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To Everything, There is a Season

Date: 28th June 2021

Peg Riley is tearful.

Everyone who knows Peg understands that she cries often. Tears of sadness. Tears of joy. They’re part of her coping mechanism.

Today she sheds them as she sorts through her office and fondly remembers the girls whose lives she has touched – and who have touched hers – during her 22 and a half years as Chaplain at St Margaret’s College.

“They fill my heart all the time. I cry, I cry easily. I cry in joy, I cry in sorrow, and I cry in laughter. I feel it and then let it out so I don’t have to hold onto it.”

But Peg has decided it’s time to leave in early July to become a part time priest at St Peter’s parish in Upper Riccarton.

“I remember every student. I love this community unendingly. This place is in my veins. But I’m getting on and it’s time for me to have a simpler life. I want to enjoy being with my husband and see more of my grandchildren,” says Peg, who makes no secret that she’s 61-years-old.

“I have ultimate faith in God that this community will continue and that they will be held in love and in prayer. Other very capable people will carry on what I have been doing. It’s not going to fall apart.”

One of the defining moments in Peg’s ministry was the tragic death of two students killed at a party in 2007. One of the girls was from St Margaret’s and Peg gathered more than 700 students and friends to the chapel the next night in memory of her.

On a happier but nonetheless challenging note, Peg was closely involved in the introduction of the IB programme and NCEA curriculum to St Margaret’s 20 years ago. The centenary and the 110th anniversary were among a string of other special moments.

In semi-retirement, Peg is looking forward to spending more time with husband David, who she married in her first year at St Margaret’s. Between them they have three children and seven grandchildren. Gardening is on Peg’s agenda, and volunteering at the next Sony Camp.

The new Chaplain is Reverend Stephanie Clay who joins St Margaret’s from the Anglican Parish of Amberley where she has been vicar for five years. 

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