Marsden Chaplain & Religious Education Teacher
Marsden’s much loved Chaplain, Sarah King, spent her early childhood in San Diego. Her American father met her Kiwi mother in Christchurch where he spent winters during his tenure with “Operation Deep Freeze” in Antarctica. Sarah’s family moved to Wellington when she was seven years old and she has been here, on and off, ever since.
Teaching Background, Family and Chaplaincy
After her time at Wellington Girls College, Sarah attended Victoria University of Wellington and received her Bachelor of Arts in Classics followed by a Graduate Diploma Teaching. She met and married her husband Stephen and the two of them travelled to Dallas, Texas for an OE that turned into a five-year stay. While in Dallas Sarah and Stephen welcomed their first child, Aaron, into the family. The Kings returned to Wellington but it wasn’t long before they returned to the USA for Stephen to attend the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. It was on their return home to Wellington, with daughter Hannah now having joined the family, that Sarah attended Teachers College. Realising that so much of what she was doing involved young people, Sarah thought she could use a teaching degree to work alongside Stephen in the Diocese.
In 2013 Bishop Justin Duckworth asked Sarah to consider becoming the Chaplain here at Marsden, and the rest is history. Sarah has brought her VIA strengths of Spirituality, Bravery and Honesty to her role and our students can attest to the creativity, energy and enthusiasm she has for sharing the special character of Marsden in each Chaplain’s Assembly. As an Anglican School, we are firmly grounded in the global Anglican Marks of Mission, which are to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, teach, baptise and nurture new believers, respond to human need by loving service, transform unjust structures of society and to safeguard creation.
There are many excellent aspects to school life here. However, the opportunity to nourish the taha wairua, the spiritual side, is a gift we can give our students. The Spiritual self seeks meaning, connection, hope and purpose. We give our students the space to discover and develop this part of their lives. I think we do a very good job of telling the Christian Story of God who is with us in Jesus, while also respecting those who follow a different faith journey.
Sarah’s husband Stephen is the Chaplain to Bishop Justin and is co-Vicar at St. Peter’s Anglican Church. He too is a part of the Marsden whanau and often joins us to lead special communion services at school and to bless our school leavers at the end-of-the-year ball.
Prior to COVID-19, Sarah organised an annual trip for a small group of students to travel to a village on the island of Savai'i in Samoa. Sarah says that what started out as a “service trip” has evolved into a “fellowship trip” as our Marsden students receive as much as they give while they are there. The girls work hard prior to the trip to prepare and gather resources for the programme, but by the end of the week away they are sharing with Sarah that they have been changed. They often remark on the fact that they are able to put into perspective things that worried or challenged them prior to the journey.
Outside of School
Outside of school Sarah also volunteers at St. Peters leading an after school kids club and serving on the manaakitanga committee. She enjoys gardening, yoga, knitting and crochet and it might surprise our students to learn that she was a national swimmer as a teenager!
Role at Marsden
Sarah's role at Marsden is to encourage and equip our students to explore the richness of a spiritual life. This is important for all of us as it helps us:
An article in the Medical Journal of Australia sums this up well -
"Spirituality represents the broadest and deepest form of connectedness....it is the only form of meaning that transcends people's personal circumstances, social situation and the material world, and so can sustain them through trouble and strife of mortal existence”
(Richard M. Eckersley, “Culture, spirituality, religion and health: looking at the big picture”, in Medical Journal ofAustralia, 186:10, May 2007)
The Christian message is one of hope. We are loved by a God who is intimately involved in every aspect of our lives, offering a promise and a purpose for each of us.
Medical researchers, psychologists and sociologists are discovering what ancient Christian philosophers have known for centuries, the doorway to physical, mental and relational health is through spiritual health. Numerous studies affirm a positive correlation between religious belief and self-esteem, resilience, school performance, resistance to substance abuse, lowered suicide rates, lowered rates of anxiety and depression and well-being.