Next week, churches from around the State will celebrate the unprecedented pastoral care opportunity provided through school chaplains, who are bringing the hope and love of Christ to a young generation.
Over 250 new chaplains have been appointed in the past year alone, as demand for this powerful role continues to grow.
The boom in chaplaincy numbers throughout the state is partly the result of funding from the National School Chaplaincy Program, helping more than double the number of Queensland school chaplains from 200 to 450 since the start of 2007. Yet the vast bulk of funding comes from local community committees which draw together churches, service clubs, parents and businesses to own the effort in their neighbourhood schools.
Chaplaincy Week will be held from 25 May until 1 June, run by not-for-profit, inter-denominational youth and children organisation SU Qld, which is the largest provider of school chaplains in Australia.
Chaplaincy Week will focus on local activities that give students the opportunity to join with their “Chappy” in giving something back to their school community, its teachers, volunteers, and supporters. Activities during the week will include: rock climbing walls, special school breakfasts and lunches, staff morning teas, lawn bowls, supporter thank you events, and lunch time band performances.
Tim Mander, CEO SU Qld and former NRL Grand Final Referee, thanked churches for their ongoing support of school chaplains and their commitment to serving the local community.
“SU Qld chaplains are incredibly grateful for the prayer and financial support of local churches,” said Mr Mander. “Whether there are study problems or family breakdown, bullying or serious depression, SU Qld’s force of chaplains are there on the frontline, offering students genuine hope.”
According to Suzanne Innes, Executive Director (Schools), Sunshine Coast North District, Education Queensland, “School chaplains are an additional person for students to turn to for support and guidance, and are a huge positive influence both on students and their families”.
And in a recent evaluation study of school chaplaincy, a school principal has concluded, "I just think it’s an exceptional program – it’s one of the best programs I’ve seen come into the school."
Mr Mander is encouraging all Queensland churches to get involved in Chaplaincy Week, “We are inviting churches, students, parents, school staff and the community to join in Chaplaincy Week activities. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate your Chappy and thank others from the school community.”
Photo : QUEENSLAND NEWS