Chaplains vital in our schools, says MP

Chaplains of the Noosa Region State Schools: Bill Howard, Paulette Gee, Lisa Klein, Michelle Gameiro, Elisa Williams, Matty Bateson, Michael Gameiro

By Ian Jobling

The importance of the work by chaplains in our State Schools was reinforced by Wide Bay Federal MP Llew O’Brien at the Christian Outreach Church last week.

Speaking by video link from Parliament House in Canberra he said, “The chaplains have my 100 per cent support.”

He said their work was not about religious instruction, describing the “kind and positive impact” a school chaplain had on his life when he first heard his mother had been diagnosed with a serious illness.

Lisa Klein, a local chaplain in both a primary and secondary school, complemented Mr. O’Brien’s words by revealing she encounters students weekly who have unique stories to share but at the heart of each story is a young person who wants to be heard without judgment and without conditions.

More than a hundred people were present at the commissioning service for the seven chaplains who will work this year in Noosa’s State Schools.

To open the service, the new minister of Tewantin-Noosa Presbyterian Church, Phil Stolk, referred to chaplains as “shining like lights.” Later the Reverend Lynda Johnson of the Anglican Church of Noosa said,

… you can speak words of care and love; you can do so much in practical ways that bring relief, fun, learning and understanding. In other words – you can shine … and draw people to that light.”

One of the speakers was the Principal of Tewantin State School, Rob Jennings, who said he appreciated the work of his two chaplains, Bill Howard and Elisa Williams. He said they provided an extra level of support for “our other teachers who are trying to fulfil Education Queensland’s policy of ’Every student succeeding.’”

Chairman of the Noosa Regional Chaplaincy Committee, Russell McGuire, reminded those present that the continuation and growth of the Chaplaincy Program in Noosa schools is dependent on committed community funding. Should readers want to be part of this support, a tax-deductible donation can be made at:

https://www.suqld.org.au/donate/noosa-region-chaplaincy-tax-deductible.

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