In our community, there are a number of necessary roles which are undertaken by dedicated people and, as well as those who fill the roles of teachers, special education teachers, administration staff and maintenance people, there is someone who has taken on the task of being available to all at the school when needed and that is the School Chaplain.

Featured Image(above): Pastor Ray introduced Ken Piva, Wendy Nelson and Rebecca Andrews

School Chaplains have been providing social, emotional and spiritual support in schools for more than twenty-six years and their roles include promoting positive spirituality in all that they do as well as providing opportunities for students, staff and families to take advantage of the spiritual strengths, assets and resources available to them. Scripture Union Queensland (SU QLD) is the major provider of School chaplains and have placed chaplains in sixty-three per cent of all Queensland state primary schools and eighty-eight per cent of all Queensland state high schools with all three schools being included in those statistics.

Chaplaincy at Bribie Island schools is funded through a combination of a Federal Government grant and donations from community organisations as well as fundraising which is organised by the Local Chaplaincy Committee (LCC) and the most recent of these events was the 2018 Annual Chaplaincy Breakfast at the Bribie RSL on September 7th. A large crowd attended the event which was opened at 6.30 am by MC Pastor Ray Airosa who is the LCC Chairman and Bribie Island Baptist Church Pastor.

Auctioneer Barry France kept the bids rolling in with help from Councillor Savige

After thanking everyone for coming along, Pastor Ray introduced Division One Councillor Brooke Savige who welcomed the distinguished guests and also gave the apologies of those who were unable to attend. Councillor Savige also thanked all the that have supported the event through their donations and she pointed out that this support happens because they believe in chaplaincy and also believe in our young people. Prior to the hungry crowd beginning to eat breakfast, Pastor Ray said grace and then introduced the special guest speaker, Adam James.

MC Pastor Ray Airosa welcomed Division One Councillor Brooke Savige to the stage

Adam is a seasoned community worker who started a café called “A Cup From Above” in 2012 with the idea of training those who were struggling with significant issues to become baristas and consequently find employment. During his talk, Adam explained that it was always about more than the coffee and before long, the café accidentally became a drop-in centre for people in extreme crisis situations. ‘People who were domestic violence victims, drug dealers and fugitives from the law all came to the café to see the “Café Chaplain” and try to turn their life around,’ said Adam.

Six years on from opening, the café served its final cup of coffee and now Adam and his team continue to serve by supporting individuals through the most extreme crisis situations within our community. Adam went on to provide examples of how the school chaplains make such an incredible difference within the community and also mentioned some of the situations which he had faced during his time as a community worker.

Guest speaker Adam James gave some examples of how the chaplains work within the school community

As I have found to be the case whenever someone is giving a talk, whilst they pass on varying amounts of interesting information, there is always one thing that stands out, and in this instance, it was when Adam told the audience that “Listening Saves Lives.” Following the talk by Adam James, Pastor Ray welcomed the Bribie Island School Chaplains, Mr Ken Piva (Bribie Island State Primary School), Ms Rebecca Andrews (Bribie Island State High School) and Ms Wendy Nelson (Banksia Beach State Primary School) to the stage and they received a strong round of applause for their dedicated efforts. The next item on the morning’s agenda was the auction of numerous items which had been donated by supporting businesses and private community members.

These included a framed Broncos jersey, a gift voucher for Savige’s Seafood, a signed swim cap which had belonged to gold medal-winning swimmer, Bribie’s own Lakeisha Patterson. The bidding was strong for all items and auctioneer Barry France seemed to always to rake in a few extra bids which increased the total that was raised from the auction. The final part of the program was the drawing of the raffles and quite a few people were the lucky winners of a range of items before Pastor Ray closed the fundraiser by thanking all who attended and made the event such a success.

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