Every so often I read back over a post, particularly one which has been written from a place of emotion and think um……perhaps I could have phrased that a little differently or perhaps I could have included more reference to some good work going on elsewhere. So it was with my recent post “Movingon in to ???”
In my frustrations about my husband going into his student presbyter role whilst I am not sure what my future holds I realise I may have given the wrong impression about Chaplaincy as a ‘stream’ in Methodism. What I meant is whilst one can express a clear calling to certain types of ministry and there are clear pathways through there is not the same clear route through to chaplaincy ministry and not the same opportunities for this to be a paid role.
However, it is clear stream which is supported by the Connexional Team. There is a page on the Methodist website which gives clear links to those who support the different types of chaplaincy. The problem which exists is highlighted within the “about chaplaincy” pages within the PDF document which can be linked to.
It says:” What kind of people are chaplains? There are many different kinds of Methodist chaplains. Most are volunteers - ordained ministers working full time as chaplains are very much in the minority.”
This paragraph totally ignores the lay person for whom this is their paid vocation. The impression given is that the lay person will be a volunteer. This is what is at the root of my personal frustration and what I didn’t perhaps adequately express.
It is this assumption which is also implicit within much of the Methodist material on chaplaincy, although it is found within excellent resources which are of equal worth whether you are considering chaplaincy as a volunteer role or as a career or if you are more experienced. Indeed Chaplaincy Everywhere and Chaplaincy Essentials are excellent resources which I would recommend more widely than just to Methodists.
Additionally, Cliff College runs an excellent summer school with a mission stream which is focusing on “Vocation and Mission: New forms of Chaplaincy” and a number of links from last year’s course can be found on the website. This advertises itself on Facebook as for both those looking into chaplaincy and experienced chaplains and for lay and ordained. It’s organised by the Methodist Discipleship and Learning Network in conjunction with the College, which runs an excellent range of course.
So as I hope you can see there is a lot of excellent work going on and I have benefited from part of it. The HE Chaplaincy link in the network has been a great encourager to me over the last two years as I have been in my current role.