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MEDIA RELEASE: Community gets behind school chaplains

Posted: 09-Aug-2011

August 8, 2011
MEDIA RELEASE: Community gets behind school chaplains
In just the last five days, school chaplains have received a huge boost of community support, as the number of people signing statements of support for them quickly soared to over 60,000.
Tim Mander, CEO of Scripture Union Qld, the nation’s largest employing authority for chaplains, said that the number of people who signed statements of support had doubled in the last week and was an indication that the community recognized the benefits of chaplains in schools.
This support is a big boost to those heading to Canberra as the High Court challenge to school chaplaincy begins tomorrow, which could threaten the funding for around 2500 chaplains across the nation.
Mr Mander said, “Contrary to some of the misunderstandings around, all chaplains employed by member organisations of the National School Chaplaincy Association have rigorous minimum training requirements. The community can be confident in our school chaplains and the number of signedstatements we now have reflects the huge community support we’ve always been aware of.”
“Chaplains are trained youth workers who fulfill a unique and valuable role in school communities by providing pastoral care, spiritual support and referral pathways. They work with other caring professionals tobuild a strong network of support for parents, teachers and students. They don’t impose religious beliefs, rather they serve spiritual needs” said Mr Mander.
The High Court challenge is a matter of constitutional law, and largely concerns whether the Commonwealth may fund school chaplaincy directly. This challenge may also affect other federal funding programs.

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