At the age of 30, Hereworth School's new Chaplain is one of the youngest ordained priests in the country.

In his fourth week at the school, Reverend Alan Burnett was "excited about connecting again with younger people".

"My role as Chaplain at Hereworth is to represent the wider Anglican church in the school community. Younger people have a lovely optimism about them and I'm already enjoying being around their enthusiasm."

He has been ordained for four years and felt "priesthood was the right thing to do."


His role as Hereworth Chaplain will include taking school chapel services and teaching religious education classes.

He will also take the lead in pastoral care and the development of student welfare beyond academic, sporting and social realms.

"Pastoral care is a safe 'listening ear' for the boys, independent from parents and the school. It operates in a different dimension than counselling - as a priest I address the spiritual needs of the boys, as well as the emotional.

"Clinical pastoral care is a large part of our professional training where we also explore how prayer and our relationship with God is a core component of our being and can help us when we are experiencing difficulties," Reverend Burnett said.

Originally from Fielding, Reverend Burnett said he feels "very connected to the region".

"My wife Hayley has family living here and I grew up in Feilding, so I spent time in Hawke's Bay when I was young. The role at Hereworth is a great opportunity to fulfil my long-held ambition to teach religious education at an Anglican school."

Before moving to Hereworth, Reverend Burnett lived in Whangarei, where he was Vicar of the city's Anglican parish for three years.

Prior to that, he held the position of Priest Assistant at Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral and was the second youngest priest in the Auckland diocese.

During his training for the ministry, he undertook chaplaincy and pastoral roles at Auckland Hospital, Springhill Correctional Facility and Dilworth School.

For the past 11 years, he has also been building Christian youth ministries.

Hereworth School headmaster Steve Fiet said they were "exceptionally lucky that Alan had applied for job".

The previous Chaplain retired at the end of term two.

"We are exceptionally blessed and fortunate to have him, as there are not many young priests. His youth also allows him to relate well with the boys."

Mr Fiet said he was particularly popular amongst the boys.

"They enjoy his sermons in the chapel and his role as a Religious Education teacher."

One of his referees was Jo Kelly-Moore; the Archdeacon of Canterbury.

"She said she had seen a lot of sermons in her time, but only two had stood out and Alan's was one of them. To have commendation from the Archdeacon is fantastic," Mr Fiet said.

The school, which has a chapel on site, was required by the Diocese of Waiapu to have an appointed Chaplain.