By Paul O'Rourke

Tending goats and herding kids, playing dodgeball, making gardens, delivering meals, attending funerals, serving breakfast, helping in classrooms, and praying, are all in a day’s work for chaplain Nathan Scott.

Nathan, 32, who also serves on the board of Devonport Chaplaincy Inc, has been a chaplain for about a decade, making him among the longest serving; so long that former students he knew in primary school are now working.

“Their faces light up when you recognise them,” Nathan said.

The fondness in the reunions is a reminder that Nathan is making a difference and leaving a legacy.

“It’s very rewarding.”

The former joiner who, for six years combined chaplaincy with being a children’s pastor with his wife, Mandi (pictured above) has a passion for seeing children and youth thrive.

The father of three children, who range in age from 6, to five months, says it’s been an honour to be able to serve the school communities of Hillcrest Primary, Nixon Street Primary, and Devonport Christian School.

“It really doesn’t feel like work to be able to help people.

“My job is to build relationships.

“I try to be a listening ear, a neutral presence, a safe place.”

Nathan considers family breakdown as one of the many serious issues affecting children.

“It’s sad and common, but kids get caught in the middle of adult disputes.”

He spends a lot of time calming anxious and angry children trying to make sense of the adult world, COVID, change.

Students treat him as a much bigger playmate and trusted friend as he joins them in a game of dodgeball before the bells calls the students to class.

T-shirt and shorts year-round uniform

He's dressed in his year-long uniform regardless of weather conditions: t-shirt, shorts and name tag.

Earlier he poured what seemed like 100 litres of Milo and an equal number of slices of toast for the hungry horde who were waiting expectantly outside the canteen.

Heading to the auditorium, we stop to pat the two goats who now call Devonport Christian School home. We also pass Nathan’s newly-constructed garden beds awaiting the seeds that will become the first crop.

We finally make it to the auditorium where Mandi, who is a teacher, is preparing lessons.

Across the courtyard, their oldest, Hezekiah, is in class. We drop in to take some photos and observe the lessons.

It’s clear Hezekiah is happy to have Nathan nearby.

So are a lot of other children, parents and teachers!