From the VSSU and VCCE to Intergen
Intergen (formerly the Victorian Council of Christian Education and, before that, the
Victorian Sunday School Union) was established by passionate laypeople in 1871 who
championed the support and resourcing of the early bush missions and urban Sunday
schools of Victoria. Before there were clergy or buildings, these little Sunday schools,
meeting around kitchen tables or in tents, were the seeds of church planting, led by lay
volunteers – often women. In many ways they were early versions of what we would now
think of as Playgroups and Messy Church.
The Victorian Sunday Schools Union (VSSU), as it was called in those days, organised
funding, shipment and distribution of curriculum resources and training. This movement
grew and developed as a provider of Christian education, but also with a vibrant social
justice edge – gathering many children who were impoverished in both urban slums and
rural margins of Victoria, seeking to minister to their physical and financial needs.
Fuelled by creative entrepreneurial godly minds the ministry broke new ground, for
example in establishing new ways to train teachers building a ‘children’s church’ in
Collingwood and setting up sewing workshops for young girls to gain skills.
In 2015 the Victorian Council of Christian Education (VCCE) launched into a new phase,
refreshing the vision from 150 years ago and adapting it to twenty first century mission.
Still committed to the work of supporting and resourcing those who work in ministry and
mission with children and their families, the VCCE sought to express its mission through
a range of partnerships – including, at the time, denominations and organisations such
as the Christian Playgroup Network, Messy Church (UK), Scripture Union Victoria and
In 2018 the Constitution was updated to reflect current governance standards and the
organisation was renamed Intergen. Continuing with its historical focus of ministry and
mission with children and their families, this name change sought to highlight the
importance of an intentionally intergenerational environment as crucial to best practice in
ministry and mission.
In 2022 Intergen stands on the threshold of the next exciting phase in its 150+1 year
journey of supporting and resourcing ministry and mission with children and their
families. Amongst other important initiatives, Intergen is developing and implementing a
fresh strategy that includes the provision of weekly resources for churches, the re-
energising of Messy Church, the establishment of a new model for supporting leaders
and much more. Continuing in the entrepreneurial spirit that has characterised our
history, Intergen is making a remarkable contribution to ministry and mission with
children and their families in Victoria, across Australia and beyond.