An open-minded view on spiritual connection

As a proud Ngarrindjeri woman, my Anglican faith is connected to my culture. Aboriginal
people understand that we’re part of a created order, even if what we call that creator varies from person to person.

While I have never doubted my own faith, I’ve also known that God doesn’t dwell only in our churches. I believe in connecting with spirituality in less formal ways. In fact, for me, it has always been in the garden that I’ve felt closest to God. There, the tension of being insignificant, while also feeling known and loved, rests easy for me.

My upbringing was what many might call impoverished. While I didn’t feel I went without anything I needed, I knew we lived on the margins geographically, economically, and socially. It was only as an adult, I found out about my Aboriginal heritage – something my Nan had kept secret at great cost to her – and saw my childhood through a different lens. Today, Aboriginal communities have welcomed me, and I’ve felt free to discover and explore the traditions of my culture.

I’m very comfortable with people having different understandings of God. Personally, I’ve experienced a quiet, gentle companionship with God throughout my life, and I’m happy for
God to remain largely a mystery. That acceptance has enabled a sense of calm and purpose throughout the turbulence that is a part of living.

We all have to live together in this world, and we all have to make it the best place it can be. I believe that if I’m worrying about our differences, I’m not focused on the things that unite us, which I think are much more prevalent.

Joining the Grimwade House community, I’m serving as the first female Chaplain there, the second at the School, and the first with Indigenous heritage.

The most important thing I hope to pass on to students is that they are loved by God, and that no matter what their family’s approach to faith is, God will always welcome them.

Rev’d Helen Dwyer
Grimwade House Chaplain

About Helen Dwyer

Rev’d Helen Dwyer is a Priest in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne who brings deep expertise in Indigenous liaison and parish leadership to Grimwade House.

She has previously held positions as the Aboriginal Reconciliation Liaison Officer for Diocese, held previous roles with Centacare Catholic Family Services, the Anglican Diocese
of Melbourne and multiple parish churches, including as Parish Priest.

Helen currently serves on the Clergy Legislation Review Reference Group and is a member
of the Archbishop in Council.

Prior to joining Melbourne Grammar School, Helen was the Senior Chaplain at Overnewton Anglican Community College.