#storiesofhope – Chappy Ross + Chappy Mark bring food to those struggling on the Gemfields

“Families were doing it tough. Stores were facing food shortages because people were hoarding. There were limits on products, and everyday items were in high demand. There was a…

“Families were doing it tough. Stores were facing food shortages because people were hoarding. There were limits on products, and everyday items were in high demand. There was a real need, and we were able to do something about it.”

When chappies Ross and Mark heard about the food shortages going on in their communities at Emerald and Anakie, they wanted to help. 

“People were travelling an hour or more to get into town, just to find that they couldn’t get what they needed because stock was so low,” says Chappy Mark. 

To help ease the burden, Chappy Mark and a teacher came up with the idea of bridging the gap for those living out on the Gemfields, by hand-delivering items from town. Chappy Ross was only too keen to join in. 

“We approached the stores in town with $500 and some vouchers from local businesses. We asked if they’d remove the limits so we could take product out to the gem fields and they agreed,” Chappy Ross says.

The local Woolies and IGA chipped in with cartons of apples, oranges, bananas and pears, while Coles stepped up by donating bread and some of the local ladies helped out with grocery bags. 

Click here to see a video of the supplies!

“We took a ute – which was piled three crates high with a variety of groceries – out to the gem fields every Wednesday for four weeks. It was incredible,” says Chappy Ross.

“Out in the fields, people were so grateful. There are lonely people out there and we were given the opportunity to give back on multiple levels. Mark and I would pray together in the car on the way up, because we knew it was going to be heavy.”

Chappy Mark and Chappy Ross prepare to head up to the Gemfields

In smaller communities, Chappy Ross explains that the school is often central to the community, and this means a school chaplain is often considered the chaplain for the community.

“I did some house calls with the principal – and the families were really excited to see us. Showing up with a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk was a simple way to show these families that you’re there for them.”

“I found that a lot of the families had been having the same conversation over and over again, so these visits were a way to share new perspectives.”

“I’ve been a chappy for the last thirteen years, and I’ve watched the community grow over the years. Someone once said to me, “You can count the number of seeds in an orange, but you can’t count the oranges in one seed.” I think that analogy relates to what we do as chaplains. You never know what one kind word can do for somebody – you never know how big that tree might grow.”

At this crucial time of year, please consider giving to our Bring Hope Appeal so communities like Chappy Ross and Chappy Mark’s can continue to receive the gift of hope in their time of need. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others during this time. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope today.

Posted: 16/06/2020

#storiesofhope – Chappy Deb is there through thick and thin

Every day school chaplains walk into environments full of young people dealing with serious and wide-ranging issues. From anxiety to domestic violence, mental health and even suicide, Chappy Deb…

Every day school chaplains walk into environments full of young people dealing with serious and wide-ranging issues. From anxiety to domestic violence, mental health and even suicide, Chappy Deb has been instrumental in supporting her school’s young people and their families. 

Through your big-hearted support, you too are meeting the needs of our children and young people in crisis.

“We have had 5-6 suicides in our community over the last few months – which has had flow-on effects to our community here at school. There’s a lot of training that we rely on as chaplains to help support in these situations, but equally as important is showing our young people that you actually care,” says Chappy Deb.

You make it possible for our chaplains to show up every day dedicated and determined to bring hope and a brighter future to our young people. Thank you.

“We use health and social care resources, we check in on students and encourage them to keep learning. Most important of all we take notice. That’s been important in COVID-19 – I’ve learnt so much about the power of taking notice,” says Chappy Deb.

“Our training helps us understand how to mentally take note of our conversations, and then we can refer to external services when needed. Chaplains also offer something unique to school communities through spiritual support, which is incredibly important for well being.”

“There was this one time at school, where I was talking with a group of students about what I do, and this quite angry girl spoke up and she said, “Miss, you pick up our hearts.” I thought that was pretty beautiful.”

Throughout this COVID-19 season, Chappy Deb has also been doing the usual rounds, checking in with students, staff and parents.

“Because of the changes with COVID-19, we can’t run our usual food programs. We usually run 7 food programs a week – breakfast 4 days, and lunch 3 days,” says Chappy Deb.

“We recently got donations back from Foodbank and have been able to provide milk, bananas, weetbix and juice. I’ve been making up sandwiches and wrapping them for hungry kids – it’s not a lot, but it’s about working with what’s already in the school.”

“Even though it’s hard, it’s exciting as well. I jump out of bed in the morning – always eager to see what God is going to do next.”

Chaplains may not outwardly wear capes, but they are certainly heroes in our communities. They never give up and they never stop sharing hope and love to those who need it the most.

Teacher Brendan is grateful for friends like you who are making a difference in schools through your support for school chaplaincy – particularly in times of stress and change.

“I believe it is vitally important that we have chaplains in our school. Both staff and students benefit greatly from having a person who is in a pastoral and well being role,” says Brendan.

“Chappy Deb is a caring and supportive person in the school, often doing unnoticed acts of kindness to support our staff and students. She provides non-judgmental support and from a teacher’s perspective, I feel like I can chat to Chappy Deb about matters of faith and other personal issues.”

At this crucial time of year, please consider giving to our Bring Hope Appeal so communities like Chappy Deb’s can continue to receive the gift of hope in their time of need. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others during this time. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope today.

Posted: 16/06/2020

#storiesofhope – Over 240 cars are blessed by a school supply drive-through

In this new season, children and young people across the state desperately need the social, emotional and spiritual support of a trusted and trained adult. To help keep school…

In this new season, children and young people across the state desperately need the social, emotional and spiritual support of a trusted and trained adult. To help keep school chaplaincy going, head to suqld.org.au/bringhope

Chappy Paula is passionate about chaplaincy. She’s been in the job for nearly 13 years, and says each day is a new opportunity to show love and hope.

“My background is in teaching, but my passion was always being a support person and a helper – that’s what I felt was very important and rewarding,” says Chappy Paula.

Chappy Paula re-stocking food supplies

“Every child needs a supportive, safe person and environment, otherwise mental health and anxieties can really overwhelm them. I’ve seen children suffer if they haven’t got nurturing care. I like that chaplaincy is about walking alongside the kids – it’s very personable.”

“Because I’ve been in the community for so long, I’ve built rapport with the families. Many will openly share what’s been going on in their lives, and I’m able to help them as much as I can. Support looks different for everyone. One boy turned up post-COVID without a lunchbox, and I was able to feed him and find some food for him to take home. It’s often simple things that others don’t have the time to concentrate on.”

Over the past few months, Chappy Paula has been getting creative in how she can support families – particularly those who are doing it tough.

“Each of the three schools I work at gets support from FoodBank, local communities and churches, but at the beginning of May when I went in to pick up the food, they said Coles had sent in a truckload of donations to support families. I was overwhelmed!”, says Chappy Paula.

“They provided a trailer to get it all back to the school because it wouldn’t fit in my station wagon. We had about 240 cars pull in on the Friday morning when parents came to pick up their learning packs. The teaching staff and I were dressed up, and were able to wave to the kids (and some family dogs!) through the window.”

“We organised the car park into lane-ways (Year 1 pickup, Year 2 pickup etc.) and then at the end was all the food. Even if some families only took something little, like a loaf of bread, it was great to be able to give them something to take home with them. Anything is a bonus when you’re going through hard times.”

Year One teacher, Tania Collins, had a fantastic day manning the Chappy Food stall.

“Despite the overcast, chilly, windy weather, the atmosphere in the car park was full of positivity, pleasure and pride in being a Woongarra staff member,” says Tania.

“Chappy Paula is a great support to our ‘Woonie’ families and provides a very caring and nurturing role to all. She is never too busy to be a ‘safe person’ and provide a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and offer solutions both practical and spiritual.”

Year One teacher, Tania Collins says shes proud to be a Woongarra staff member

Despite the craziness of the past few months, Chappy Paula is grateful for the unity that has formed in the school. 

“It’s been a rough few months, but I’ve seen a lot of good come out of the season. I think we’ve grown as a school community and have realised we’re part of a bigger team.”

“We have a really effective support team at our school – I work closely with the guidance officer to support families in our communities, and we have great leadership from our Principal. It’s lovely to see how we can all work together to assist and care for our families.”

At this crucial time of year, please consider giving to our Bring Hope Appeal so communities like Chappy Paula’s can continue to receive the gift of hope in their time of need. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others during this time. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope today.

Posted: 16/06/2020

#storiesofhope – Chappy Di shares baskets of fruit with her community

In times of uncertainty and fear, hope is the antidote – and your chaplains are there to share that message with children and their families. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope to find…

In times of uncertainty and fear, hope is the antidote – and your chaplains are there to share that message with children and their families. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope to find out how you can help keep this vital mission going!

A few weeks ago, Chappy Di was able to support 9 local families by hand-delivering fruit baskets to their doorstep.

“The fruit baskets were a way to keep up with vulnerable families without being invasive – and it was also a great opportunity to check in on the kids. It was beautiful to see how excited these families were when they saw us arrive,” says Chappy Di.

“I’m so glad to have partnered with the well-being team at school to prepare these hampers. They were the ones who came up with the idea of filling them with fruit (bananas, apples, mandarins, pineapples, grapes and kiwi), because if the students were still at school, they would have received fruit as part of our Breakfast Club program.” 

Chappy Di on her way to deliver the fruit baskets

For one special family who were struggling, Chappy Di partnered with a local charity, Hidden Treasure, to deliver a stroller and an extra food hamper.

“This beautiful mum never would have asked, but when we showed up with the stroller and the food, she was so thankful. She said “You’re gonna make me cry.” You could see the joy on her face when a need was filled – she knew it was a genuine gift, and that there were no strings attached.”

“The whole hamper-process really showed me that this season can be used for good. God opened the way with the well-being team at school, and it was definitely a community effort.”

Chappy Di has had a lifetime of experience working in insurance, human resources and more, but knew that God was guiding her towards a future in chaplaincy.

“I’ve worked in a variety of jobs and that’s given me a lot of experience and skills. By the time I’d completed my SU Training and was working in a school, I had a sensitivity for people built into me,” says Chappy Di.

“It’s funny, looking back, I can see that I was guided towards a chaplaincy role long before I became a chaplain. There were domestic violence cases in some of the factories I worked at, and I did training with migrant women. Those sorts of situations taught me how to be a really good listener.”

“As a chaplain, I’m an impartial voice and that’s why the kids will share with me. They know I’m listening to them, and listening is not judging.”

“This COVID-19 season has been an eye-opener. Visiting those families has given me a new perspective in my role of caring for families. It’s shown me that it’s important to take a moment to see what’s going on behind the scenes. There’s often a lot more going on than you realise.”

At this crucial time of year, please consider giving to our Bring Hope Appeal so communities like Chappy Di’s can continue to receive the gift of hope in their time of need. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others during this time. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope today.

 

 

Posted: 12/06/2020

#storiesofhope – Chappy Karl’s big heart for his small town

Three years ago Karl felt the call to school chaplaincy – and that call led him to the small town of Marmor, Queensland, where he and his family now…

Three years ago Karl felt the call to school chaplaincy – and that call led him to the small town of Marmor, Queensland, where he and his family now live in a renovated old church.

In this remote community of roughly 150 people, Chappy Karl finds gardening is a great way to bring support (and fresh fruit and vegetables) right to the table of the residents.

“I do a lot of work in the community gardens. It’s great for the kids to get involved with it – they go home and ask their parents to plant their own family garden!” says Chappy Karl.

Chappy Karl with school captain and garden-helper, Charlotte O’Grady

 

“We grow watermelons, rockmelons, zucchinis, cucumbers, pumpkins – everything. We also do community cooking with the produce. I know that there have been some rough times in the past, and living so far out, people can’t always get into town for food. These gardens have been a real boost for the community.”

Throughout the COVID19 season, Chappy Karl has been doing everything he can to support students, parents and staff across his two schools.

“I’ve been fitting in where I”m needed. The last few years, I’ve been able to build a good rapport in the community – now it’s about being there for everyone,” says Chappy Karl.

“The role of a chaplain is to be there. It’s about building relationships and providing support and drawing on your strengths. I love that as a chaplain, you can be yourself. You’re there to spend time with the kids and to support their well-being.”

At this crucial time of year, please consider giving to our Bring Hope Appeal so communities like Chappy Karl’s can continue to receive the gift of hope in their time of need. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others during this time. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope today.

Posted: 4/06/2020

#storiesofhope – Chappy Kylie helped Jack and his family cope

When Jack was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes three weeks before his 9th birthday, it was a huge shock for his family. The condition meant his mum Sarah had…

When Jack was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes three weeks before his 9th birthday, it was a huge shock for his family.

The condition meant his mum Sarah had to administer seven insulin injections a day. At times he wouldn’t eat – just to avoid having another needle.

Just as Jack and his family were coming to terms with their ‘new normal’, the death of a much-loved family member and being temporarily moved out of their rental home added further stress to what was already a challenging and stressful time.

One month later Covid-19 struck…

It’s at times like these that chaplains stand in the gap for children and families in need. Your generosity keeps them there – thank you!

Behind the scenes, Chappy Kylie was there. The relationship she’d built with Jack and his family, over the years, allowed her to step in and help when it was most needed.

“I first met Chappy Kylie many years ago in the middle of a rough time of my life,” Sarah recalls.

“Later on, in the first couple of months after Jack’s diagnosis I got very little sleep because I was so worried his insulin levels would drop low during the night, which they did a few times. I wasn’t home much and juggling the four kids and my night shifts was a lot.

“When Kylie delivered the hamper it broke us. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Jack (left), his sister and his mother Sarah

As Covid-19 came on and the family moved into another rough patch, Chappy Kylie dropped off another hamper and organised some frozen meals.

“They’re practical – it had cereal, pasta, just enough to get us through for a couple of days. The hampers and meals have saved me in some really difficult times over this season,” Sarah says.

“It just gives you support. It makes you feel not alone, you feel supported, you feel valued as a person. I don’t even know the words. We’re grateful.”

Head of Special Ed at Bald Hills State School, Kate Marley, says Chappy Kylie makes a huge difference for families like Jack’s.

“If Jack’s family didn’t have Chappy Kylie, there wouldn’t be hampers, there wouldn’t be food vouchers, and there wouldn’t be that phone call to check in,” Kate recalls.

“She made sure they got the support they needed.”

Kate says the support goes far beyond one family, and that Chappy Kylie shapes the way the school provides support to families in need.

“Kylie’s invaluable. She’s open and warm but hugely practical as well – she does the job of like six people,” Kate says.

“With Covid-19, people don’t know what to do – if they should come to school or not. Teachers are feeling vulnerable and they don’t know if what was applicable yesterday still stands in the present.

“In that space, Kylie has been that constant – just there walking beside them. Having someone in the school who is so present, calm and kind changes everything.

“She would feel the stress, but every single day she walks in with a big smile, willing to serve without complaining. I couldn’t imagine school without Chappy Kylie.”

Kylie loves the hamper program not only for the smiles when she drops one off, but also the impact it has on the kids in the school – who donate the goods for the hampers.

“I love that the hampers come from the school community,” Kylie says.

“It’s kids recognizing that they are a part of being able to help. I love getting kids involved in something greater than themselves – teaching them that they can be a part of spreading love and kindness.”

For Jack’s mum Sarah, she can’t speak highly enough about her chappy.

“It’s not just children she’s looking out for, it’s the mums, it’s the dads, it’s the foster families – it’s whoever the guardians are for those kids at school. She makes you feel a part of the community. It gives the school heart,” Sarah says.

“It means everything to me to know my kids are safe and that they have someone looking out for them.”

As the financial year comes to an end, please consider giving a tax deductible donation to our Bring Hope Appeal. Your support will ensure families like Jack’s can continue to receive the gift of hope in their time of need. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others during this time. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope today.

Posted: 1/06/2020

#ChappyWeek profile – Matt Brady

As we celebrate 30 years of school chaplaincy in 2020, we wanted to honour some of our incredible chappies who have defined what it means to be there for…

As we celebrate 30 years of school chaplaincy in 2020, we wanted to honour some of our incredible chappies who have defined what it means to be there for the long-haul in supporting the next generation.

For almost as long as we’ve had chaplaincy in Queensland schools, students, staff and families at Burnside State High have been blessed by Chappy Matt Brady.

He is SU QLD’s longest-serving chaplain and has been supporting the Sunshine Coast school community of Burnside High for 25 years.

Matt says he’s inspired by the resilience of the kids he sees at school every day.

“When you hear their stories, see the pain in their eyes and the heartbrokenness on their face – but they keep going – that’s what inspires me,” Matt says.

“I really think the kids of this generation have got it really tough, and I felt a calling to chaplaincy to see if I could help alleviate some of that; to show kids that life doesn’t have to go in one direction and they can make positive choices for themselves.

“Media, advertising and society are telling kids ‘who they are’ – and how they need to act. I think kids need someone to bat for them and help them take hold of who they are for themselves.”

When asked about some of his strongest memories from his time as a chappy, Matt says one particular student stood out.

“I met Aleaha when she was in Grade 9, she came and talked to me because she’d had a little to do with the chaplain at a previous school,” Matt recalls.

“She had a very hard life – through some circumstances and being removed from her home, she became suicidal and was cutting herself.

“One day the principal rang me and said Aleaha was out on the road in front of the school; she was fighting off staff trying to throw herself under a bus.

“I can’t remember what I said that day over the phone, but she says that whatever I said made a difference and stopped her at that moment from wanting to kill herself.

“Following that incident we started catching up more regularly and I connected her with professional support services outside the school. She’s now studying to become a teacher.”

Matt says having a chaplain in the school is key, so that kids have someone they can talk to about anything that’s on their mind.

“It’s a unique position. Kids don’t see us as part of the system – so they’re more comfortable approaching us and coming to talk to us,” Matt says.

“We’re the only people in school whose sole job is listening to kids, and that’s really important.”

There’s currently multiple chaplaincy positions in schools right across Queensland. If you love working with children and young people, and are feeling called to a career where you can make a positive difference to the next generation visit suqld.org.au/morehands!

“If you are feeling called and compelled to follow chaplaincy – don’t hesitate,” Matt says.

If you’re interested and feel called to chaplaincy – there are various roles open right across Queensland. To find out more about pursuing a career in chaplaincy, visit www.suqld.org.au/morehands

Posted: 29/05/2020

#ChappyWeek profile – Andrea Lee

As we celebrate 30 years of school chaplaincy in 2020, we wanted to highlight some of our chappies who have worked for many years to support the next generation….

As we celebrate 30 years of school chaplaincy in 2020, we wanted to highlight some of our chappies who have worked for many years to support the next generation.

Andrea Lee has is the school chaplain at Palarra State School and Yeronga State High School. She’s been a chappy for 7 years.

“I always knew I wanted to work with young people, but I had no idea at what capacity,” Andrea recalls.

“I started as a teacher, but found I wasn’t as interested in teaching as I was in why students were behaving in a certain way. I was more interested in what’s going on in their life and how I might be able to help them.

“There are so many kids who need support. I see a lot of primary kids who go through parental separation – and are asking really tough questions like ‘why am I going back and forth from house to house?’ or ‘is this my fault?’.

“I just listen and try to help them understand what’s going on a bit better. I don’t always know everything that’s going on at home, but I myself came from a broken family, so I guess in that sense I can relate to them and their experience.”

Being able to make a difference both emotionally and practically – that’s one of the things Andrea loves most about being a chappy.

“One point I really felt like I was making a difference was with a young boy I supported in primary school,” Andrea recalls.

“I noticed that when he came to school each day his shirts weren’t being cleaned, so I asked him ‘do you want to learn how to wash your shirt?’ – he said he’d like to do that. He told me he didn’t know how to use a washing machine and his mum and dad wouldn’t show him how.

“From that point, one day a week first thing in the morning I’d go collect this student and show him how to handwash his shirt so he could actually do that and wash his other clothes at home.

“That was a beautiful thing because I was able to engage with him, show him someone cared for him and valued him, and also teach him a valuable life skill.”

Andrea says chaplaincy is one of the greatest jobs if you love to support young people.

“If you really have a passion to support young people through hardships, chaplaincy is one of the greatest ways to do it,” Andrea says.

“If you have the drive and love to help kids and teenagers – do chaplaincy.”

If you’re interested and feel called to chaplaincy – there are various roles open right across Queensland. To find out more about pursuing a career in chaplaincy, visit www.suqld.org.au/morehands

Posted: 28/05/2020

#ChappyWeek profile – Andrea Eadie

As we celebrate 30 years of school chaplaincy in 2020, we wanted to highlight some long-term chappies who have worked for many years to support the next generation. For…

As we celebrate 30 years of school chaplaincy in 2020, we wanted to highlight some long-term chappies who have worked for many years to support the next generation.

For Andrea Eadie, she says a desire to work with young people to help them reach their potential was what motivated her to become a chappy.

“I was teaching high school science and math, and as much as algebra ‘changes lives’, I suppose I didn’t really feel like I was changing lives,” Andrea says.

“One of the turning moments was after I kept a Grade 11 student back at lunch for messing up in class. I didn’t get mad at him, I simply asked ‘what’s up?’

“He responded by asking me ‘have you had anyone close to you commit suicide?’ – it turned out his father’s brother had committed suicide the night before and he had just been sent along to school like everything was normal.

“That incident led me to thinking about working with young people in a different capacity – as opposed to being a teacher.”

Andrea studied counselling, and eventually applied to become the chappy at Patricks Road State School, where she has since worked for the past 19 years.

“I love that chaplaincy is all about linking people together,” Andrea says.

“You link people with each other, you link people with helping agencies and churches when additional support is needed, and you link kids with other kids and teach them how to support each other.”

When asked about some of her favourite parts of being a chappy, Andrea says it’s not always about the work she does herself.

“One of the things that I love the most about chaplaincy is the things that I don’t actually do,” Andrea recalls.

“A while ago I worked with a mum who had breast cancer; I linked her to another mum who had been on the same journey a while, and these mums just grew close and started to care for each other. When one of them was in chemo, the other would cook meals and do school pick-ups for the other.

“That support and connection is beautiful – all I had to do was ask if they’d like to connect.”

Another family that stood out to Andrea was facing a unique problem as their kids walked through primary school.

“One journey that’s close to my heart started when I met a boy at our school who had two hearing-impaired parents,” Andrea recalls.

“In addition to the disabilities that his parents faced, there were financial and social struggles as they tried to adjust to a society that was different from the way they had to work in their family.

“As I worked with that family through various health crises and situations I was able to put a lot of support mechanisms into place; simple things like organising translators when there was a school meeting, taking the mum along to affordable grocery stores, as well as working with the kids who had very different social abilities to their peers.

“Watching them leave primary school and since move into adult employment – which was a huge win for one young man in particular – is so inspiring and encouraging.”

Andrea says those who feel called to chaplaincy should follow that call.

“If you’re looking into chaplaincy, the first thing I’d say is equip yourself as much as possible,” Andrea says.

“If you can stay in the space of building and developing relationships over a period of time, that kind of chaplaincy will grow into something that you would never have believed possible.”

If you’re interested and feel called to chaplaincy – there are various roles open right across Queensland. To find out more about pursuing a career in chaplaincy, visit www.suqld.org.au/morehands

Posted: 26/05/2020

#ChappyWeek profile – Chris Macnaught

As we celebrate 30 years of school chaplaincy in 2020, we wanted to highlight some long-term chappies who have worked for many years to support the next generation. Our…

As we celebrate 30 years of school chaplaincy in 2020, we wanted to highlight some long-term chappies who have worked for many years to support the next generation.

Our next chappy isn’t actually a chappy anymore! Chris Macnaught worked as a chappy at Balmoral State High School from 1994 to 1997 and at Wavell State High School from 2000 to 2006.

Since then he’s been a Field Development Manager for SU QLD – supervising and supporting school chaplains who work on Brisbane’s northside.

Chris says his love for supporting young people inspired him to become a school chaplain.

“Young people are very resilient and curious and energetic, as well as being inspiring and hardworking – being able to support that as a chappy was a real joy for me,” Chris says.

“So many kids these days are struggling with self-esteem, mental health and family separations – among many other issues. Being able to walk that long journey with young people to empower them is a privilege.”’

Chris says there were countless kids he remembers, but one in particular stood out.

“One young man used to be at my office door pretty much every day before school, morning tea, lunch and after school,” Chris recalls.

“Dad wasn’t around, and he was really struggling with that, so I supported him over five years of high school. I didn’t really have much to do with mum, but just listened to him and supported him with the activities and things he was involved in.

“At his year 12 graduation his mum came up to me and gave me this big hug and said ‘we made it’. It was just this lovely moment of knowing that I was working in partnership with his family to help him make it through school.”

Now, in his role as Field Development Manager, being able to support the work of school chaplaincy means the world to Chris.

“I think if chaplaincy wasn’t around, so many needs in school communities outside the classroom wouldn’t be filled,” Chris says.

“Kids, parents and teachers need someone they can go to and talk about some of the things they’re going through – it’s really important that they have someone who can help them debrief and process those things.”

Chris says while chaplaincy may not be for everyone, it can be an incredibly rewarding role.

“If you want to be a chappy you have to be able to put other people first,” Chris says.

“There’s a lot of skill sets that chaplains are asked to do, from organising events to running small groups to supporting kids and adults one-on-one.

“Most people have skills in one or two of those areas, so making sure your motivation is right will make sure you can learn the skills you need to be the best chappy you can be.”

If you’re interested and feel called to chaplaincy – there are roles open right across Queensland. To find out more about pursuing a career in chaplaincy, visit www.suqld.org.au/morehands 

Posted: 23/05/2020

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