Workplace Chaplaincy Forum

 

The Methodist Church
 
August 2012
Methodist Workplace Chaplaincies Forum news
The Methodist Church


"Chaplaincy a waste of time? I don’t think so"

One of the things which helps to keep me focus on the reason for my role has been the opportunity to visit workplace chaplains in various contexts. So over the past six months I have seen chaplaincy with emergency services, in airports, in farmers markets, in the horseracing community, in a casino, in a bakery and in a large retail department store to mention a few. I have also been at chaplaincy network and team meetings, conferences where chaplains have been present sometimes across chaplaincy disciplines, chaplaincy annual general meetings when accolades have been given to chaplaincy work by those on the receiving end. I have seen how chaplains bring a positive mission shaped approach when also involved in church based ministry. I have spent time listening to chaplains talk about their work and listened to others on the receiving end talk about the work of chaplains. In all this chaplains are seen as relevant to their contexts and supported by managers and others some of whom would not describe themselves as Christians. One chaplain I visited recently said the stories about chaplains speak for themselves.

 

Even during the Olympic Games chaplains have demonstrated how the church can be present in a relevant way. Some have been invited to be chaplains to the games as an extension of their existing chaplaincy roles in London. Some have used their chaplaincy experience by volunteering for the Games Pastor role as part of the More than Gold response to the Olympic Games. The presence from the Methodist Church has been significant and we have been in partnership with our Methodist Olympics and Paralympics project co-ordinator in the More than Gold response which is an ecumenical one alongside other churches. The Games Pastor role has also enabled people who have never done it before to encounter a chaplaincy style role. It may be that some of them may want to engage with some chaplaincy activity following their experience and may make suitable recruits.

On one of my visits the Dean of Derby Cathedral told three stunning stories about people on the receiving end of chaplaincy for his sermon at evensong. He finished by saying gently but firmly, “chaplaincy a waste of time? I don’t think so!”

All this is by way of introducing the “Chaplaincy everywhere” exhibition produced through the Chaplaincy Development Project and which consists of a presentation of stories across various contexts of chaplaincy. The launch was at the Methodist Conference the year and this resource is now available to you. Details follow next.

You may also be interested in our revised website if you have not already seen it. You will find it if you click on the “Mission” tab of the Methodist Church UK website or the following link:
www.methodist.org.uk/mission/chaplaincy

Best wishes
Tim
The Revd Tim Harrison

Chaplaincy Officer Workplace and Development
020 7467 5120 [Direct Line]
Email: harrisont@methodistchurch.org.uk

 


Chaplaincy Everywhere Exhibition

We are so excited about the potential of the Chaplaincy Everywhere Exhibition to inspire the church around the UK and throughout the rest of the world.

As well as the physical exhibition, which is available to use in your churches, we have put together a simple pdf which features all the stories, insights and images.

The booklet has been designed in a very simple way because we want churches to be able to print and use the stories in small groups and other appropriate settings. We have already been using the stories in small group settings as conversation starters. The stories are prompting some strong reactions as people begin to imagine themselves engaging in chaplaincy in their own community! It has shown us again how powerful simple stories can be.

Rev Jonathan Green

Download a PDF of the Chaplaincy Everywhere Exhibition booklet

www.opensourcechaplaincy.org.uk


MWCF Conference 28th to 30th January 2013

The opportunity to be involved in the media often comes our way as chaplains whether we like it or not. At one of our annual conferences one of our chaplains in a report about his work told us he had never been interviewed or asked to comment about his work when he was an employee in the company.
Yet when he became the chaplain he had been approached several times by the media and given opportunity to comment on issues affecting the workplace.

So how do we respond when we get that call? This is just one of the areas we will be looking at on our annual Conference which will be from Monday 28th to Wednesday 30th January 2013 at High Leigh Conference Centre.

The theme is "Chaplaincy in a Digital Age" and we are fortunate to have in our midst Rev Tony Miles who is a broadcaster himself and also Chaplain to Commercial Broadcasting.

Put the dates in your diary and for further details contact:
Rev Allan Robson
Chair of the Methodist Workplace Chaplains Forum Executive
Email: Allan.Robson158@btinternet.com

 


What is the relationship between chaplaincy and evangelism?

Thanks to Stephen Willey for pointing out these interesting paragraphs from the Rev Canon Jonathan Baldwin in his office as President of the International Association of Civil Aviation Chaplains. In the IACAC newsletter of June 2012 he writes:

 

" Earlier in the month our Roman Catholic Chaplains had the, ‘Fifteenth World Seminar for Catholic Airport Chaplains’, hosted by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. The theme was, “The New Evangelization in the World of Civil Aviation”. It was three days of intense presentations, workshops and discussions. How interesting it all sounded and how I would have loved to have been there, and been a part of the whole seminar.

Personally, I’m not sure how we, as chaplains could change our evangelization, as it’s not really what I believe our Airport owners would expect us to be doing. In the UK business world, Chaplains and religious workers are having to be very careful bringing religion into the everyday workplace. British Airways has been involved in a very high profile case, against a lady who is insistent about overtly wearing a cross with her uniform. Sadly only recently we had a doctor chastised by the British Medical Council for talking to a patient about Jesus and the patient having a faith.....

...I believe, we as Chaplains, are there to work with all Faiths, and people who do not yet have a faith, without creating a distinction or actively, ‘bringing them into our Faith’. Caring and loving them through all of their trials, illnesses and bereavements, without actively evangelizing them is what I feel we should be about. Surely it should be through our own personal witness, and just showing a constant warm, loving and caring presence, that we can bring our colleagues to Christ through the love our God has given to each one of us."

In sympathy with the above view I remember in a presentation saying that in my chaplaincy work people seem to come to faith despite my lack of proselytising. Afterwards a colleague commented that this happens because of my lack of proselytising! What do you think?

Tim Harrison


Did you know..?

80% of employees work in a workplace of less than 10 people

What might chaplaincy to small businesses look like? Perhaps you have experience...

If so you can let me tell me about it at harrisont@methodistchurch.org.uk


And finally

I finish by thanking Una Chandler of the Reading and Silchester Circuit for her letter telling me of her chaplaincy work to her local council. She writes of her role encountering people of all races, cultures, faiths and backgrounds and listening to staff about their needs concerns and daily lives and sharing in confidence the challenges of their lives. Although she only initially took on the role for 3 months because she did not know what to expect, she writes:

"I do feel that I am honoured and privileged to be serving as chaplain to my local council but most of all to be sharing the love of God to many. In 2011 I celebrated 10 years of service as chaplain and I learnt that for many workers their only contact with God or the church are chaplains in the workplace so I will continue to do my best to be a friendly and approachable chaplain."

Thank you to Una and all the other workplace chaplains out there.

Tim Harrison

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