The Bishop of Durham has licensed a new school chaplain to assist students and staff at a Stockton on Tees secondary school in their spiritual development.
The Rev Paul Johnson was formally released to the new role in a service of recognition and authority held at Ian Ramsey Secondary School and led by the Rt Rev Justin Welby.
Rev Johnson was a teacher before training for ordination and spent time as a curate in north Yorkshire.
Teaching will be part of his new role at Ian Ramsey.
He said: “I will spend about 60% of my time teaching Religious Education and the rest of my time on pastoral and chaplaincy work within the school family. This is a dream job and I hope the work I can do here will touch the lives of all I work with and help them also to discover the wonder of God’s love.”
The service was attended by staff, students, clergy and other guests.
The bishop spoke of the importance of being themselves and understanding that God has a plan for every person.
He stressed that young people in education were more than just "learning machines".
"They have spiritual needs as well. The chaplain is critical in that respect in giving them the wider perspective of what life is all about. The licensing of a chaplain is crucial part of the way in which the church is able to connect with young people and show them why Jesus Christ is still relevant today. I would encourage more schools or even groups of schools to look at involving a chaplain in this important role; to encourage the development of the whole person.”
Head Teacher Janet Wilson said: “Having Paul with us, even in the short time he has been here has had a considerable impact on the way that we work and what we do and I can only see that growing further still.”