Warren Crank moves on from Norths Devils Rugby League club – the story of transitioning to a new chaplain
Warren Crank (author of the book ‘The Unofficial Chaplain’) has been a chaplain with SCA for 10 years and has held different roles. He was chaplain to the Cowboys in the NRL from 2010 – 2015 before relocating to Brisbane and becoming the chaplain at Norths Devils Rugby League. Warren was greatly accepted in the club and was an integral part of the team, being included in welfare training sessions and having an impact on players, family, coaches and staff. He also received the Chairman’s Award (Clubman of the Year) in 2017, which was a huge affirmation of Chaplaincy and the role Warren has played in the club.
At the start of this year Warren and his family, for work reasons, decided they would need to move back up north by the end of the year and one of his key priorities was to find a replacement chaplain to take over his role. Warren was keen to ensure the players and club would continue to receive the support and care that he had been sowing for the last 3 years.
Warren went out searching for a potential replacement, chatting to his regional coordinator and actively looking for a chaplain. Word went out through several CBT’s and a great candidate came up! Warren met with Robin and they got chatting and decided that, yes, he would be a good fit for that club. Robin had already completed his accreditation application. He then went with Warren to the club and met with some of the staff and coaches. Warren had already let the club know about his leaving and that he was going to find a replacement. The club CEO met Robin and agreed he would be a good fit. So Robin then started at the club as chaplain. This whole process – from deciding to move, keeping the club informed, collaborating with the regional coordinator, and installing Robin as his replacement – took about 3-4 months.
Warren is still around and has been able to help introduce Robin to the boys and enable the transition to be smooth. Robin is present in the club at training & game days and Warren has stepped back and been less present at the club to allow Robin to be established in his role. Robin knows that Warren is still available and accessible for support. When Warren actually leaves, Robin will still be supported through the QLD RL CBT and obviously his church.
The transitioning of a chaplain can look different, but we want to make sure that it happens and happens well! This example was an ideal situation with a good amount of notice given so we had time to enable the transition to be a smooth process and this isn’t always possible, but I love that Warren took responsibility to ensure there was someone to replace him. After all, it was his time and effort that has been sown into these people so he wanted to make sure that didn’t lay dormant but was continued to be breathed upon.
Our chaplaincy roles are for different periods of time and sometimes, like Warren, we move on due to relocation, or it might be a change in family life and responsibilities. Or it might be like Bill Hunter, our Broncos chaplain, who after being there for 20 years felt that his season in that role was finished and it was time to hand it on to someone else. The key thing here is, when we recognise its time to move on for whatever reason, take responsibility to help find a replacement, speak to your coordinator and let them know as soon as possible. That way, together we can have the most amount of time to allow for the transition and, consequently, for the continued grace and mercy to be shown to that sporting club.
Life after the transition can look different as well. Bill, who finished up with the Broncos, has taken leading the QLD RL CBT and helping see our current chaplains in that space continue to flourish. Warren, when he settles in up north, will take on a new chaplaincy role up there with one of the footy clubs. So whether you move to a new chaplaincy role or to a different season of being involved in SCA, there is still always a place for you in the network.