The Reverend Tracey Gracey

Chaplain, St Peter's Woodlands, South Australia

My first chaplaincy position was at an Anglican school for girls. I had no chaplaincy or teaching experience, so it was a shock to learn on the first day I was teaching RAVE. 

In one of my first Year 8 classes, there was a conscientious, all-round A+ student. A delight to teach! As this student matured, she became rebellious in all aspects of school life and, for many staff, including myself, she was unreachable. In later years, this student wasn’t in my class but attended weekly assemblies and chapel services. She looked like she wasn’t listening and engaging with these services. 

In the final weeks of Year 12, I walked past this student who was talking to her friend and she said, “Reverend Tracey, I had a dream about you last night.” I replied, “I hope it was positive!” She said, “It was a bit like we are now. I was saying thank you to you as there were so many times in Assembly and Chapel that your prayers, artwork, quotes and reflections were so helpful. They were just what I needed. So I want to say thank you to you in person.” I was floored and managed to say, “Thank you so much.” 

As I walked away, tears filled my eyes (and I’m not much of a crier!), wow! This is how God works in school chaplaincy. You don’t know what impact your words, prayers, stories, bad jokes and reflections will have on students (including those who look bored and disengaged). Somehow, God can nurture, encourage and heal even when we feel we have no impact. 

This ‘soulful’ moment is what I hold on to and cherish as I continue to live my vocation and calling of being a School Chaplain.