Sam Jordan

By Paul O'Rourke

Full time chaplain Sam Jordan’s passion for serving children, teachers and families extends across three primary schools, East Devonport, Andrews Creek and Miandetta.

The young father of two (pictured above) previously served as a youth pastor, and his wife is a social worker. They also fostered a teenager for almost two years.

Sam admits it’s a stretch working across three schools and trying to remember names, but he’s confident he’s making a difference to students, families and teachers.

He’s also learned that his own self care, including investing in his physical, emotional and spiritual health are crucial to sustainability in a demanding, never-ending role.

“It can be difficult to measure effectiveness in such a diverse role, but there are some signs you have had an impact,” he said.

“A student, parent or teacher may acknowledge your help, or a former student may recognise you in the street and make a point of telling you that you made a difference during a difficult time in their life.

“Sometimes it’s much more subtle; a nod or a smile, or you see the effects through better behaviour or a happier relationship with their peers, teachers or family.

“I love my job.”

Sam says while “schools are not built for chaplains, chaplains are built for schools.”

“Schools are not set up for chaplains. They are set up for teaching and learning, whereas chaplains have no academic role or responsibilities, and so we can meet that social, pastoral need.

Privilege to support teachers

“Teachers do an amazing job and are under enormous pressure. It’s a privilege to be able to support them.”

Sam finds multiple ways to connect with students, from teaching guitar and woodwork, to kicking a ball in the playground, attending breakfast club, or helping to manage the school garden.

“It’s a job where you really don’t know what you will be doing day to day.

“For me, it’s about being available, present, and investing in the one in front of you.

“When people feel safe in a relationship, then they are more likely to open up and share what’s going on.

“Sometimes you have to be vulnerable about your own struggles to show that you understand.

“While I think we have come a long way in recognising mental health issues, we still find it hard to ask for help. It might be ok for others to not be doing so well, but not for me.

'It takes courage to be vulnerable.'

“It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable.”

Sam said student issues ranged from technology addiction and feeling overlooked or unseen by parents, to dealing with home and school conflict.

Sam has completed various training, including a bachelor ministry and a Certificate in horticulture.

He started work picking flowers on the North West coast, as well as being involved in youth ministry and later as a youth pastor at Lifeway Baptist Church.

He said he knew from his teen years that he wanted to make a difference by serving others.

“I loved the church role, but came to a point where I could see that the church kids had a lot of support, whereas kids in the community didn’t; that’s why I applied to become a chaplain,” he said.

“I thought I could do more good for more people being a chaplain."

Sam Jordan with students

Chaplain Sam Jordan with Miandetta Primary School students Beth Tregenza (left) and Layla Huett.