A happy chappy for Gympie High
JOHN Donaldson might be new to being chaplain at Gympie High, but he is not completely new to Gympie.
John, originally hailing from the North East of England, migrated to Gympie at the end of 2005. Within 10 months he married a local girl, Claire (nee Agnew). They have two young sons – both born in Gympie – Micaiah (two years old) and Noah (six months old).
In his spare time, John enjoys time with family and friends, sport, reading (mainly Christian/theology and finance related books) and, more recently, trying to grow bonsai trees.
His parents and two brothers have also moved from England and live in Gympie.
John has worked in a variety of occupations that he believes have helped to equip him for the high school chaplaincy work. His main background is as a secondary school maths teacher in England. However, more recently he has worked in a financial planning office including a short time as a financial planner. He believes that the examples set by his parents have also been of great benefit in preparing him for the work of a chaplain. “I feel as though I have a double blessing as I share my father’s love for the word of God, prayer, preaching and evangelism, but also have a willingness to serve practically – a very strong characteristic displayed in my mother,” he said.
John is really enjoying his new role. “It is very different to being a teacher. The kids are much more open.
“I haven’t been at the school very long, but already have been amazed by some of the issues affecting young people. In my previous role as a teacher, I was not exposed to this nearly as much as now in the role of Chaplain. I hope to gain the respect of the students, teachers and parents through the way and live and do my job at the school. As someone once said, ‘preach the Gospel, and when necessary, use words’.”
Asked about his vision for this work, John said he was thankful for the solid foundation left for chaplaincy by the former chaplain, Peter Murphy.
“I desire to build upon this, establishing strong relationships with staff, pupils, parents and the wider community. There are a number of areas (subject to approval from the principal) I potentially see my involvement at school.
“Primarily I would like to be involved in sports/soccer, educational support/development and work with students displaying behavioural issues – in addition to one to one pastoral care etc.
“At this stage however, my main focus is upon building relationships with staff and students, and then determining the priority areas for initial focus, before expanding my involvement.
“I desire to do all things well – as unto the Lord, so that others may see my life and think ‘that’s what a Christian should be like’.”