After 24 years serving as Chaplain at Christ’s College, I am retiring. Anyone who has worked in a school will know how intense, challenging, and hard work these years have been, but it has also been a most precious form of ministry and mission.
Chaplaincy means one gets to know people really well – being with them day in day out, year in year out. There is the ordinariness of regular classes, services, sport, culture, and of seeing each other around the school. There are the special events such as baptisms and weddings; and also the tragedies, which have included earthquakes, terrorist attack, Covid, and funerals.
I have stressed that this is a school not just for Anglicans but an Anglican school for all. Christ, after whom our school is named, is front and centre of our school life.
With the increasing secularisation of our country, chaplains and Anglican schools are able to present Good News. With a decreasing of religious knowledge in our society, there can also come fewer prejudices.
I have tried hard to dispel the image of God as an almighty ogre in the sky who controls the weather. Seeing God as the Source and Purpose of all that is forms a strong foundation for being inclusive, affirming of Science, being bicultural and multicultural, open to different faith perspectives; this provides a sound basis for so-topical wellbeing (including presenting Christian contemplative disciplines, and the understanding of the place of suffering); this approach undergirds seeing God as the One who calls and empowers us to care for our planet.
School chaplaincy focuses on helping people find what enthuses them (noting that “enthuse” is derived from “in God”), and helping to give them skills to head into adult life to live that enthusiasm. Pray for me as I now head into another chapter in life with a stronger focus on being a human being, not just a human-doing; because, as I said, the last 24 years have certainly been very action focused.
Rev. Bosco Peters
Retiring Chaplain; Christ’s College, Canterbury.