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​"One conversation, one dollar, one smile, can change the world."


Chaplaincy Services provide social, emotional, and personal support to school communities.  SU Qld Chaplains provide positive adult role models for students.  Chaplains are present in schools at the invitation of the Principal, in consultation with the local community, and with the support of the P&C Association.
Chaplaincy at Graceville State School was instigated by parent request and the concept was welcomed by the Principal and staff, endorsed by the P&C and supported by local churches, businesses and the community.
ith this support the Chaplaincy service commenced at the beginning of the 2007 school year. In term 4 of 2007, a successful application for Chaplaincy funding through the Federal Government’s National School Chaplaincy Program increased the operation of the Chaplaincy service to full time, the first full-time primary school chaplaincy service in Queensland’s State School system. In 2012 the Federal Government expanded the funding for School Chapaincy to continue until the end of 2014 and also provided the choice for funding to be provided for a Chaplaincy Service or Student Welfare Officer.  Last year Graceville State School was successful in gaining continued Federal Government funding until 2018. Federal funding of $20 000 per annum, contributes to approximately 2 days/week. Currently funds to cover an extra day each week of the service are provided by the Graceville State School Parents and Citizens bringing our service up to 3 full days per week.

 What does a School Chaplain do?
A School Chaplain is a safe person for young people to connect with at school and provides a listening ear, caring presence, and a message of hope.  Chaplains run postive, fun activities for students and assist in fostering supportive, caring school communities.
Working with other members of the school's support team, the Chaplain cares for students struggling with issues such as difficult relationships with other children or family members, poor self-esteem, family breakdown and depression.
The partnership between the school and the Chaplaincy Service, supported by local churches, businesses and community organisations, provides a network of local support and assistance.  These positive relationships help young people to face difficult issues and provide hope, connection, meaning and purpose. The Chaplaincy Service is available to everyone in the school community regardless of their religious beliefs.

The Chaplain 

John Erichsen, in his 10th year of chaplaincy at Graceville State School, is committed to encouraging students in the development of life skills and coping strategies that will enable them to make good choices and maximise their school and life experiences. John’s goal is to build strong relationships with students through active participation in their world. John uses a strength-based approach to working with children, where he recognises that each student is a capable learner, with many strengths and skills. In the playground and the classroom, John works with teaching staff to support the students in their social and emotional development. John is a trained facilitator in the “Friends for Life” anxiety prevention and resilience building program.

At Graceville State School 

The Chaplain works under the direction of the Principal and is overseen by the Local Chaplaincy Committee. Scripture Union Queensland, the premier chaplaincy-employing authority in Queensland schools, is the formal employer. Any concerns or complaints regarding the chaplaincy service at Graceville State School should be raised with the School Principal.

Chappy’s Role

  • Provide emotional, social and spiritual support to students, families and staff
  • Build safe and supportive relationships with students, families and staff
  • Support the operation of the Student Services Committee
  • Interact with Teachers to support Students with Special needs, behavioural issues and personal struggles.
  • Facilitate the “Friends” anxiety prevention/resilience building program in small group and class settings
  • Support P&C activities in the school
  • Participate in the school sports program
  • Attend school camps
  • Develop lunchtime programs the students can participate in


Students may request to see the Chaplain on an individual basis for support in personal matters.  Parents wishing this to take place can request a permission form from the school office and upon parental consent, the Principal will advise the Chaplain of the request and permission to proceed.

Chappy is not

  1. A Guidance Officer
  2. A substitute teacher
  3. A qualified counsellor
  4. Involved in the Religious Instruction program provided at Graceville State School




Chappy’s Hours

Chappy is on site Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 8am – 4pm.

How can you contact Chappy

John is available for all Students, Parents and Staff at Graceville State School. He welcomes the opportunity to talk with you, please do not hesitate to contact him to make an appointment.
Ph: 3716 2777

How can you help? 

You can support Chaplaincy at Graceville State School by making a financial donation (fully tax deductible). Collect a donation form from the school office or contact SU QLD directly on 1300 478 753 or donate online via
Please remember to specify Graceville State School Chaplaincy as the recipient.
For more information
Contact Evonne Beruldsen – LCC Secretary 
 Ph: 3716 2777
The views expressed herin do not necessarily represent the views of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
This project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations under the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program.
Any evaluation surveys conducted must ask participants if they are aware of the source of funding for the activity and, if so, how they became aware of the funding source.
The Funding Recipient must provide to the Australian Government or its agent, if requested, any National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program materials for placement on the Department's website, or for use in any other Australian Government or Departmental publication.