Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Echuca chaplaincy notches up 30 years

Echuca and District School Chaplaincy Committee will celebrate 30 years in the community with a dinner later this month.

RENEE THOMPSON May 12, 2014 3:05am

Echuca chaplain Alan Corby.

Echuca chaplain Alan Corby is a good listener.

A chaplain of almost 19 years, he has spent the best part of the last five based in Echuca, working out of Echuca College and Echuca Primary School 208.

Before that, he was a chaplain based in Horsham for about 13-and-a-half years.

Mr Corby works three days a week at Echuca College and two days at Echuca 208.

‘‘A lot of it involves one-on-one talking with students and parents and staff. Listening to them is the big thing and what’s going on for them,’’ he said.

One of three school-based chaplains for Access ministries in the district, he runs a number of programs.

‘‘We do breakfast club at the college and something called rock and water at 208, which is for building self-confidence and resilience,’’ he said.

‘‘The thing that I’m trying to do is to build community within both schools.’’

The breakfast club has been running for four years and rock and water started last year.

He said grief was one of the main issues he had to deal with.

‘‘Grief’s a fairly big one we work with. We do a lot of work with students that have difficulty in social interactions, peer relationships, anger management,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of it is just to do with a presence. (For) many kids, a lot of the people in their lives are transitory.

‘‘People come in, move out.

‘‘Even parts of their families can be transitory so to be around and to be in school most days and be someone they can come and say ‘hi’ tothey know that we care.’’

Mr Corby is hoping members of the community who have benefited from such chaplaincy work will attend a dinner celebrating the 30th anniversary of Echuca and District School Chaplaincy Committee in Echuca on May 30.

‘‘It’s about celebrating chaplaincy within schools, the whole school community over that period of time,’’ he said.

He said three decades was an important milestone for the committee to reach.

‘‘It’s pretty big for any sort of volunteer-based group. The workers in the committee are the volunteers. In fact, some of them have been there nearly all that time,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s pretty amazing for people to put in that sort of effort over a 30-year timespan.

‘‘We’re pretty fortunate to get the guest speaker that’s lined up because she’s fairly talented.’’

Guest speaker Lisa McInnes-Smith, who spoke at Mathoura’s Australia Day ceremony this year, was a ‘‘great speaker to listen to’’, Mr Corby said.

‘‘I want to encourage people to support chaplaincy because we have to raise the funds for people to be in the schools,’’ he said.

The dinner will be at Radcliffe’s at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Tickets cost $75. To book, phone Jenny Sudholz on 54823903 or email by May 23.

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