We have a pretty big vision. To see chaplains all over the place. People, who are called, sent and supported. People like you and me, meeting people where they are at. To offer critical pastoral care and love to those who are often on the fringes of our society and to be a prophetic witness. The hands and feet of Christ – lurking with intent to love and care.
Within the Methodist Church of Great Britain, we would love to one day see every district, circuit, church and congregation have a chaplaincy ministry. To truly be a church without walls.
How are we doing this?
Well, for starters, this germ of an idea has been developing over the past few years. We recognise that chaplaincy has been at the heart of the Methodist movement since its beginnings. We also want to honour and learn from the amazing work of chaplains over the years.
As we travel around the country we also readily acknowledge that chaplaincy in one form or another is happening all over the place. We know that what we are doing is not new, however, where chaplaincy is presently patchy, inadequately resourced or little understood, let alone celebrated, we want to see consistency, generous resourcing and genuine support, where the often delicate work done in our communities is honoured, owned by the community and celebrated.
Lastly, we affirm that Methodism is essentially a lay movement which has ordained ministers in the mix to inspire, resource and guide. Everyone gets to participate in the ministry of Christ. You don’t need to own a dog collar to be a chaplain! Yes really!
We wanted to bring all of these elements together. Hence, the Chaplaincy Development Project, which aims to see the laity empowered and sent to be chaplains wherever people gather beyond our church buildings. The title of chaplain is of course optional!
To do this, the Connexional team has appointed two Chaplaincy Development Officers to be catalysts in local districts. Their role is to journey with local congregations around the country and offer whatever help is required.
As well as this, we are doing a lot of work behind the scenes to link up learning and experience in order to strengthen existing chaplaincy. We want to bring together a community of thoughtful practitioners and share in many of the great things being done in the name of Christ, sometimes in the most unlikely of places.
How can I get involved?
Well, firstly, you can engage with us here at www.opensourcechaplaincy.org.uk. Also, you could chat to your minister about setting up a local initiative, perhaps inspired by some of the things you have read on this website.
Also, you don’t have to wait for Kevin or Jonathan to get to your district! This is after all an open source initiative! We want to make everything that we are seeing and learning available to the world. We don’t want to keep the best for ourselves. Instead, we are committed to give the best away. We would love for you to take the learning, perspectives and resources from this site and get on with it. We would love for this vision to spread like wild fire. We hope that something here will spark your interest.
Are you a blue fish?
We believe that although every Christian is called to be a witness wherever they happen to find themselves, chaplaincy is a calling. Perhaps something you have read here has stirred something within you – perhaps you sense that it is a calling to become a chaplain. The blue fish in this picture is distinct – different from all the other fish. The difference between being a Christian witness and being a chaplain, is that a chaplain is essentially recognised by the host organisation. A chaplain is a Christian who is a guest within an organisation, whether it be a town centre, soccer club, further education college or a race course. A chaplain is someone who is a distinct and recognised presence.
If you think you might be a blue fish or want to become one, then do get in touch, we would love to connect you with other blue fish that have been swimming around for a little while and who may have learnt a few lessons along the way.