You’ve probably met a few colourful characters in your life, but it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ve never met someone as colourful as Chaplain Jack Teepa.
Chaplain Jack is the focus of the first episode of season three of Chappy Chats, as host Sarah Petchell brings inspirational stories from the world of chaplaincy to the fore.
Jack Teepa hails from the town of Gisborne on New Zealand’s North Island, where he was raised in a family of 11. He’s spent the last 22 years in Australia, but for the last 40 years has been impacting those around him through his chaplaincy work.
Over the years Jack has served as a chaplain in the New Zealand Defence Force, in schools, hospitals, prisons, as well as in both the private sector and government departments. One of Jack’s more interesting roles was in the Gisborne Meatworks, where he spent six years.
“Really the whole thing about chaplaincy is getting to know people,” Jack told Sarah when quizzed what sort of chaplaincy is carried out in a meatworks. “Because I love Jesus, I want to be His light to all the people that I meet, and one of the things that I love in chaplaincy is to go and do that.”
These days Jack is a minister at Springfield Central Baptist Church, and also an aged care chaplain working with Carinity.
His infectious smile and brightly coloured outfits bring joy to the faces of both staff and residents in the aged care residences that he works.
“I pray for each one of the residents and I know them all by name; I’ll spend time talking with them, but I’m also involved in their activities.”
“We have a lot of fun, we like to get everyone up singing, and those who can dance will dance, which is just so good.”
You can listen to Jack’s story of lifelong pastoral care and chaplaincy in the opening episode of Chappy Chat’s third season. Listen in the audio player above, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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Chappy Chats is a co-production of 96five and SU Australia, with new episodes out every Thursday morning.