To celebrate SU QLD’s 25th Year of School Chaplaincy, we spoke with another pioneer, Bruce Dobbin, and our very first chaplain, Paul Tuxworth.
“To tell the story of our very first chaplain, we need to go to the year 1982,” says Bruce, who’s been working with SU QLD since 1978 in various roles, including managing and training chaplains.
“I was managing our involvement with secondary schools at the time, and one high school – Craigslea State High School – didn’t have RE, so my job was to put it in place. We were first given the Year 8 class, then the Year 9s and 10s. The principal said the only way we could do our work better, is to have someone in the school full time,” he says.
Bruce passionately pursued this idea with his church, and in 1986, they employed Paul Tuxworth as a chaplain at Craigslea State High School. Paul was qualified, knew the school community, and was eager for the role.
In the four years Paul was chaplain, he saw chaplaincy grow as surrounding schools also desired it. Everton Park State High School and Mitchelton State High School were the next schools to receive chaplains on the request of their principals.
It was at this time, in 1990, that SU QLD took on chaplaincy as one of its key ministries. Our very first chaplains were those in Craigslea, Everton and Mitchelton high schools… and these schools still have SU QLD chaplains today – 25 years on.
“The focus of SU QLD at the time was camps, Inter-School Christian Fellowship groups and training,” Paul says. “Chaplaincy was a radical shift but it dove tailed with everything else SU QLD was already doing. I’m excited about what the future holds for chaplaincy.”
Current Craigslea State High School Chaplain Jason is proud of the history of chaplaincy. “Chaplaincy is not this ‘flash in the pan’ thing – there is a long history of people committed to providing chaplaincy in Craigslea and across Queensland. Next year Craigslea marks 40 years as a school and SU QLD chaplaincy has run for 25 of them, which is amazing!” says Jason.