Chaplaincy has always been about more than the formalities of Chapel services but sadly that’s the expectation many people have. This year we are seeking to change the way the College community thinks about and experiences chaplaincy.
As the new Co-ordinator of Chaplaincy Services, I am working to bring the best of what Chaplaincy has been at Somerset and blend it with new initiatives to make it something that builds into what I like to call, “the soul of the College".
In terms of faith, this encompasses traditional Christian celebration and teaching but recognises that the College community comprises people of many different belief systems. Consequently, there are two underlying objectives to every chapel service:
that there should always be a challenge and encouragement that can be applied, regardless of a person’s belief system;
the nature of the service should be interesting and relevant so as to engage the participants and create a curiosity about faith; and
New initiatives will provide opportunities for students to explore spiritual themes and experience personal refreshment and comfort.
One of these initiatives is to re-activate the Small Chapel as a “spiritual space” where the focus on a school day is moved to inward reflection and challenge. Fortnightly on Thursdays it will become the Chapel-Inn at lunch time. Students who choose to attend will enjoy a range of programmes designed to lift their spirits, challenge their minds, and build their souls. Our first Chapel-Inn was themed Six Songs to Soothe Your Soul.
Another initiative is ChapChat on Schoolbox. This consists of short, pertinent, encouraging messages that will appear in students’ notification streams at appropriate times during the year. The first of these was published at the end of Semester One exams.
A third initiative is to rebuild the role of Chaplain as someone to whom students can talk when they just want to chat, and they need someone who is outside the normal social circle but not as formal as a counsellor.
There will be more new initiatives, and reactivation of old ones, over time, and I am always happy to receive suggestions and feedback from the College Community.
(Graham Hyman was a minister with the Churches of Christ from 1976 – 1988 and then ran Youth Specialties Australia from 1988 – present. In that role he works with public and private high schools throughout Australia and overseas presenting motivational programs for students as well as his Understanding Your Teenager and Living With Your Teenager presentations for parents. He has worked in nearly one third of Australian High Schools.)
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