The Reverend Andrew Stewart
Chaplain, Mentone Grammar
While I was fortunate to be a student at an Anglican School, it took me a while to feel that God was calling me back to work at one.
Leaving school, I had my sights set on making a name for myself in the banking sector but fortunately God had other ideas. Getting involved in part time youth ministry I found that I enjoyed working with young people and then I received a life changing invitation to speak at an Anglican school.
It was a newly established school, so I found myself speaking to a group of Year 9 students all crammed into a small building with students literally at my feet. It was sink or swim. Fortunately, I swam, having had some experience of how to engage young people.
This led to more opportunities to speak at Anglican schools, and I got to see chaplains in action. I was impressed by their role in their school and to see firsthand the regard in which they were held by students and staff. I was interested in exploring if this kind of ministry was for me.
As part of my ordination training, I was fortunate to be able to do a placement at an Anglican school and found this a richly rewarding experience. After I was ordained, the school where I had done my placement invited me to join the staff as a chaplain and I have been involved in Anglican schools ever since.
Some twenty-five years later, my passion and enthusiasm for chaplaincy hasn’t waned. I still enjoy the challenge of making the Christian faith relevant to young people and helping them engage with the great questions of meaning and purpose.
I have really appreciated the chance to network and share ideas and find attending the Anglican Schools Australia Conference a ministry highlight of my year. I now find myself being one of the more experienced chaplains and so my focus now is also encouraging a new generation of chaplains into this vital ministry.
I am grateful to those who many years ago showed me how significant chaplaincy can be. I now work to help ‘pass the baton on’ to the next generation of people God has called to work in our Anglican schools.