Waterways chaplains launch on Norfolk Broads
The Waterways Chaplaincy has recently started a new hub on the Norfolk Broads, and they are looking for more volunteer chaplains to help cover what is an extensive area. Tony Rothe reports.
Waterways Chaplaincy is about serving Christ on the waterways. It is a national organisation which helps those who live and work on or alongside waterways, canals, and rivers in both rural and urban communities in the UK.
It operates as part of Workplace Matters, which in turn is part of the Church Army, and is an ecumenical partnership reaching out and taking Christian values through its chaplains into the community.
People live and work on the waterways - many use their boats for recreational purposes, but some choose to live on board. This means that the live-aboard boater will not have a post code and as such will find it difficult to register with a GP, claim benefit, tax vehicle, or even open a bank account. Choosing this way of life does not always give access to schools, medical facilities or other amenities and these problems can be compounded when bereavement, depression, illness, or unemployment occurs.
Chaplains are volunteers from local churches who visit the waterways regularly, offering companionship and a listening ear to individuals and businesses. They will take an interest in whoever they meet - boaters, holidaymakers, cyclists, walkers, runners, anglers, etc as well as all those who live and work on and care for the Broads. They all have enhanced DBS checks and are fully trained, including safeguarding training, to fulfil their role.
They will support and encourage everyone regardless of religion, orientation, or race, and are always happy to offer practical and spiritual help, or just to discuss spiritual and practical matters if invited to do so. The network of waterways chaplains are well placed to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable, responding to concerned community members, providing pastoral support , care and guidance.
The Waterways Chaplaincy is expanding its work by establishing a hub on the Norfolk Broads. Angie Baldwin, an experienced chaplain, has moved into the area and been joined by Mike Cadman, both pictured above. Mike has recently been commissioned following a training period, but brings with him lots of experience in other areas of public life. Both chaplains will have their own ‘patch’ to work as part of those communities, but they will also work across the whole area to try and provide the pastoral support, for which the chaplaincy is well known, to all who use the waterways.
They will look to recruit additional chaplains to provide a better coverage across the area and work to get to know those who live and work on and near the local rivers and Broads. Angie and Mike are delighted with the reception they have received from the Broads Authority and Norfolk Police which will enable them to target their pastoral work where it is most needed.
Mike says “We have met with the Broads Authority who are happy that we are working alongside them, and have approved the use of their logo on our leaflet. We have also met with Broads Beat, the Broads Police, and they have involved us in their information community They have already given us one or two people to try and help, so we are pastorally active and spiritually reactive.
“At the moment there are just the two of us, Angie and myself, to cover the whole area. We manage to get around, but a few more chaplains would be a great help. If you see us around in our ‘gilets’ or in the boat with our banners, please say ‘hello’. We would be happy to talk and help in any way we can.”
You can contact Mike Cadman at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07885 282465
Or e-mail Angie Baldwin at email@example.com or phone 07771 438062
To find out more about the work of Waterways Chaplains, click here.
If you wish to consider becoming a Waterways Chaplains, click here
Do you have a news story or forthcoming event relating to Christians or a church in East Norfolk?
If so, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with details and, if possible a suitable picture.