Anglican Schools Australia (ASA) is proud of the ministry of chaplains in all of its member schools. As a network it seeks to provide encouragement, support and education for chaplains. In particular it aims to develop resources for chaplains to use and share with one another and with the students and staff in their care.
Each year the ASA conference sees chaplains, principals, senior academic and pastoral staff, and classroom teachers gather together alongside senior clergy and school governors in a spirit of collegiality and celebration, as new ideas are explored and professional relationships strengthened. Many chaplains work alone or in small teams, so these conferences enable them to showcase and pool their resources, while accumulating new ones.
A recent ASA initiative came to fruition with the inaugural meeting of the Chaplains Consultative Committee in October 2016. Representatives from each state and the ACT Chaplains' Network met in Melbourne 'to learn what each state is doing to support and encourage the work of chaplains'. As one representative said: 'The day provided the opportunity to deepen relationships, listen to one another's stories and hear about our respective ministry contexts.'
ASA is keen to further develop this 'sharing of ideas and resources' with chaplains around the nation. We especially welcome chaplains new to the network and hope you will connect with other chaplains and benefit from their experience through the links we establish. Most importantly, we encourage you to make use of this website, together with our Blog - aplaceformission.org and our recently established closed Facebook Page,
'ASA Chaplains' (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1690383871237877/).
If you have resources or ideas, please share them.
If you have a request or question, please raise it.
Finally, if you have a moment, pray for us and our students that together we might grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ our Lord.
In 2015 the Management Committee finalised details for an agreement between ASA and the Centre for Chaplaincy Studies at the University of Cardiff in Wales (in partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Hong Kong), for Australian school chaplains to study a three-year Master of Theology in Chaplaincy Studies. For the first two years, chaplains will undertake four 4-day 'intensives' per year - one each in Cardiff (Wales) and Perth (Australia), and two in Hong Kong. The third year involves writing a dissertation. They will be studying alongside chaplains from the UK, Asia, and beyond.
Our first Australian chaplain enrolled in the course in September 2015. The Reverend Jean-Pierre Schroeder, who at that time was a Chaplain at St Mark's Anglican Community School in Perth, spent part of September at St Michael's College in Cardiff for the first 'intensive'. Here he met chaplains from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. He spent the second intensive in Hong Kong where he worked alongside students from the Diocese of Hong Kong.
Jean-Pierre said the 'student intake is diverse - it goes beyond those of us in the Christian tradition. People of other faiths are encouraged to study chaplaincy to meet the needs of their faith traditions. The course contains special Islamic and Buddhist components for research and reflection'.
Jean-Pierre enjoyed being able 'to tap into the knowledge and experience of the tutors as well as having access to the accumulated research of students who have passed through the College's halls'. He notes that the calibre of the staff and quality of the course have been recognised by the UK's Ministry of Defence (MOD). Indeed the MOD sponsors all of its chaplains to complete the MTh at Cardiff.
Jean-Pierre has also enjoyed meeting chaplains who minister in very different contexts from schools. He has met chaplains who work in the military, prisons, hospitals, airports, even shopping malls. He contends this diversity 'gives the experience added depth and sets the course apart'.
Chaplains who are interested in finding out more about the course are encouraged to read Jean-Pierre's articles titled Pioneer of Guinea Pig? Initial Impressions of the MTh in Chaplaincy Studies published on pages 6-7 of the December 2015 issue of ASA NEWS and Learning Practical Theology in Hong Kong published on pages 60-61 of the April 2016 edition of ASA NEWS.
Jean-Pierre's MTh studies were financially supported by the Anglican Schools Commission, St Mark's Anglican Community School and the Diocese of Perth. Other dioceses and school principals are urged to consider supporting chaplains in this purposeful professional development.
Course costs are comparable to those in Australia.