Over three days at the beginning of August 2017, a number of Uniting Church School Chaplains went on a retreat in the Blue Mountains. The retreat looked to inspire chaplains as they take on the important responsibility of sharing the message of Jesus in our schools. The following are reflections from the retreat.
“For most of my time in the UCA, I have been agnostic about the UCA Schools. I had heard rhetoric uncertain about the connection between the schools and the (proper) church. But I had not given the matter much thought.
That is, until I had the privilege of providing some input at this year’s UCA Schools Chaplains’ Retreat. Twelve chaplains met in the chilly Blue Mountains for two and a half days to reflect on their ministry and be further equipped and encouraged.
Seldom have I been with a more encouraging group of Christian leaders. Each one had a passion for Christ and a desire to serve the students and communities that made up the schools where they worked. Each one was profoundly aware of both the privilege and the responsibility of their task. Perhaps more than anything else, there was an excitement about the opportunities they each had to incarnate the love of God in their school communities.
Together, we reflected on what it meant to be Christ’s representatives in these places that are powerfully formative to the children and young people who are being educated therein. The Chaplains shared stories of particular students, families, staff and circumstances in which God’s Spirit had significantly worked for good in life transforming ways.
The schools thrive on account of the core values that are embodied in Christ. The Church’s mission is to make Christ known in the world. As we considered both the future of the schools and the future of the Uniting Church, it seemed abundantly clear that there was enormous potential for mutual strengthening.
Next time you give thought to the UCA’s schools, I encourage you to say a prayer for the wonderful men and women of God who serve as UCA Chaplains. They do extraordinary work.”
Rev David Gore is the Minster at Mustard Seed Uniting Church Ultimo and facilitated the retreat.
“Every time I go to our School Chaplain’s retreat, the passion all the chaplains have for the children and staff in their schools, is both inspiring and infectious. It makes me feel incredibly proud to be a part of our Pymble School and all of our chaplains.”
Rev Lorenzo Rodriguez Torres
“Being a school chaplain at MLC School Burwood is of the highest privilege and honour. Having the opportunity to walk alongside 1200 girls and 500 staff is certainly a challenge but certainly makes me feel part of the mission of God. I love being God’s representative in this mission field.”
Rev Vanessa Williams-Henke
If you are interested in school chaplaincy there is a placement vacancy at Newington College, Stanmore click here for more information.