Many SES Chaplains, as well as peers, have been deployed out of state to large events: deployments such as the Victorian bushfire disaster, Toowoomba and Brisbane Floods as well as Cyclone Yasi.
SES Chaplains like other emergency services personnel are on 24hr 7days a week call. This is sometimes a bit of a juggle, but the graciousness, of our parishes and Bishops enable us to go when possible.
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. Chaplaincy in the NSW SES exists to provide pastoral, spiritual and leadership support to members of the SES and their families. Chaplains are also linked with of the SES Peer Support and Critical Incident Programs.
The professional development we receive as chaplains also has flow-on effects to our ministries in our parishes. Each SES Chaplain is trained to a very high international standard in Critical incident Pastoral Care, and Crisis intervention.
Ministry in the NSW SES is an incredible extension to the missional ministry of each of the Chaplains and the parishes they are in.
The SES and the Church have some similarities – some paid staff and lots of volunteers doing the work. The SES has a Senior Chaplain on staff at State Headquarters and volunteers as chaplains in the regions. These are drawn from various denominations and come from local SES units in their region. There are 17 SES Regions, about 230 Units and over 9,000 members in NSW. Some units may have only a dozen members while others in more densely populated areas may have over 100 members. Newcastle Anglican Diocese covers some or all of three SES region:- the Hunter, Mid North Coast and Sydney Northern Regions.
By Rev’d Brian Ford and Rev’d Robyn Fry