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Chaplaincy program at Nazareth 2020

11.02.20

Over the past 6 months, the chaplaincy program has continued to offer support to families, students and staff.  Everyday issues such as depression, grief and loss, family breakdown and challenging family problems are addressed through meetings, as well as home visits with parents and students.  Supports and helps are given to assist our families and young people as they work through and handle life’s problems.

Our CEO Chaplaincy Support group, which meets each Term, plans professional development sessions for all chaplains/youth ministers/support workers in CESA schools.  An annual Retreat Day was also held on 15 November 2019.  All funded workers were invited to attend.

Further to our Inservice with Pauline Connelly (counsellor and psychologist) in Term 2 last year, a presentation from Nellie Anderson from the STTARS Child and Youth Team, (Angas Street, Adelaide, phone 8206 8900) was also organized and covered the following topics:

  • How to best support survivors of torture and trauma
  • providing support to refugee families or people from a refugee like background having arrived in Australia from another country with a history of (or presently suffering from) torture and / or other traumatic events in their lives
  • understanding that many people suffer from symptoms of PTSD and ongoing stress due to events still happening in their home country and the stress they still suffer in regards to family back home 

Some important information and links include:

STTARS website is www.sttars.org.au

Foundation House (www.foundationhouse.org.au)  is the Victorian arm of STTARS. 

The link www.foundationhouse.org.au/schools-in-for-refugees is a valuable tool with information on how to include and support families in a school setting who have had refugee experience. 

Cyber Safety training via a Webinar through the eSafety Commissioner was completed by Nazareth’s Chaplain in August last year.  These trainings will be ongoing.

2019 Acquittal Forms were submitted to the CEO.  Additional funds were made available.  Nazareth applied for and was successful in being granted EXTRA funding to be used before the end of the year.

Conducting Home Visits protocols have been discussed.  Reference has been made to p12 of the Protective Practices Guidelines for staff working or volunteering in education and care settings 2017.  Chaplains also follow these guidelines.

Also in accordance with the requirements of the Chaplaincy Funding, an annual Risk Assessment, endorsed by Louise Finlay, Nazareth’s WHS Officer, is carried out in April each year.

Further inservice work for Chaplains will be conducted again this year.

Our theme for 2020 is “Grace through Gratitude”.  We have this mantra first and foremost in our minds each day when working with all in our community.  We are so grateful for all we have and all we can do together for others.  It is with this mindset that:

We continue to work with

  • Professional bodies such as Centacare, Headspace and Lifeline on behalf of students, staff and families.
  • Parents when attending specialist meetings, often accompanying them with their child/children when necessary for psychological/speech/medical appointments.
  • Families in need when intensive support is required.
  • The Nazareth Connects program by actively responding to the various needs of families.  This is made possible because of the generously supplied/cooked meals from Nazareth families to those who have lost a loved one, those who are grieving, are experiencing a crisis (such as family breakdown/divorce/separation/domestic violence issues), those in hospital and those who are sick and suffering in any way.
  • All the various agencies and broader support services such as St Vincent de Paul Society, Anglicare, Uniting Care Wesley, Uniting Communities (financial counselling), the Salvation Army, Centrelink, Unity Housing, Housing SA, SAPOL.  These partnerships are critical to the ongoing welfare of many of our families.
  • Families by assisting them when they have an accident (paperwork), receive a fine, setting up a payment plan (electricity/gas), etc.

The Chaplaincy program continues to provide families, students, children and staff with a more caring environment and practical support by promoting the spiritual, physical, emotional, psychological and social well-being of all in our community.

The Chaplaincy role is one of advocacy, first and foremost.  It is also a negotiating, interceding, supporting, encouraging and “walking with” role/program.

This program is voluntary in nature and seeks to support many of our families with their everyday needs.

Sr Theresa Swiggs, Pastoral Coordinator / Chaplain

February 2020