Each month we invite a number of churches, pioneer projects and ministries to share news so Association churches can pray for them.
This month we’d like to focus on Chaplaincy and some exciting new opportunities,
“It has been understandably difficult for chaplains to function over the past 18 months. Whilst paid Chaplains have adapted to the changing pandemic situation and maintained their responsibilities (e.g. hospital and military) mostvolunteer chaplains have been stood down, patiently awaiting the opportunity to serve again (e.g. retail, educational and street pastors).
Even as things have begun to ‘open up’ volunteers have not automatically reengaged for a number of reasons – their age/health vulnerability (most volunteer chaplains tend to be retired) or the work environment is not keen to have extraneous bodies on the shop floor or office locations continue to be empty as people maintain home working. However, there have been plenty of innovative examples of chaplains maintaining contact with their ‘flock’ via telephone, email, social media and Zoom. And of course, there are some volunteer opportunities which never appear to close (e.g. Foodbanks). So the return to volunteering has necessarily been fragmented.
On an encouraging note, it is good to know that there are several new chaplaincy opportunities beginning to see the light of day. These include new town centre chaplaincy initiatives, educational opportunities, courts chaplaincy and Ambulance Service chaplains. All of which will begin this year if the rules allow and organisations are willing.
Existing and new Chaplaincy organisations need additional volunteers. For example, South West Community Chaplaincy are seeking to recruit and train Volunteer Mentors to support released prisoners in their local area. TheArmy Cadet Force is the largest youth organisation in the country. As with the regular army, the Padre is central to the organisation but there is sadly a lack of people to fulfil this role. Likewise Courts Chaplaincy are seeking people to take on this fairly new and exciting Lay role.
Chaplaincy is a great example of the church working outside of the walls and a wonderful opportunity of (mostly) Lay witness and is deserving of all our prayers. If your church would like to consider the opportunities specific to your geographic area then please contact me to discuss. I would be pleased to be part of a discovery session when the rules allow.”
Rev Steven Reed, SWBA Chaplaincy Champion. 07794552321 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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