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David steps down from Thetford chaplain role

DavidFreeman420Thetford workplace chaplain David Freeman is stepping down from the role after ten years working with factory workers, company directors, Police officers and firemen. Sandie Shirley reports.
David Freeman's colourful working past has made him a man of the people during his decade as Thetford's chaplain in the workplace. At 68, the Methodist circuit preacher is stepping down from a role that has seen him give hope and encouragement to hundreds of factory workers and company directors at crucial times in their lives. 
   
Over the last decade, David has been chaplain to the police and fire-brigade forces in South Norfolk. In roles past or present, his philosophy has been simple and unchanging: "I listen, care and pray as I aim to leave people in a happier state than when I met them."
 
His part-time workplace chaplaincy (with funding support from Thetford Christians Together and Good Work - the Norfolk & Waveney Industrial Mission), began with introduction letters and meetings at major companies and continued with relationship building at smaller firms. Those early seed-sowing days resulted in sharing the tears, joys and challenges of life with a growing workforce in over 50 companies.     
 
David’s own career saw him rise from the shop floor to management with a stint in personnel, purchasing and sales. This helped him to gain empathy with those he worked alongside as he understood production, quality control, competition and redundancy concerns.
 
He also provided a listening ear for more personal issues. "It has been important to tune into people and sense what to do or say, recognising that everyone will have a need for prayer support and encouragement at some stage in their life."
 
He has made a note of prayer needs and has often woken in the night or early morning to pray on specific dates and times for people. "If you pray for them and God does something in their lives, that is powerful," says David, who has seen a young man return to work after being ill for years and a woman cured from a flying phobia.  
 
David's own faith was tested after taking up the workplace chaplaincy. With an old car that eventually gave out, he was at a loss at how to continue the regular trips to factories and offices from his home near Diss. After immediate prayer, expressing the desire for a low-maintenance, affordable car, he saw a swift solution. "That afternoon a message was left on my telephone from a chaplaincy contact. Someone was selling the exact make of car I had asked God for and with my wife's unexpected pension, the vehicle, with its low mileage, was mine."
 
Pictured above is Thetford workplace chaplain, David Freeman.