Chaplain’s Corner Revisited
A box of past Chaplain’s Corners sits in the corner of our garage with many other historical documents. One relates to the large cross that I used for many years for Easter services in all parts of the school. I was carrying it through the Junior school quadrangle. I later heard that a young girl had rushed into the Junior School office. ‘Mrs Moore, Mrs Moore I just saw Jesus carrying his Cross!!’. It was constructed with skill by the maintenance team, to be strong and to last the rigours of school life, and carefully stored for important events. A symbol which was part of my life at Tintern that reflected both sadness and joy, death and new life, together with the cost of ministry within the school community during my time as Chaplain. The carrying of a cross for the life of Tintern, during the times of deep sadness at the death of several staff members, school family members and a much- loved Year 12 student. Joy, sadness and further joy as Southwood, faltered but became stronger than ever. Meals and gatherings at the boarding house, many marriages, baptisms and confirmations coupled with untold assemblies and worship services across the various sections of the school were life giving. The work of passionate Student leaders in areas of community building and social service can never be underestimated as they strived to make the school stronger than ever.
Many Outdoor Education experiences, camps and conferences provided both challenge and pleasure; the Snowy and Mitchell Rivers, Tasmania, Marysville, Canberra, Gippsland Lakes and various parts of Victoria. As these rich experiences were shared, I saw the growth of students and staff taking place and the climate of the school both in and outside the classroom growing stronger than ever. The time of restructuring in the life of Tintern was no easy task with much pain. Ultimately, however, it brought new life and an exciting move forward, in order that the school might be what it is today. The journey continues into the future under-pinned by the foundations laid by so many across the generations. Past history, current life and hope into the future will make Tintern Grammar stronger than ever.
Chaplain’s corners, written for the weekly newsletter, gave me time to reflect on the journey of the school and the privileged ministry that I shared with an excellent team of Staff. Led by three outstanding principals during my time at the school, twenty-two years moulded me into the person I am today. Although officially retired and very grey, I was drawn back into locum parish work in Sydenham for a year and two years in Collingwood. I was also made stronger than ever by two full knee replacements. The result of many a large pack carried, slope skied and mountain climbed. I am currently Locum minister at the Anglican church in Upper Ferntree Gully and enjoy my Ukulele classes at the local community centre. My wife still works as part time chaplain to the Anglican Diocesan Centre and our two daughters are busy in life, one working as a doctor and the other working in Outdoor Education at a camp in the Western District. Life moves forward into new realms of discovery no matter in what place or stage we may be. Whatever cross we may carry or bear in the journey of life, in sadness and joy, we can be stronger than ever and find peace with ourselves and the world.
Stewart Taplin + + +