An update from Nigel on the recent changes within SVST.
Many of you will have realised that there have been considerable changes at SVST over the past year or so. You may not, however, have fully grasped the rationale for change. The Trust was aware of the need long before the end of 2019; the advent of the pandemic at the beginning of 2020 merely brought that need into sharper focus and accelerated the pace of change.
One way to explain this is to say that formerly we acted a little like delivery personnel, going into schools to deliver assemblies or clubs or special activities, whereas now we seek to be more like members of the family, resident in the community and delivering from within. The essence of chaplaincy is to represent Christ in the community in which the chaplain serves. This is at once a more intense and focussed task (in terms of those we relate to) and a more diverse and varied role (in terms of what we do).
A typical day may involve several sessions listening to individual children who have been selected for their particular needs. It will also involve contributing to a wide range of events and activities in the school community. This includes, for example, leading collective worship, helping to shape the spiritual programme of the school, creating prayer spaces, and convening meetings to discuss issues related to faith. In short, it involves being available to support staff as well as children with the compassion of Christ in any number of ways. I do believe that you will get a taste of all this from the various contributions in our latest newsletter. I hope that you will also appreciate that this is very much a venture of faith. We have seen constant affirmations of the direction that we have taken and feel so blessed in seeing God at work in our school communities. But we also recognise that we remain entirely dependent upon the Lord's grace and, in him, upon your generous support both financially and in prayer.
Because of the nature of the work it may appear that our footfall is smaller than it was previously; this was not unforeseen. It is very much our prayer and our vision, however, that in due course we will have the necessary resources to make ourselves available in more schools. We know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the demand exists! We pray that you will feel able to partner more closely with us as we seek to expand the work and to impact more communities of young people with the power of the gospel of the Lord Jesus.