Posted in Chaplaincy
Located just 13 kilometres east of the Queensland and Northern Territory border, there is a small town with a population of about 200 people. Camooweal is its name.
Camooweal was just like any other small town until something incredible happened only a few weeks ago. The town got its first school chaplain!
Jono Wright (pictured, left), pastor of the local church, is taking up the role and, from Term 2, he will be spending a couple days a week in the school being a listening ear and a caring presence.
“We already have a fair bit of involvement with the students, but I’m excited to be able to spend that extra time for a couple of days a week, building those relationships and helping where possible. It’s about getting to know the students better, for them to have a stable role model,” Jono says.
Jono has been looking for some time to secure school chaplaincy funding for the Camooweal community.
“I made a few inquiries years and years ago… and nothing came of that, and then we had a few chaplains come through our town. They were looking to pioneer the roving chaplaincy service in the western towns – they go to Boulia, Urandangi and Dajarra now – and they did a trip to check it out. Somehow, they came to Camooweal, we had a week with them here and it just opened my eyes to that opportunity and the possibility of what could be done in the school through chaplaincy.
“So we started chasing it up from then on… and this latest round of funding we got approval. That was late 2015 and now we’re going to be in the school from the beginning of Term 2.”
Having been involved in the Camooweal community for 11 years, Jono is under no illusion about what sorts of issues he’s going to see from his first day as chaplain.
“Some of the young people here are coming from broken families, where alcohol has been an issue, and this has an impact on the kids in various ways.
“In a lot of the families here, the women are very stable – especially the grandmothers – but the men tend to drift around a lot. So being a stable male role model is certainly important and can have a big impact on their life.”
There are currently over 50 chaplaincy vacancies throughout Queensland, many of which are in regional communities.
If you or anyone you know has the passion to support children and young people through school chaplaincy, visit suqld.org.au/morehands.