A witty description which neatly sets out ministry for chaplains is: “A chaplain loiters with intent”
A chaplain ‘loiters’ amongst their community – to be visible and accessible, to both staff and patients/school children/prisoners etc. Chaplains ‘loiter’ in places where grief or stress or confusion are apparent – available for whatever comfort or advocacy might be invited. Sometimes the loitering is quite quick if the chaplain’s agency is a hospital…
‘With intent’ – the loitering is not passive. ‘With intent’ is about earning trust and showing themselves willing to understand and engage with people in an environment that is not theirs – eg seafarers. ‘With intent’ is to proclaim the Gospel –using words when they must. (with apologies to St. Francis of Assisi) ‘With intent’ is to be Christ-like – with every person – even if the person doesn’t have Christian jargon, or faith or any respect for Christ or Christianity.
Clergy in parish positions are surrounded by congregations who gather for Anglican worship and reach out to their local communities to make Christ known. Patterns of parish ministry and leadership are generally understood by clergy and parishioners and relationships and accountability to the Diocese are well laid out.
Chaplains are surrounded by and are part of communities which gather for almost any reason except worship! They may or may not be ordained. Some may have a chapel – or a room to convert for worship.
Chaplains ‘loiter’ in places where grief or stress or confusion are apparent – available for whatever comfort or advocacy might be invited. Sometimes the loitering is quite quick if the chaplain’s agency is a hospital…
Some chaplains are geographically contained – as are those to whom they minister eg school, hospital, and prisons. Others will move with their clients – defence force chaplains, post-release prisoners, and police. Some of us travel across the Diocese to agency services – welfare (Samaritans), aged care (Anglican Care & Storm Village).
Few have leadership in the agency in which they minister and are often accountable to several structures and varying funding bodies including the Diocese and the Bishop. The communities amongst which chaplains minister are ecumenical, multifaith, antifaith and at least some are anti-church.
For many chaplains, their ministries have always been ‘fresh expressions’ as each chaplain finds their own manner and style of approach that is authentic to their faith, accepted by the agency and maintains integrity to the Gospel.
All chaplains are related to the Diocese of Newcastle by being Licensed by the Bishop.
Some chaplains make annual reports to the Diocesan Synod – University of Newcastle Chaplains (Callaghan & Ourimbah campus), Mission to Seafarers, John Hunter Hospital, Cessnock Correctional & Juvenile Justice.
For other chaplains – their agency is accountable to the Synod eg Samaritans and Anglican Care, Scone Grammar, Lakes Grammar, Manning Valley & Bishop Tyrrell College.
For others still they report to their agency NSW Corrective Services Co-Ordinator And NSW Police Force Senior State Chaplain.
Find out more about areas of chaplaincy throughout the Diocese of Newcastle:
The Anglican Diocese supports our aged care ministry, Anglican Care, through a chaplaincy program. As a faith-based community, Anglican chaplains and lay volunteers are a fundamental part of the care team in every facility. They provide formal Anglican worship and ensure other denominations and faiths are supported. They are available to be in conversation with residents and their families about the “life and quality of life” questions which come to all of us.
Learn more about the Anglican Care Chaplaincy.
The Diocese has several chaplains immersed in the educational culture of both primary/secondary and tertiary institutions. We currently have chaplains throughout our 4 Newcastle Anglican Schools Corporation schools, as well as ministry with the University of Newcastle.
Learn more about the role of the School Chaplains.
Find out more about the University Chaplains.
The role of the chaplain to the John Hunter Hospital is to help support the emotional and spiritual well-being of the patients, staff, and visitors. The Anglican chaplain is given the responsibility to provide such support to Anglicans who have nominated that they are open to a visit.
Find out more about the role of John Hunter Hospital Chaplain here.
The justice chaplains provide support to residents of correctional facilities throughout the Diocese. The chaplain to the Cessnock Correctional Centre provides support through multi-faith ministries for residents, coordinate cultural festivals, present pastoral programs, and provide “a ministry of being there”.
Learn more about the Chaplain to Cessnock Correctional Centre here.
The role of the Police Chaplaincy is to minister to the spiritual welfare of members of the NSW Police Force, retired police, police widows and widowers and their immediate families.
Learn more about the role of the Police Chaplain here.
Mission to Seafarers
The Mission to Seafarers sought to help seafarers by offering practical, emotional and spiritual support through ship visits, drop-in centres and a range of welfare and emergency support services.
Read more about the Mission to Seafarers in Newcastle.
While primarily chaplain to the Samaritan staff (about 750 salaried and 350 volunteers) they will be involved with the people we support if that is requested.
Learn more about the role of the Samaritans Chaplain.
Ministry in the NSW SES is an incredible extension to the missional ministry of each of the Chaplains and the parishes they are in. SES Chaplains are on call 24hr 24hr 7days a week and many SES Chaplains have been deployed out of state to large events. More commonly chaplains provide support and advice for local leaders, visit sick or injured members and provide education in resilience and dealing with stress at Unit training meetings.
Read more about the contribution of the SES Chaplain.