As I come to the last of everything as a Chaplain at St John’s Grammar – last Chapel, last newsletter, last assembly, last….the overwhelming feelings are of gratitude and hope.

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity I have been given by the school to speak something of the life of God into the life of the school. I have no doubt that I have done this inadequately but I have done it sincerely and with passion. I will always believe that God, in the person of his humble, just, compassionate and courageous son Jesus, offers us a way to live in this world that leads us towards peace. Peace internally and externally. If my time in the school has allowed even one person to glimpse this more fully then I’m satisfied. God is always present with each person. Those of us called to positions of ministry are tasked with the work of helping people see where God is already at work in their lives and encouraging each person to accept the love that God offers.

I am grateful for the friendship of so many staff, people who I admire and will miss. Many of you have been incredibly kind and encouraging to me during my time at the school. Thank you.

I am grateful to the students, many of whom don’t list chapel as their highlight of the week! The students at St John’s are thoughtful, intelligent and open. At least most of the time. Over the last five years they have listened, participated, questioned and laughed. Much appreciated. I have valued the very many conversations of depth I have shared with students who have been willing to share their lives with me in some small way.

I am grateful for the companionship of Chaplain Paula over the last three years. A Chaplaincy team, male and female, means that the church is better represented to all students. Our gifts complement each other and Paula is a wonderful person and priest.

Finally, to hope. I hope that you will treat your next Chaplain with the same respect and kindness you have shown to Paula and myself. If that happens they will be well cared for. I hope that whenever and wherever you see God at work in your life, the lives of others or the life of the world, you will recognise that God is for you, never against you.  I hope that you might take to heart the words Jesus spoke to his friends after his resurrection, “Be not afraid”. Fear kills. Love enlivens. It’s a stark but beautiful choice.

May Christmas bring you joy. May you bring joy to others.

All the best,

Father Steve