Starting in September, we are launching a new stand-alone module in School Chaplaincy. Steve Younger will be guiding students through the course, designed to equip people with knowledge and skills to most effectively connect with local schools. In anticipation of the course, we caught up with Steve to ask him a few questions about school’s chaplaincy.
Steve, tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to being interested in school’s chaplaincy?
“My dad was a teacher who moved into Baptist ministry, so I grew up in a school-focussed home and found myself comfortable in a school context. At university, I worked voluntarily with the counselling services visiting schools to encourage S5/6 pupils to come to university. From this I began to see the strategic value of a Christian presence in school. As a student pastor, and now in pastoral ministry for over 30 years, I have been a school’s chaplain. For many years my church allowed half my working week to be serving in schools. During this time, I worked towards, and gained, a doctorate in Chaplaincy and Spiritual Development in Schools.”
Why do you think school chaplaincy is important?
“Recent large-scale quantitative studies on bible engagement by children and young people have indicated a “trinity” of factors: Home (parental interest); Church (Youth Clubs and Sunday Schools); and School (RME classes and Assemblies). Only the latter, school input, has held steady and not declined in the last 20 years. There is a door of opportunity still open, and a requirement in the Curriculum for Excellence, to provide spiritual well-being and development. Schools are an important space where young people acquire values and explore beliefs.”
Finally, tell us a little bit about what you’ll cover in the classes.
“We will cover a lot! The aim of the class is for practical, reflective and effective Christian and spiritual service in schools. We’ll look at the education context, the legislative framework, Curriculum for Excellence, values acquisition, spirituality in children and young people, spiritual development, input to RME classes, assembly input, exemplar materials, code of conduct for school chaplains, theology of school chaplaincy, practice of school chaplaincy.”
In September 2023 the classes are set to run on a Thursday afternoon from 2pm till 4pm through distance learning between September 14th and December 7th. If you are interested in taking the class, or want further information, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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