Growing in Faith

Covid-19 and School Chaplaincy

One of the students engaged in online chapel. A parent shared that she was so engaged she put her hand up to answer a question, even though there was no interactive aspect at that stage.

By Rev. Jon Humphries, Growing in Faith Panel Member

It has been an interesting time in schools ministry with the move from face-to-face to, large groups, to small groups and now to online modes of learning. I have taken up the challenge of pre-recording Chapel services.

This allows me to control content, edit bloopers which inevitably happen because it is not as natural talking to a camera as it is to a live congregation/audience. Pre-recording also, given I have limited access to technical software and limited technical knowledge even if I did have access, gives me a simple way to share PowerPoint presentation slides and videos by embedding them in the pre-recorded video.

I am beginning to explore some of the live-streaming options, but haven’t found the platform or the time to really get to play and see how it might work. So, far the feedback has been good and the students have liked what I have offered and have found it engaging.

At this stage our school, like many others in NSW/ACT remains technically open. So, while we have had a few students on site, most of our staff are on site, therefore the ministry of presence is an important one.

Just making time to wander around the campus and engage people in conversation and offer them encouragement seems to be a helpful thing to do.

As this all began to intensify, my principal commented to me how important chaplaincy was in communities like this. This spurred me to think about how I could encourage staff members, including those who felt the need to work from home because of health or family issues. So, most days I write an email to staff with a little introduction and a prayer. Sometimes I quote the Scriptures as well, or just simply reference them, and other times I just reflect wisdom that can be found there and some helpful theology.

In all this, I have found that people may not directly respond with a word of thanks or a ‘like’ etc. However, there have been a couple of emails and some conversations as I move around the school that people have been watching and reading and it has been helpful to have the love of God shared in these various ways.

Jon has shared some of what he is doing with online chapel in the Circle. Watch this five minute clip for a summary of his senior school chapel service. 

Rev. Jon Humphries is Chaplain and Religious Education Teacher at Ravenswood and a Panel Member of the Growing in Faith Circle.