New Chaplain finds faith in students’ unique gifts

Our new College Chaplain, The Reverend Jacqueline Weston, joins the Bishop Tyrrell community from St. James’ Anglican Church at Morpeth where she was the parish priest for three years.

Bishop Tyrrell is Jacqui’s first Chaplaincy role in a school, and she says it was this community’s faith story and holistic approach to learning that inspired her to consider a move to a school like ours. 

“School for me was a time of questioning the meaning and purpose of everything. It’s a privilege to join a school like this that values critical thinking and assists students in their own journey of asking the big questions at this stage in their lives.”

“Young people are growing up in a world that has lost the sense that the dignity and purpose of human life are found in being made in the image of God. Instead, young people feel under enormous pressure to be ‘winners’ in life to believe they are worthwhile. This hinders their confidence and their willingness to learn by making mistakes.”

“But shame and fear do not lead to flourishing human life; the message of the gospel is that care and dignity bring out the best in people. Every child needs to know that they are accepted and valued, not just for their achievements, but for the wholeness of who they are.”

Jacqui hopes to nurture a healthy Christian community through Bishop Tyrrell’s shared understanding that faith creates wholeness and balance in the community by giving students the confidence to pursue their unique gifts.

“In helping to discover their gifts we are building community,” explains Jacqui. “We are all equipped with different gifts for building up the body of Christ. The holistic approach to learning at Bishop Tyrrell fosters an attitude of curiosity and many opportunities for young people to discover gifts they didn’t even know they had! The dream is for every student to know they have value, self-worth, and are encouraged to follow their passions and share their unique gifts with others.”

“This is how I hope to help Bishop Tyrrell’s learning community live out its faith: by bringing people into communion with God and with one another.”

Rev. Jacqui trained for ministry in the Diocese of Newcastle and served as a Deacon at Christ Church Cathedral before her appointment as Parish Priest of Morpeth. She studied theology through Trinity College Theological School and has an Honours degree in Classics from the University of Newcastle with the University Medal. Jacqui is a Cambridge Trust Scholar and had the “dream” opportunity to do postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge.

Rev. Jacqui enjoys softball, comedy, detective stories, and family life with her ten-year-old son Lachlan.

Her favourite quote comes from the timeless wisdom of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings:

 “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”Jacqui’s prayer for Bishop Tyrrell is that every child would know they are empowered to make such meaningful decisions in their own lives.