A chaplaincy scholarship in the Anglican Church of Southern Queensland is encouraging those who feel called to this important ministry to step forward and train for ordination.
What was the need or challenge being addressed?
For some time there has been a shortage of ordained chaplains in Anglican Schools in Southern Queensland. Over the last fifteen years this has meant that schools that previously had two or even three chaplains have struggled to find one. The challenge was to find people who felt called to this ministry and to assist them in offering and training for ordination. While it was felt that many of these people might be found already working in Anglican Schools the question was how the barriers to them offering themselves might be removed.
What was the response to the need?
The Anglican Schools Commission in Brisbane found itself with an opportunity to offer scholarships to those wanting to be chaplains in Anglican Schools. A chaplaincy scholarship program was established. After going through the discernment process and being accepted into the formation program students who have applied may be granted the scholarship. In addition to providing students with income for three days of study they are also placed in an Anglican School and paid for two days under the guidance of an existing chaplain. The scholarship program seeks not only to provide an income during formation but also to give the student a grounding in chaplaincy through direct experience.
What was the impact?
There have been applications to the scholarship every year since its inception. Some of those offering have been working in Anglican Schools but other excellent candidates have come through their voluntary engagement with our schools. In 2014 we had our first graduate who is now doing a curacy across a school and parish. In 2015 three students were granted a chaplaincy scholarship, started first year formation and were placed in different schools around the Diocese.
What were the greatest challenges or issues faced?
The greatest challenge has been finding placements for the students in schools with experienced chaplains. Thankfully a number of schools with excellent mentors have stepped forward and are helping to shape a new generation of chaplains. Balancing the students workload with their formation requirements has also be a challenge from time to time.