The Chaplaincy Project – Prep to Year 12
One of the great projects of St Hilda’s School has been to act in the belief that every girl has a voice. The Chaplaincy Project has been about creating time, place and content for that voice, that it might reflect the school’s values of Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Hope and Grace. We are immensely proud of the way the girls have become involved in leading worship within the school. We also delight in the way the girls participate.
The Chapel Prefects lead many of the Middle and Senior School Chapels. They regularly share their deepest thoughts with reflections (addresses) that uncover aspects of their own life and journey, as well as their thoughts on scripture. Many of these talks are moving and the girls respond to the thoughtful openness of the senior girls.
The approach to have the girls being involved in Chapel services starts in the Junior School where many of the services are taken by classes. The Prep girls will stand on a box, looking over a lectern, to read a prayer that has been written in class. As they grow, it is encouraging to see their confidence grow. So also do their microphone skills!
Our worship style is not bound by formality, but it always has great dignity and it is a call to each person to respond, from within their own humanity, to the great concerns of humanity. We have discussed true strength of character with laughter and seriousness; we have made space for Amnesty International to speak for those whose voices are not heard; we have given over time to the importance of truly valuing the people next to us; and have been reminded that the power of Love eternally flows from God.
There is always a space for the chaplain to respond to the questions, ideas and moments of the world in the weekly newsletter. Sometimes, the writings provide a Christian response to significant questions facing people, young or old, in today’s world. At other times, they celebrate the ‘life’ of this school. Not many people would be aware that this is echoed in the life of the staff with a reflection offered each day during Morning Briefing. This is a chance to challenge, to inspire, to think together, and finally to pray that God may be with us in our journeys.
The Chaplaincy Project is not confined to the worship services, and newsletters, but can be found in the interactions and programs of the Religious Education (RE) program; and in the participation and valuing of the Outdoor Education program, amongst others.
In RE, we value the acquisition of knowledge, but far more the building of wisdom. We learn about scripture, so that we can apply our picture of God, not just for our own benefit, but also for the good of others. There are many parts of the school program that benefit from our RE conversations. An example is the Outdoor Education program where we share the most amazing experiences. A challenging environment can test character and group cohesion. Personal growth, sharing and listening are all developed in the outdoors. We also learn to find God in many places.
The growth from a little Prep girl to a confident and capable young woman is no accident. It is the sign of careful, thoughtful and faithful consideration. Many people work together for the glory of God, and the good of the girls; and it does not end when the girls leave the school. Ongoing connections endure. Many return for the baptism of their children, or choose the place where they have worshiped God as a young girl to be the place where they marry.
We know that every girl matters to God.