Last week was a very special one for Westbourne as it marked the official commissioning of our new chaplain, the Reverend Stephen Morrison.
This event took place in the JR Pascoe Chapel and was attended by a large number of people from our extended community including the Chair of the Board, Mr Ilija Grgic, representatives from our stakeholder groups, past chaplain, Reverend Tim Edwards, staff, students and members of our new chaplain’s immediate family.
As all Westbournians know, the JR Pascoe chapel is a very special place. We are so lucky to have it and fortunate that John Pascoe had the foresight to understand the importance of such places in the life of a school and its extended community. Since its opening thirty years ago in 1988, this chapel and all that it represents have become integral to the life of the school – and a symbolic oasis of peace and tranquillity set amongst our busy and thriving community of learners.
I had only just joined the staff here and well remember the chapel being built and the arrival of the first chaplain, the late George DuRinck. Over the years that followed, Rev as he was known to all, became part of the fabric of Westbourne. He presided over weddings and funerals and my memory of him is of someone who was always there to provide that essential moral compass and spiritual guidance.
It was the Rev’s influence, as exemplified by his vision of the chapel as a place of worship and community that would add a unique and vital dimension to Westbourne; laying firm foundations for the future and enriching the spiritual life of the school. Such things are, I believe, incredibly important for schools and it is only when they are not there that one becomes acutely aware of the enormous contribution made by our chaplains: Reverends George DuRinck, Chris Huxtable, Tim Edwards, Matthew Thompson and now Stephen Morrison.
The official commissioning of a new chaplain is a significant event, a ceremonial occasion that is a public acknowledgement of the importance of chaplaincy in our school and the trust we place in the person chosen to fill this role. Rev Morrison comes to Westbourne with a wide range of experience as a practising church minister, youth worker, lecturer in theology, grief and trauma counsellor. His personal commitment to lifelong learning is exemplified in his postgraduate studies and current research into the connections between grief and faith.
Rev Morrison is a person of some considerable substance whose close and long-standing relationship with previous chaplain, the Reverend Tim Edwards, has provided him with some important insights into our school community and all that it strives to achieve for the young people in our care.
These attributes make him, I believe, an excellent fit with the values and mission of our school.
So, on behalf of Westbourne, welcome Rev Steve Morrison.