Firstly a big THANK YOU to the students, staff and families of Bishop Tyrrell for your warm welcome! Because of your kindness and encouragement, I already feel at home in our college community.

Now we are all back on campus I have had the opportunity to join Primary Chapel and Secondary Chapel for the first time, as well as the Investiture Service for our Year 12 2022 leaders. It is a great privilege to be invited to lead worship and to mark significant occasions in our school life with liturgies of thanksgiving.

I have visited lots of classrooms and found our students to be generous in sharing with me about their learning and interests. They have also engaged courageously in deeper conversations. We have had grace-filled discussions in the last two weeks about everything from “What’s your favourite salad vegetable?” (courtesy of Kindergarten) to issues of human sexuality and identity (these questions were raised by almost every Secondary class) to “Have you ever thought about being the Pope?” (Well, now I have!). At the end of the day, all these questions are about building trust and wanting to feel safe. I am impressed by our students’ curious and engaged minds and their passionate hearts for justice.

I am also very thankful to our teachers and staff for their support of my ministry at BTAC. Being new to a school, it is truly astonishing to see the miraculous things that teachers achieve behind the scenes! Dr. Peter Stuart, Bishop of Newcastle, emailed our teachers on World Teachers’ Day to offer his thanks for their heartfelt dedication. “We are giving the wonderful privilege of being part of the lives of our students and their families,” wrote Bishop Peter. “We get to see these children grow in knowledge, self-awareness, skill, and wisdom. It is wonderful to see them explore the world of faith and ideas as they become who they are meant to be; who God has called them to be.

“Thank you for the part you play in teaching and mentoring them. Thank you for the passion you bring to helping them develop enquiring minds and open hearts. Every day you make a difference and we know that some of your impact will be lifelong; being remembered with deep fondness.”

Bishop Peter highlighted that the past 18 months have been a challenging time for teachers, school staff, students, and their families. “You have done so much to enable the school to continue face-to-face and online. Again, thank you.”

I want to affirm Bishop Peter’s words and express my congratulations for all you have managed to achieve at this challenging time. I am also looking forward to moving into the next stage of our learning journey – and seeing what each new day brings!!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

With warmest wishes and prayers,

Reverend Jacqui

College Chaplain