Page 11 - Prison Chaplaincy Annual Report 2019
P. 11

  Arthur Parkes
Chaplain - Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison
Describe your journey into prison chaplaincy.
I first entertained the idea of becoming a prison chaplain some 20 years ago, and I began volunteering in prison. There were some moments of apprehension, but I liked sharing and relating to the men in my own way.
A few years ago, while working in the orchard, I asked God: "why don't you put me somewhere where my life is going to count?" Then the job for a prison chaplain came up. I wasn’t confident I would get it. But I remember at the interview, Sister Veronica asked me two things: “What’s your story, and why would you make a good chaplain?” I told her about my passion to help the men through their difficult times because I have experienced it, and that I have something to offer. Thankfully I was chosen, and I knew God had guided me here.
What stands out to you in your role?
Being a prison chaplain is awesome if God has called you to this place. I have a
love for my fellow man, and being able to bring hope is like a breath of fresh air for prisoners. They all have different stories, so I introduce Christ and use my own story as a reminder that nothing is impossible with God. It’s amazing to see someone’s passion for life grow.
What advice would you give to our new chaplains?
I was blessed with a great mentor, Maurice. He was there to guide and teach me. So, my advice is to learn from the ones who have been there, and don’t be too proud to be taught by those with more experience. With a strong foundation, you can slowly branch out on your own. In time you will find your own rhythm.
What do you do in your spare time?
Outside of prison chaplaincy, family is everything! My wife supports me one hundred per cent. She’s my childhood sweetheart. I want to be a good dad and granddad. I have four daughters, a son, and twelve mokopuna who I love dearly. My life is always spent with the family. Although, I do enjoy getting out with the chainsaw and collecting some firewood.
“ Being able to bring hope is like a breath of fresh air for prisoners.”

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