Norfolk chaplaincy conference was engaging
2015: The Chaplaincy in Norfolk annual conference, organised by Good Work at Diocesan House, Easton, on October 12 was labelled both engaging and provocative. Rev Dr Arnold Browne and Rev Matthew Hutton report.
This was an excellent day’s conference, well organised by Rev Chris Copsey with engaging and provocative presentations from both Ben Ryan (pictured right) and Rev Paul Nash and enthusiastic participation by those present, including chaplains working in the fields of Healthcare (including Mental Health and Hospice), Police, Prison and the Coroner’s Court, Sea Cadets and Further and Higher Education.
In the morning Ben Ryan from Theos, author of the 2015 Theos Report A Very Modern Ministry: Chaplaincy in the UK, invited us to think about the impact of chaplaincy, with copious references to the results of his detailed researches. Starting with the question ‘What is chaplaincy for?’
A division of delegates into break-out groups produced some interesting discussion and reflections/suggestions. There were references to the power of the sacrament of mental health patients, to the hope which chaplains in prison bring and to the importance of a chaplain being grounded in a local church which can offer both prayer and pastoral support.
Following a plenary session and lunch, the Rev Paul Nash, Senior Chaplain at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, spoke on ‘Self-care is never selfish’ or ‘Who chaplains the chaplain?’, that is, how can we live our lives, work as chaplains and flourish?
In conclusion this was a very full, worthwhile and challenging day. The hope is that Ben will be able to commission a thorough audit of chaplaincy in Norfolk. We all went away with much to reflect on and think about. Certainly, the church, whatever the denomination, needs a much clearer idea of what chaplains actually do.
Rev Dr Arnold Browne, is a member of the chaplaincy team at HM Prison Norwich; email@example.com
Rev Matthew Hutton, is curate at St Stephen’s Church, Norwich; firstname.lastname@example.org