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The Richness of Chaplaincy

by ajack last modified 10 Nov, 2021 04:10 PM

Chaplaincy has a key role to play in our ministry and mission and Synod heard a snapshot of the work undertaken by just a handful of our 62 Chaplains working across a diverse range of sectors from engaging with University students and staff, prisoners and police officers to meeting farmers at the local livestock market.

Bishop Karen introduced the theme of Chaplaincy and remarked on the diversity and dedication of the 62 chaplains.

Synod was shown a video ( link here)  introducing some of our Chaplains, who spoke a little about their various areas of work. The Revd Ruth Wells, Chaplain at Bournemouth University and Bournemouth Arts University, describing her role as like that of a doula, but in this case birthing faith 

Rutled an in-person discussion session with fellow chaplains, the Revd James Taylor,  the Revd Stella Wood and the Revd Simon Evans. 

James, Chaplain at Poole Hospital and Bournemouth University Hospital, reflected on the role of Chaplaincy in hospitals, how the act of listening and use of ritual in time of difficulty, fear and pain is required. He remarked how it can serve as a concentration of the Ministry of the Church.  

Stella, Chaplain at Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar School, expanded to discuss her front-line role of Chaplaincy in schools, the teaching and pastoring involved and how the act of worship in schools opens a direct doorway to encounter Jesus and faith. 

Revd Simon Evans, Regional Co-ordinator National Association of Police Chaplain described his Chaplaincy in the Police Force as an extension of his parochial ministry. He contemplated on being a Priest in another ‘territory’: being a Church without walls. The ministering of faith to families as well as staff allowed him to be immersed in where God is at work; to act as a prophetic voice and that inviting others to explore their humanity is exactly what we do as the Church. 

The speakers then moved on to discuss how it can be possible to learn how to add richness to the wider Church. Each presenter had a different perspective.

James remarked on the value of listening and following up on uncomfortable things, to enquire what is troubling people and to turn this to Hope and good without fear.

Stella expressed how humility adds immense value and benefit to growth: how learning fast on your feet means that you don’t always have the answers, but you are able to seek truth in dialogue and communication and learn with others.  

Simon explained how he has been able to witness people in their work environment: a place where they spend a great deal of time, engaging with and meeting new people, and that it can be a place where they might be more willing to open up in a different context. 

Ruth rounded up these points by presenting the evident possibilities to move out to be visible and active in communities where people are. The act of shifting from being a host to being a guest alongside others on their holy ground and not yours can create worlds of difference, growth and education. 

In response to how Synod can allow us to flourish, James celebrated the opportunity to be able to give Chaplaincy a go, and to fulfil this curacy one day a week. Stella expressed fondness and gratitude for her fellow school Chaplains and thanked Salisbury diocese in great value for supporting her so well.  Simon and Ruth both commented about how Chaplaincy is a valued strand of ministry;  Simon mentioned how it is actively ministering in the real world, and that Chaplaincy has sometimes been inaccurately described as a hobby when there is a lot of work and dedication involved. Ruth hugely valued the help and support of others checking in on her; how the role involves absorbing a lot of information and how positive the experience was to receive support throughout. She also valued the opportunity to have a mechanism to be able to feed back into the wider Church.  

Bishop Karen concluded this topic by encouraging Deanery conversations regarding lay Chaplaincy and their engagement with the world, as there is a significant number of lay Chaplains in the Diocese providing invaluable work. 

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