Thursday, July 14, 2016

What kind of chaplain am I?

I recently started working as a school chaplain and a couple of weeks ago attended a conference. Over the school holidays I've had a chance to reflect on my role.

Chaplaincy is very different to my previous library jobs. In libraries the day to day work is very obvious – you check out books, check in books and put books away. While there is other behind the scenes work to do the basics are well defined and structured. In comparison chaplaincy is nebulous and varies from school to school, depending on the needs of the schools and the skills of the chaplain.

Being an introvert in a chaplaincy role is a mixed blessings. On the one hand it makes me a thoughtful listener but on the other hand it's harder to initiate the kind of small talk that breaks down barriers. I expected to be able to use my library skills and connect with children through reading books, particularly at lunch time when I open up the library. However this hasn't happened a great deal and certainly not to the extent that I hoped. This means I have to find other ways to make connections.

Listening to other chaplain's experiences at conference was interesting. However many of the presenters were from big schools with more obvious issues. Even the stories I heard around meal times were again interesting, but not necessarily helpful in determining how I need to do chaplaincy.

So at the moment, I'm still reflecting on my own unique way of being a chaplain.

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