Chaplaincy allows us to make a unique contribution to the lives of young people in schools and colleges by being there every week, not just as visitors but as part of the staff team. This role includes two distinct but complementary aspects.
When life gets difficult, as school or at home, our chaplains can provide just the right level of support for a young person. The gift of time, typically about 20 minutes a week, is often all that’s needed for a student to talk over what’s going on and to work towards positive outcomes.
When Abby came to chat to one of our chaplains, teachers were only too aware of her ‘anger’ issues. But what emerged was a frightened girl who was trying to live up to an unrealistic expectation of herself and forever saw herself as a failure. In just a few weeks Abby had changed, bringing positive change to her own life, the lives of those around her and her achievement in school.
Some staff also appreciate the opportunity to chat through the issues they’re facing with a non-teacher colleague.
All of our chaplains work within the pastoral care structure of the school or college.
Many young people’s experience of life includes a spiritual or non-material dimension, something that most have few opportunities to explore or express. In recognition of this schools are required to encourage the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of their students.
Our chaplains are able to initiate and respond to opportunities for spiritual development in all of school life. That might be encouraging a young person to explore their own growing faith, running a specific spiritual development activity like Sanctum or a Remembrance project, co-ordinating Christmas or Easter events, managing a school or college quiet/prayer room or being there to help as a response to major tragedies or celebrations in the life of the school.
After taking part in an “Art is Spiritual” project at the Sixth Form College Ellie wrote of her final piece, “To me, the falling figure in the position of vulnerability represents our journey through life. The hands reaching for the figure, in my mind, are those of an unnamed god. The figure and the hands of god share a common thread of gold… the gold wire extends from the essentially human to the supernatural, signifying the deep seated need for care and love we all share."
Megan visited Sanctum and said afterwards “I found that Sanctum was greatly helpful. It gave me time to think about previous events, helping me to forgive.”
Being recognised as a Chaplain with this particular role can take pressure off staff, encourage those with a faith, promote equality and diversity and helps schools and colleges in an area where they often have limited resources to commit to spiritual, moral, social and cultural development