4 November 2016

Gladstone chappies feelin’ that community love

Posted in Chaplaincy

If you were to ask the people of Gladstone what the best part of their community is, the answer may well be their school chaplains.

Chaplains have been serving faithfully in and around the Gladstone area for 20 years. Thanks to the foundations laid by their predecessors, today’s Gladstone Chaplaincy Committee oversees a thriving school chaplaincy team who have become an integral part of the local community.

“They are dedicated and passionate about young people and amazing in the support they provide in our schools.” says Gladstone Chaplaincy Committee Chair, Kate Frost.

There are currently 10 chaplains serving in 14 schools in Gladstone, further north into Ambrose, and as far south as Boyne Island and Miriam Vale. The 10 chaplains meet once a week to catch up, share ideas and offer support to each other. It is this regular contact and collaboration that is critical to their success, Kate says.

“They let each other know what they’re dealing with…and discuss what’s going on… They reach out to people outside the school communities. They’re making a good impact on principals and staff as well as parents. I know they’ve been a wonderful support for a lot of people,” Kate says.

“We’ve got good friendships, they’re really supportive of each other and they work really well as a team.”

The chappies owe much of their success to the generous support of the community. By partnering with local schools and P&C Associations, chaplaincy has witnessed strong growth in the Gladstone area.  With the support of the community, chaplaincy fundraisers have been extremely successful. In their annual Tour De Chaplain – a 100 km bike ride to raise funds for chaplains – which has been running for the past decade, they raised over $20,000 this year.  As testament to their impact on the local community, this record-breaking figure was reached through the donations and support of many local businesses and organisations who believe in the value of school chaplaincy.

The positive example set by the local chappies has encouraged more members of the community to put their hand up to become chaplains themselves. The Gladstone Chaplaincy Committee hosts annual chaplaincy information nights for the local community.

“Some of our current chaplains working in the schools attended our first information night. So that’s been a very positive thing and we’re doing that annually now.”

“As part of their role they go beyond their school hours and assist in family and community situations. I’ve had phone calls from them at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, knowing that they hadn’t finished for the day. They definitely do go above and beyond in many different ways.”

SU QLD chaplains are all extraordinary people with a genuine passion and heart for the communities in which they work. If you or anyone you know has the passion to support children and young people through school chaplaincy, visit suqld.org.au/morehands.

Caitlyn Dunn

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