The Reverend Candice Mitrousis – Curate – Yarra Valley Grammar

Why did you choose school Chaplaincy?

I don’t know if I would say I chose School Chaplaincy as much as it just felt where I was supposed to be! I have always loved children and have worked with them. From babysitting at the age of 14, to coaching little ones at Calisthenics, to working as a nurse at the Royal Children’s Hospital to running education programs with the National Trust, kids have always been in my sphere.

When I started Children’s ministry at church, again it just felt like the right fit. Yet, as I continued, I grew more and more passionate about the place of children in church and the nurture of their faith. I was determined to be an advocate for them, and for me that meant staying in Lay Ministry because I didn’t want to be “taken away” from the ministry I love.

But, in 2021 God made it clear “I have work for you to do and you need to be ordained to do it.” So, I couldn’t really argue with that. As my journey continued, I realised my ordained journey would lead me to School Chaplaincy…. This was Ordained ministry and I didn’t have to give up working directly with Children. I still cherish parish ministry and working with children in that context but at school I get to connect with over 480 Junior School students in various ways.

How did you come to be in your current role?

My coming to Yarra was definitely in God’s hands. I had been volunteering at a couple of Anglican schools connected to my parish and I was hopeful that that I was going to end up employed at one of them, when Andrew Stewart called me and said Yarra was looking at taking on a curate, would I be interested? Of course, I said yes.

So, after an hour phone call with Paul Joy and a visit to the school… 2 ½ hours later I knew Yarra was the place for me!
I loved everything about the school, but especially their commitment to the Anglican tradition and how highly respected Chaplaincy is throughout the school community.

I started Term 1 in 2023 and haven’t looked back! I absolutely love what I do and the best part is hanging out with the kids and building relationships. In the role of School Chaplain, I have been involved in the daily spiritual life in the students through Chapel services, and R.E. classes but in the wider school community through the School musicals, Science Club and School camps.

In what way/s does your role fill your cup?

I have found that School Chaplaincy brings a new kind of exhaustion (in a good way) so I am thankful for my down time. I am blessed with amazing family and friends and spending time with my nearest and dearest definitely fills my cup. But my other loves are my Wheaten Terriers (of which I have 3) which bring so much joy, and my garden.

My garden is the place where I get my hands dirty, work physically but come out feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. We are fortunate to have quite a large backyard so it is filled with over 15 fruit trees – some of which have been grown from seed – and a substantial vegetable garden.

What is a challenge of your role and how do you overcome it?

When I think of challenges, they are positive ones…seeing what we could do and not have the hours in the days to complete it. There are so many opportunities to build relationships and involve myself in school community, but I also recognise I can’t do it all.

It is such a blessing that we have two Chaplains at Yarra and it is great to work in a team. We can certainly cover more ‘ground’, and there are always new ideas!