Foundation Day Service Reflections of the Chaplaincy

Monday, 03 July 2023

Friday 23 June 2023 we gave thanks for our college and celebrated its foundation and the history that has been created since its foundation 30 years ago and our acknowledgement that we are on Gumbaynggir country. We gave thanks for the Right Reverend Dr Cecil Druitt, the first Bishop of the Grafton Anglican Diocese after whom our college is named. As we gathered, we remembered the visionaries and founders of Bishop Druitt College: Mr Ken Langford Smith, The Reverend Stephen Pullin, Mr Barrie Ross and Mr Bill Ward.

The planning of Bishop Druitt College commenced in 1991 and we opened in 1994 under the guidance of the foundation Principal, Mr Victor Branson. 

We acknowledge all who have helped create our Bishop Druitt College community in 2023. We acknowledge and celebrate all those who have made Bishop Druitt College the outstanding centre for learning it is today, which is the Bishop Druitt Way and the BDC Advantage. The theme for the celebrations for this Foundation Day reflects our 30th anniversary.

We are celebrating the beginning of our college and the influence of our Anglican tradition and our Chaplains who served at the college across the years. The service that our Chaplains demonstrate for students, families and staff continues to demonstrate their faith in Jesus Christ and their sense of sacredness in the Anglican Church. 

We thank Mr Rodham for sharing their legacy.

In 2023 our Chaplains are the Reverend Canon Naomi Cooke and Reverend Nic Hagon. Our first Chaplain was Reverend Stephen Pullin from 1994 until 1997. Father Stephen heard about the idea of an Anglican school from Bishop Bruce Shultz which was proposed by the Headmaster of The Armidale School. Father Stephen was part of the original visionaries who saw the fruition of Bishop Druitt College happening. He and his wife Marilyn had two children who were also foundation students at the college. He then moved to Mayfield and retired in 2015.

At regular intervals throughout our 30 years, we have enjoyed the care, service and leadership from 13 Chaplains, Assistant Chaplains and part-time Chaplains while they were at BDC. The service continued after Reverend Stephen Pullin to Reverend Bill Carroll in 1998, and then to Reverend Jane Foulcher from 1999 to 2001 who created a Rev Ted or a special teddy bear for primary school students and was the first female rector at St John's Anglican Church after 101 years.

We then saw Reverend Andrew Knox as priest and teacher and included a young group of Christian musicians; he also served as a Chaplain in the Australian Defence Force after his time at Bishop Druitt College and Woolgoolga. Reverend Sally Miller was our first Assistant Chaplain from 2005 and 2006 and she became the rector at Sawtell and then Emmanuel Anglican College in Ballina and is now in her hometown parish of Casino. From 2006 to 2007 Reverend JP Kavanagh created a senior student ministry group and in 2010 Reverend Lisa Perkins spent 12 months at Bishop Druitt College.

From 2007 to 2016 Reverend Marion Tanfield or Mrs T was appointed Assistant Chaplain. In 2010 Rev T was ordained as a priest and in 2011 Reverend David Morgan assisted for two years and Mrs Dayle Stafford from the office supported Reverend Marion in her role as well. Before Reverend Marion passed, she had also commenced an annual Toys and Tucker appeal at Christmas for families, grew Club Kairo and a ladies’ fellowship group called Chat-Coffee-Cake-Community.

From 2007-2009 Reverend Len trump assisted, in 2010 Reverend Lisa Perkins was also an assistant Chaplain and Reverend David Morgan served Bishop Druitt College from 2011 to 2021. Rev Dave was known for his rugby passion, support of the Warrina Women's and Children's Refuge and loved attending our outdoor education camps. He also shared the chaplaincy from 2016 with Reverend Naomi Cooke.

We will farewell Reverend Cooke in Term 3, but in her time at the college, she has lived her faith through the line "come as you are" and made all feel welcome at the college and in her service like today, across the JAM or Jesus and Me groups and Godly Play and of course becoming embedded into our senior retreats, Human Rights and Goori group as some examples.

In 2022 Reverend Nic Hagon was commissioned and commenced at our Ash Wednesday service and is both Chaplain at Clarence Valley Anglican School and Bishop Druitt College and has assisted in coordinating an appeal to help families through Anglicare.

As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, please take time to reflect and give thanks for the diverse and generous Chaplains we have had who live their faith through teaching REP, Chapel service, prayer, faith formation and ministry such as baptisms, funerals and even weddings to our community.