Patti Peebles

I can hardly believe it, 2024 begins my 26th year as Chaplain at St. John’s and I am grateful beyond measure for every day. In my life prior, I had been volunteering at an Episcopal Church in their Sunday School and VBS programs when I felt the calling to work full time in a children’s ministry, somewhere. So, I closed my business, went back to school to finish my degree in Religion, and waited. But thanks be to God, I didn’t wait long.

At that time, I had no idea there was such a thing as an Episcopal School or School Chaplains. I simply stepped out in faith. My Rector sent me to St. John’s for a “practice interview.” To my surprise, I was offered the position. My experience with children and youth at my parish gave me a good beginning. The clergy, HOS, and I all stepped out in faith as I had quite the learning curve, but I kept walking in faith that I could figure it out. Reaching out to an experienced local chaplain helped a great deal, and attending my first NAES Biennial was extremely beneficial. I’m so glad I went!

I love learning from the students as much as I love teaching them. Walking with them through their faith journeys, watching them discover things about themselves, and processing what faith means for them is such a joy. Teaching students to respect our differences, and inviting them to be curious about God, their faith, and the faith practices of their classmates is inspiring. It gives me hope for the future. As an Episcopal School Chaplain, I spend time building relationships with young people and then they grow up. Now, I’m teaching many of their children. My continuing relationship with many alumni is a gift and I have been honored to be the officiant at several alumni weddings. School chaplaincy is the best job on campus!

Patti Peebles is Chaplain at St. John Chrysostom Episcopal School (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA).