“I was no good at obedience at that time! The nuns were so good. I moved in there and I learned about their life but I knew that it was not for me,” she said. Reverend Sarah completed a Science degree before finding a niche in teaching, but the nagging feeling that she should be doing something else never went away. It took advice from another priest for her to consider the profession, before she eventually became a priest in 2006. “It took someone else to point that out to me, to say maybe, God did call you but it wasn’t to be a nun, it was actually to be a different kind of leader, to be a priest,” she said. While training to be a priest, Reverend Sarah divided her time between teaching physics and religious studies, confounding her students by insisting the two subjects were complementary. “I’d teach the students in Grade 8 and 9 Christian Living and then they’d come back to me in Grade 11 and I’d teach them physics and it just blew their mind. “The idea that Christians just have to put their brain in a box and just believe without actually being intelligent. That’s the first myth I like to blow out of the water.”
And it is the thought that she can help students understand their own calling that drives her. “I was lucky enough to have people who were prepared to answer my ridiculous questions and to put up with me being me and pushing the boundaries,” she said. “They tolerated my imperfections and they answered enough of my questions that I got the answers that I needed to confirm my faith. I think that’s really important that I then provide that for some other young person.” For now, Reverend Sarah has found her place and enjoys the challenge of working as a School Chaplain supported at home by her husband and 12-year-old twin daughters. “I have a huge job at a growing school. One of the things we’re underestimating is exactly how much chaplaincy we need in the school. Ours is a highly successful school, a wonderful community and I’m really blessed to be a part of it,” she said. “I feel that Anglican schools are where real mission happens and I think that as a Church we need to value that.”
After becoming a priest, the school environment was still a natural fit.
For those students who might consider a role in the clergy, Reverend Sarah has no hesitation in recommending her profession.
“I think I’m a teacher through and through. I love teaching and I feel I’m called to teach,” she said.
“I get to tell people every day that God loves them, that their lives are important and what they do can make a difference in the world,” she said.
“Priests have different strengths and skill sets. Some are very pastoral, some are great preachers, some are great at doing liturgy, and some are good at working with the sick or dying: I think my gift is teaching and I best express that in a school setting.”
“I think it’s a wonderful job. I basically have two sermons that I preach: God loves you and what you do matters in the world. What a beautiful message that God’s given me and that I want to share with other people. I love it.”
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