In 1966, Bill, Ruth and their four children moved to London for two years so that Bill could complete his doctoral thesis. While there, he was appointed as a full member to the London SU Council, and spoke at meetings and conferences. While in London, the Andersen family attended a Beach Mission in Cornwall and also the Centenary Service of SU at St Paul’s Cathedral – a remarkable moment in the history of the organisation.
Also while overseas, Bill attended the 1967 SU International Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland. At that Conference, Bill was commissioned to write a statement on the Evangelism of Children. At a follow up meeting in Sydney Bill and the committee highlighted from Matthew 19:14-15 that all children till the age of discernment are part of God’s Kingdom. The statement expressed that SU’s role is to bring young people Jesus and help them to grow in their faith.
Upon returning to Australia, Bill became the Chairman of the Scripture Union Australia Council, serving in that role until 1978, before returning to the NSW Council.
From 1979 to 1982, Bill chaired the Pacific Area Committee, and then from 1982 to 1987, the East Asia-Pacific Regional Council. Both these committees oversaw ministry around Australia and the region.
Bill Andersen (left) and
During his time serving as Chairman of the East Asia-Pacific Regional Council, Bill attended the first International SU Conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, held in 1985. At this conference Bill presented drafts of the SU Aims, Beliefs and Working Principles document, which were discussed and accepted.
Some see this as one of Bill’s greatest achievements. SU was – and still is – a diverse organization, made up of people from various denominational backgrounds and Christian traditions. But through his extraordinary leadership, Bill was able to bring people together under a statement they could all agree to. Even more than that, Bill was able to create a document that would anchor and inspire SU work for years to come. The Statement of Belief, in particular, bears Bill’s fingerprints in its artful and poetic language. This document is still in use internationally today.
Also while at the International Conference in Harare, Bill was approached and asked to consider becoming the next Chair of the International SU Council. He commenced this role in 1987 and held it until 1993.
Bill loved serving as International Chair. He travelled twice a year – once to London for executive meetings and once wherever in the world the council meeting was being held that year! In 1990, that was Lima, Peru. Bill was able to open the new SU centre for the homeless in this city – an example of the extremely diverse and impactful work done under the SU banner over the past 152 years. That year’s meeting was also significant as it was decided that SU work would commence in former Soviet Union countries. By 1992 representatives from those countries were in attendance at the Council meeting.