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Opportunities in chaplaincy for the ordained and lay person continue to grow as increasingly organisations recognise the distinct skills and services such a ministry can provide and because many people have no relationship with a local worshipping community.
In the Diocese of Perth with its considerable number of schools, those which are independent and those which form part of the Anglican Schools Commission, there are possibilities to be a chaplain where ministry might be to well over 1,200 students, their parents and siblings, around three hundred or more staff, and any number of former students.
Chaplains work in places of acute need and one needs only to think of their work in hospitals, hospices, aged care, or living and working alongside women and men in the Defence Forces and the Police Force. Once again such ministry roles encourage creativity, demand thoughtful and dedicated care, and inspired wisdom.
It is in our prisons where another group of chaplains minister seeking to bring the message of love, redemption, and hope, found in Jesus Christ, to both prisoners and staff. An ordained person seeking challenge but willing to work under the guidance of the Holy Spirit can bring transformation and great joy.
While there will always be a need for parish ministry or that which finds itself in a local or gathered worshipping community, the Church is increasingly aware of opportunities to minster through chaplains in other pursuits and interests; not least mining companies and their sites and sports clubs.
The Diocese of Perth through its membership of the Perth College of Divinity supports the teaching of and research into theology at Murdoch University where alongside degrees in divinity, theology, and religious studies the University offers a Graduate Diploma and Master’s degree in Chaplaincy. Such qualifications provide the very best in pre and in service training for those who believe God is calling them to be a chaplain in his Church.
The largest Anglican provider of aged care accommodation and services in Western Australia is Amana Living, part of the Anglican Community. Amana Living offers chaplaincy to all its residential facilities, and also to those who receive assisted care through in-home, care-in-the-community packages.
Amana Living chaplains provide a pastoral presence not only for residents and those receiving assistance, but also for staff and for the families of the older people in their care. Volunteer pastoral carers are recruited, screened and trained to complement the work of the ordained chaplains. In many Amana Living villages, hostels and nursing home facilities, chaplains lead weekly worship services so that residents can continue to share in the sacramental life of the Anglican Church.
The Australian Defence Force chaplain is a `missionary’ sent out from the Church to minister in the name of Jesus wherever and whenever opportunities arise. It can be an adventurous ministry testing the chaplain’s spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical resources.
The chaplain aims to be a bridge between both individuals and Jesus, and the Anglican Church and the enveloping society.
Anglican Defence Force chaplaincy is a ministry encompassing sacramental, pastoral, evangelistic, vocational, instructional and administrative duties, in which the chaplain lives with and shares the hardships and privileges of uniformed people posted around the country and abroad.
Anglican Defence Force Chaplaincy is a vital work among the nation’s youth, a significant national ministry, and an important outreach to Australia’s regional neighbours.
To find out more about ADF chaplaincy go to this link www.defenceanglicans.org.au
"I was sick, and you took care of me." (Matthew 25.36)
In these words, Jesus Christ calls his followers to care for the Lord himself in the person of those who are sick and vulnerable.
Anglicans who are hospital chaplains provide care to patients, families and staff in many of our public and private hospitals. They offer a listening ear and a deep compassion to people of all faiths and none. Today we understand that 'health' has spiritual dimensions as well as physical, mental and emotional components, and that the whole person needs care. Chaplains are part of the team caring for the whole person.
When people come from rural or remote areas to one of the major hospitals in the Perth metropolitan area, contact with a chaplain can help bridge the gap of distance between their home community of faith and their spiritual needs while in hospital.
A chaplain can pray with and for a sick person, offer the sacraments where appropriate, and accompany people on their journey, whether it be a journey towards healing or towards death, or a journey of joy or grief for families and friends. Each hospital can put you in touch with the chaplaincy team for that hospital.
Industrial Chaplains are present in workplaces to offer care in the name of Christ to anyone who needs it. For many people who do not attend a church, the industrial chaplain may be the first port of call in a time of personal stress, family difficulty, illness or spiritual questioning. Employers increasingly realise that pastoral and spiritual care are important for a healthy workforce, and chaplains are providing this care in a wide variety of Western Australian workplaces.
Prisons are often places where society puts the people it does not know what to do with, or how to help. Out of sight is often out of mind. Prison chaplains are there alongside, listening, loving and providing wisdom and care that may make a difference, in the name of Jesus Christ who was, himself, a prisoner, cast out by the society of his day.
The Anglican Church has a long association with education. It runs some schools of its own, and provides some chaplains to state schools through the YouthCare programme.
The Diocese of Perth has single-sex and co-educational schools, some with boarding facilities, some with low fee structures. The chaplain of each Anglican school provides pastoral care for students, families and staff, leads regular worship in the Anglican tradition for all members of the school community, and often has a role in the teaching of religious education as a core element of the school's curriculum.
School Chaplaincy ministry is a great way of bringing the Good News of Jesus to young people, and of helping to form a healthy learning community around the life of a school.
Universities and Colleges of Higher Education
Anglicans offer chaplaincy on several higher education campuses in the Perth area. Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, Murdoch University and the University of WA all receive part-time Anglican chaplaincy in an ecumenical and interfaith context.
University Chaplains work gently and generously to commend Christian faith and service in one of the most religiously diverse ministry contexts of our time. With foreign as well as local students, and with staff and students from many different faith backgrounds and none, each chaplain finds a way of offering pastoral presence, intellectual engagement and personal support on campus.
Many faithful Anglicans, both lay and ordained, study and work on university campuses. As in any school or workplace, although they may hold a job or attend a class that is not specifically religious, they add another dimension of Christian witness to the intellectual and cultural world they inhabit. Some add to the visible Christian presence. At UWA, St George's College is an Anglican foundation which offers chaplaincy to residents. At Murdoch University, theological and biblical scholars are on the teaching and research staff in a programme that offers both undergraduate and graduate study. All contribute to the engagement of Christian faith with the best minds and the richest mixture of ideas that Australian academic culture has to offer.
While many would see sports chaplaincy as an emerging ministry, a large number of high performance sports in Australia already have sports chaplains.
Sports organisations and welfare officers recognise that sports people are whole human beings. The condition of other areas of an athlete's life, including unplanned circumstances, can and do affect their performance - both on the field and in the public arena. Sporting demands can also have an impact on vocational responsibilities and relationships.
In partnership with Sports Chaplaincy Australia, the Anglican Diocese of Perth has appointed a Centre Bounce Team to facilitate the accreditation, training and licensing of Sports Chaplains in the Diocese. You can contact the Centre Bounce Team here.
ARTICLE ABOUT SPORTS CHAPLAINCY: The Bible in Transmission: Common Ground? Sport and the Church
The members of the Chaplaincy Advisory Group are all engaged in the work of chaplaincy in hospitals, prisons and other contexts. They work ecumenically, sharing across the Christian churches the challenges of bringing God's love and care to those who through illness or imprisonment are excluded from neighbourhood church life.
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