More than 50 Chaplains came together for an action packed gathering over three days at the start of August. This annual gathering for the New Zealand Association of Teachers and School Chaplains began with an opening powhiri and worship at St John’s Anglican Cathedral in Napier. Anglican affiliated and Presbyterian Church schools were actively involved in this conference with schools contributing in a service or workshop including Lindisfarne College, Hereworth, Woodford House, Iona College, St Matthew’s Primary School, Hukarere Girls’ College and Te Aute Boys’ College.
Te Aute and Hukarere Colleges welcomed the conference delegates to the Cathedral. It was a spine-tingling powhiri and bi-lingual service. The sun was out, which added to the warmth of welcome, marking the beginning of our conference.
Guest speakers came from far and wide to take workshops on addiction, pornography and safety on the internet. There were also workshops on alternative ways in which schools are offering prayer including mindfulness and centering prayer. At Hereworth School, we experienced displays on prayer stations and a forum discussing theology with Jenny Te Paa- Daniels.
Woodford and St Matthew’s shared a combined service in our Chapel. The Chapel choir were in top form and the conference delegates were spellbound by the choirs’ beautiful voices.
The evening sunlight beamed through the stained glass windows as the young St Matthew’s students shared a contemporary reading on the wedding at Cana and led us in prayers. The conference delegates went away with beautiful memories of the worship service.
Iona College hosted all of the delegates on the last day and we listened to Dr Jenny Te Paa-Daniels’ thought-provoking lecture on ‘Transformative education for young lives’.
Chaplains value the opportunity of gathering together to celebrate and share what happens in each of our church schools. Ours is an important role of upholding the Christian values and special character of our respective schools. These annual conferences are highly significant for us to reflect, share and celebrate our special character and ministry to students and staff.
Reverend Joy Hamilton-Jones, Chaplain