intimately. He wants us to experience the fullness of life- love joy and peace-in his presence. He asks that we turn back to him, commit ourselves to him, pray for the infilling of his Holy Spirit, and set out each day to follow him. He has greatly blessed me. May he bless you too.
Significant Qualifications and Experiences
Graduate of Royal Military College, Duntroon (Lt)1973- BA (Mil )
Rifle Platoon Commander 8/9 RAR 1974-75 ( Op deployment to Malaysia)
Married to Lynne , 23 Nov 74 at St Christopher’s Cathedral, Canberra
Intelligence Offr (Capt) 8/9 RAR 1976 (Depl to 3rd Cav , El Paso USA)
Staff Officer (Pers), Military Secretary’s Office ,Army HQ Canberra,1977
Staff Officer ( Pers) , Australian High Commission, London,1978
Instructor RMA Sandhurst, 1978-80 – Depl to Cyprus, Germany, Canada
Rifle Company Commander ( Major) 6 RAR 1981-82
Graduate of Command and Staff College , Queenscliff 1983
Senior Instructor Officer Cadet School ,Portsea 1984-85
Second in Command 1RAR 1986-87 (Comd, Op MorrisDance- Fiji Coup)
Staff Officer Operations, (LtCol) Directorate of Infantry 1988-89
Comd AS Contingent UN Iran -Iraq Mission 1989-90
Graduate of Joint Services Staff College, Canberra 1990- Grad Dip Strat Staff Officer Operations
Australian Defence Force -1991
Commanding Officer, Victoria Barracks Brisbane 1992-93
Attend and Graduate from Brisbane College of Theology ,
Banyo 1994- BTheology , GradDipMin
Ordained Deacon of the Catholic Church, Enoggera ,9 Dec 94
Chaplain 2 Combat Engr Regt / Deacon, The Gap Catholic parish1996-97
Chaplain RMC Duntroon 1998-99
Chaplain 2/14 Light Horse Regiment, Enoggera 2000-01
Op depl 6 RAR East Timor 2000, and PMG Bougainville 2001
Founded “Friends and Partners with East Timor” 2001
Coordinating Chaplain 7th Brigade , Enoggera ,2002
Chaplain Regional Training Centre, Sth Qld, 2003-2007
Awarded Prince of Wales Study Fellowship to USA 2005
FPET Awarded RSL National Peace Prize 2005
Chaplain Australian Federal Police , 2005- present; Operational Deployments
–Asian Tsunami, Solomons crisis (X9), East Timor ( X 9)
Coordinating Chaplain 11th Brigade , Enoggera, 2008 – 2011
Chaplain Queensland University Regiment 2011- present
2014 – Present – Chaplain to the veteran community in SEQLD ; President Veterans Care