Hidden in the bush between Esk and Somerset Dam stands a little white church. Built in 1905 by the local community, this church was founded with a purpose – it is ‘undenominational’ (sic) and the doors are open to all.
This concept was revolutionary in the early 20th century, however, it perfectly aligns with the heart of our school chaplains.
Since 2004, Caboonbah Undenominational has made a yearly donation to Chaplaincy, a gift that both honours the legacy of the church founders, and blesses the local chaplains – and the children and families they serve.
The great-granddaughter of Church founder Henry Somerset, recalls the stories her mother told her when she was a little girl, “[My great-grandfather] always said that Caboonbah was built on compassion and grace, and I’m really proud to have him as an ancestor.
The church reminds me of the story of the Prodigal Son. Everyone is welcome in God’s house in the same way the doors are open to all at Caboonbah.”
This message has a beautiful link to the work of school chaplains, who are there to listen to and include everyone who crosses their path.
The community of Caboonbah is a close-knit one, with many members having been involved for over 50 years.
One such member says, “The church has a very special feel about it. I think it’s the peaceful surroundings, with the mountains in the distance and the Brisbane river running not far away.”
While the church no longer runs a weekly service, the idyllic venue is often booked for weddings, christenings and funerals, and the annual service which is held in early November.
The simple history of Caboonbah carries a rich encouragement that we can take with us today. What was founded long ago by a group of believers in the bush, is the same message of non-judgmental love and compassion that is carried forth by our school chaplains.
You can support SU QLD’s school chaplaincy ministry, by heading to suqld.org.au/donate.