Workplace Chaplaincy in Derbyshire
Enabling and developing mission in the local society
By Paul Morris
Let’s play the ‘Word Association’ game where you respond with the first word that comes into your mind: I say ‘CHAPLAIN,’ you say ‘Charlie!” Not Chaplin but Chaplain! Let’s try again! Maybe you say: ‘caring’, or ‘listening’, or ‘visiting,’ and you’re right, well done, but it’s more than this. A chaplain is ordained or lay, with an ear to listen and care, with a heart to serve, interacting with people for their emotional and spiritual wellbeing, offering confidential, non-judgmental support about life and work. A chaplain is rooted in the Christian faith and a representative of the local church.
We have over 50 chaplains serving with Workplace Chaplaincy in Derbyshire, a Local Ecumenical Partnership sponsored by Churches Together in Derbyshire. Our mission is to provide pastoral support by building bridges of understanding between industry, faith, commerce and society.
The chaplains serve in many different sectors, including Industry, Retail, Agriculture, Social Care, Education, Business, Entertainment, Sport, Travel, Mountain Rescue, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue and the Police. We have chaplains serving at Rolls Royce and Bombardier, East Midlands Airport and Trains, at Derby County and Chesterfield Football Clubs, at Derby Theatre, in care homes, with retail in Westfield, Cathedral Quarter and St. Peter’s Quarter, and in police and fire stations.
People at work need support, and to provide this we need more chaplains, so please prayerfully consider whether this is a ministry for you, or someone you know. After all, chaplains are ordinary people, as illustrated in these stories from two chaplains:
Nigel Selby, Rolls Royce
I joined the Chaplaincy team after retiring Rolls Royce to provide support to those working in the Derby sites. Being familiar with many aspects of the technology involved in the current fleet of aero engines provides a ready point of contact when visiting people at their place of work.
Margaret Phypers, BHS and Westfield
I have always loved Derby and its people, but then it's that sort of city – small, compact and friendly. I love chatting with people and finding out what makes them tick! We all have so much to learn from one another. I have to admit that it isn't always easy. You are constantly meeting new people. Some people are easier to get to know than others. Some stores are very busy so conversations are brief.
This ministry is slow and patient. Gradually people realise we are there to support them and we can pray for and with them about issues in their lives. Often I discover the Lord is there even before I enter preparing the way. He prompts me in an uncanny way – “go in there today!" It is a privilege to share people's worries in illness, bereavement and family issues. What cheers me most is when faces light up when I walk in! Then I feel encouraged to continue this vital ministry – the church out in the marketplace!
It is a privilege to serve as a chaplain, and really encouraging to hear of the benefits! Russ Hamer is the manager of a small business: "Retail is completely unpredictable and sometimes dealing with the public can be a relentless task. The idea of a coffee or lunch break is a distant memory. Running a business is extremely stressful and it’s good to know there is, near at hand, people who understand and will help when needed."
Lucy Perchard is the manager of Westfield Derby: "Westfield employs several thousand people serving 25 million customers annually. With numbers like this, it gives us a good handle on the diverse challenges faced by many people. We lead increasingly fast paced lives with growing demands. A healthy work-life balance is not easy to achieve, so talking things through with someone impartial often puts things into perspective. That’s where chaplaincy comes into its own, it’s a confidential support service offering that vital listening ear just when you need it."
This ministry is for everyone at work in our county and is shared by many churches. We have much to be thankful for, but so much more could be achieved with more chaplains!
For more information, please contact us.