Rev Canon Katy Canty, Dean of Sector Ministers, tells us how the work of our Diocesan Chaplaincies continues through the pandemic in changed and evolving forms.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the work of our Diocesan Chaplaincies continues albeit in changed and evolving forms. At recent Zoom meetings, our Chaplains met to share with and encourage each other.
The theme of ‘Blessing’ reminded us that even in such unprecedented times, there were good things happening as Chaplains continue to work alongside people on the frontline in hospitals and hospices. Many reported increased Staff engagement as many were seeking support, someone with whom to share their stresses and answers to questions.
In schools, Chaplains were doing a lot more one-to-one work and seeing an increase in kindness and concern from many people. One school had seen a three-fold increase in harvest gifts. Imaginative ideas were being used in Universities and Chaplains were working particularly with students in isolation and those who have come from abroad.
Chaplains in retail were having to stand back physically but are still involved where they can be. Telephone conversations have been used by many; our Mental Health Chaplain reports that she and another colleague have spoken to over 1000 people at this time. Prison Chaplains continue to operate and the use of prison radio for services has been effectively utilised.
In other places such as the Railways and the Waterways, Chaplains are still out and about and finding plenty of opportunities to speak to people. At times like these, there are more people walking along the towpath! Fire Stations do not close and the Army has been a very visible presence in Liverpool at this time, both of which are served by the presence of a Chaplain. Our Sports Teams too continue to have Chaplains available for them.
It has been a time of great opportunity for our Chaplains. Unrestricted by church buildings they are out in the community, just being there for people who frequently say. ‘I’m not religious, but…..’ and so glad to have someone just to talk to, to release their fears to, to know that they will be prayed for. Chaplains are a reminder of the light of Christ in the darkness of the world, walking alongside the discouraged, the grieving, the dying and speaking of God through compassion and understanding.