Article by Barbara Pugh, Workplace Chaplain in the Kidderminster Team
My introduction to Workplace Chaplaincy was many years ago when my late husband worked at the local crematorium. He came into contact with many clergy, and one of them was the local Industrial Chaplain. Although my husband did not talk about his job when he came home, he would occasionally mention he had been speaking to the Industrial Chaplain, and it made me wonder what this job entailed.
It was much more recently, following an article in the local paper about a talk being held in Kidderminster about Workplace Chaplaincy, that I thought I would like to go along to listen.
We had a very interesting talk, with video of some of the workplaces that Workplace Chaplains visit, including supermarkets, and local markets. After a short discussion with Revd Dick Johnson and Revd Rose Lawley, whose role was, in part, a Workplace Chaplain, I agreed that my name would be put forward to get involved in this particular work.
I was invited to accompany Rose, as she thought it would be interesting for me to see what happens when she visited the area she covered. I learned quite a lot about the role of Chaplaincy. I then was invited to start training for the Chaplaincy.
I accompanied Rose on one of her market visits. As Rose was well known to the traders, I found how much they seemed to value her visit, and listening to how busy they were, it made me realise that it was important that someone was around to offer not only support, but to listen to any concerns the traders experience. I continued to work with Rose each month until her retirement. I now work with Albert, a Methodist Local Preacher.
I was commissioned to become a Workplace Chaplain finally in September 2018 at St Peter’s Church, Cookley with Revd Dick Johnson and Revd Nigel Taylor. The service was very significant and I was supported by the congregation.
Albert and I continue to work together, usually on the first Thursday in the month, but occasionally, we go on our own. This can be quite a positive thing, as it means that we are in touch with the traders more than once a month. In May, we were able to take the new vicar of St Mary’s, Revd Simon Archer with us, so that he had an idea how Workplace Chaplaincy is working for the market. It also gave him the opportunity to see and listen to the challenges the traders experience.
Albert and I have got to know the traders quite well, and always get a friendly welcome when they see us. We also like to support them in terms of making purchases from their stalls, as we see this is a two-way support. We have a coffee break about halfway round, and this gives us the opportunity to discuss any problems we may have about our next visit, or things we would like to discuss at our next team meeting.
We meet with our team leaders, Revd Nigel Taylor and Revd Simon Archer every other month, as this gives us the platform to look at areas we think could be improved, and how we can move things forward.
If you are interested in becoming a workplace chaplain please contact us to find out more.