The work of Australian Racing Christian Chaplaincy was initiated in 1996 by Anglican minister The Rev Paul Bayliss. Incorporated in 2003, ARCC is now a non-denominational not-for profit organisation registered with the ACNC delivering chaplaincy services at racetracks in Sydney and different parts of Australia.
In accordance with our Christian faith...
…the objects of ARCC are to serve the needs and support well-being of people working in Australia’s racing industry by identifying and relieving the short and long-term physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental needs of this community. Racing has a high incidence of serious injury and even death on the workplace. It is also high-pressure industry which can result in physical, mental and emotional strain for those involved. Needs may include financial distress, abuse, relationship breakdown, sickness, disability, grief, the misfortune of trackside accidents, court issues and even suicide.
Racetrack chaplains offer a holistic and non-judgmental program of services to people in racing, especially those working in the stable area. Chaplains work closely with racing clubs, management and individuals to assist with acute and long-term needs of individuals. ARCC assists people solely on the basis of need, irrespective of religious or political beliefs and/or affiliations.
ARCC is growing its work nationally and is seeking to establish networks in all racing codes – thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing. The organisation is also networked with Race Track Chaplaincy of America. ARCC is served by a voluntary Committee, most members of whom have current or prior links to horse racing.
Dr Karin Sowada (Chair)
Anglican layperson; archaeologist & university academic; former senator, former strapper
Mr Charles Pitt (Treasurer)
Anglican layperson; chartered accountant, has a professional association with the Australian Jockeys Association
Mrs Helen Simpson (Public Officer & Secretary)
Anglican layperson; formerly university administration; family connections with thoroughbred racing
Rev Colin Watts (National Chaplain)
Anglican Minister; Honorary Assistant Minister Kensington-Eastlakes Anglican Church; family connections with harness racing
Father Tom Stevens (Honorary Catholic Chaplain to ATC)
Parish Administrator of St Patrick’s Catholic Church Mortlake; long-term ATC member and racing enthusiast
Mrs Wendy Slee
Anglican layperson; long-term racing enthusiast
Rev David Tyndall
Anglican Minister; National Chaplain – Sports Chaplaincy Australia; Long term proponent of Sports Ministry, including being director of the Archbishop of Sydney’s Olympic Games Taskforce, and secretary of the Sydney Diocesan Committee to Establish Chaplaincy to the Horse Racing Industry (1994)
Rev Paul Bayliss (Prayer Convenor; Honorary Anglican Chaplain to the ATC)
Anglican Minister; former Rector of Harris Park & Willoughby Parishes; former Trustee – National Jockeys Trust, founder of ARCC.
Brother Dan Stafford C.Ss.R. (OAM) (Honorary Catholic Chaplain to ATC)
Catholic Religious Brother; St Vincent de Paul Society, Matthew Talbot Hostel
Some reflections on the work of the racing chaplains by those who have seen it first hand:
“The racing chaplains provide an invaluable service to all participants in our industry. The nature and demands of our industry can make life tough with the long hours and physical requirements of the job. It is always good to know there is someone there to talk to when you need them. Even if it’s just for a coffee and a chat when your feeling a little down they’ll always be there for you”
Deb Reiper – stablehand
“You guys are a credit to our industry! You have given me support and understanding with personal matters that were effecting my work, set my mind at ease about things I wasn’t sure about and helped me have a plan of action, it was very reassuring to know that I can contact you when I need to with work and personal matters and be supported during the process”
Kathryn – stablehand
“It’s great to know there is someone to talk to when we need to centre ourselves or find ourselves in stressful situations”
Louise Day – jockey
“Great people to chat to if your not having the best day”
Andrew Adkins – jockey
“Personally so grateful for the opportunities, support and endless friendship that has been afforded to me through the ARCC Chaplains. Thank you for helping me remember what we’re all really here for.”
Lindy Wharekura – foreperson
“The chaplains are great to have in the jockeys room, always there for a chat when we need them and always helping people out where they can”
Brock Ryan – jockey
“The chaplains are the best”
Robbie Dolan – jockey
“The chaplains provide a fantastic service for the racing industry and all of it’s participants. Their team can always be found at race meetings and racing events or contacted at any time to lend support for anyone in need”
Robyn Fowler – racing manager
“It’s a huge help having chaplains about at the races, obviously having someone that is completely unbiased to chat with to give support and advice is essential in such a high pressure environment”
Tom Marquand – jockey