Chaplaincy - Prison

Bill Lovett
Reader, Christ Church Bromley

Is there a difference between serving in church and serving at work?
I have been a lay chaplain in a hospital and in a university.  Now I go into prisons, though I do not work in prisons. I lead a team from Christ Church Bromley into one London prison to help lead services and support the paid Anglican Chaplain.  I also help lead a victim awareness course organised by Prison Fellowship in another London prison

Is there a story or occurrence you could share that highlights something of the value of chaplaincy work?
Prison is a hard place.  Chapels are full of youngish men wanting forgiveness and to grow in the faith – wonderful, eh?  Facing these men I understand afresh that God’s forgiveness reaches much further than we inwardly assume.  Hearing their stories, we can see too that ending up “inside” is easier than we think.  Quite a number of men give ready justifications, excuses, and double-think.  It is a reminder that we too do this before the Almighty.

How would you encourage others who might be interested in getting involved in chaplaincy?
Firstly, find out more from Prison Fellowship England & Wales.  If still interested, join a local PF Group, and contact a prison where you have some sort of contact.  Quite a lot of people think they have a “calling” to prison ministry, and Prison Chaplains must take care in who they let inside.  Being an Anglican licensed lay minster will be helpful.

 


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