Work Place Chaplaincy embraces Decade of Ministry

Chaplain for Edinburgh city centre Rev Tony Bryer at work in Harvey Nichols

A new apprentice chaplaincy programme is being created in a joint initiative between the Church of Scotland and Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland (WPCS). It comes as a series of events are being held in Edinburgh, Arbroath and Inverness to promote the chaplaincy service. Here, Rev Iain McFadzean, ChiefExecutive of WPCS, outlines the new project.

"As part of the Church's: 'Decade of Ministry', Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland (WPCS) offered to run a pilot project in pioneering ministry, employing three apprentice missionars/chaplainsthe title has yet to be finalised who feel a call, but don't fit into the formal ministerial trainingprogrammes.

"In this way, we hope to encourage anyone, but especially younger people, who may not otherwise be able to develop their call, to accept this challenge. Fully funded and supported by the Church of Scotland, the project will include a dedicated Vocation and Training Director, but will be run and administeredby WPCS, which is the successor to the former Scottish Churches Industrial Mission.

"As a result, in 2015, our team will welcome four new members of staff. Under the Vocation and Training Director, the apprentices will be mentored and trained through a three-year practice-based programme, building their experience and education, to help them discern their vocation and prepare forthe next step.

"I know our chaplains will really encourage and support these new team members when they arrive and share with them all their experience hopes and visions.

"Looking back on the past four years since WPCS was established, I find it humbling to see the way God has worked out his plans, which always have been and always will be, more than we could ask or imagine. When we began we had a small team supporting 20 workplaces. Since then, we have experiencedrapid growth and we now have 93 work place chaplains engaged with more than 1500 organisations and businesses. These range from shopping malls and the emergency services to large organisations like the Edinburgh trams.

"Through this apprenticeship project, I hope people will be inspired by new challenging and rewarding areas of ministry. The church is not dying, as sometimes the media would lead us to believe. There exists in our society no less a spiritual yearning and searching than there has ever been. It is thejob of the church to translate the gospel into words and actions that can be related and responded to in today's world. This project is just one small part of how the church is responding to that.

"We have always been proud of the enthusiasm and professionalism with which all our staff and volunteers have undertaken our training programme and are aware how important it is that we maximise chaplains' potential, both honing the gifts and talents they bring and equipping them with relevant andefficient training.

"Now as we move towards our fifth anniversary celebration, in October this year, I sense that we are about to see even more exciting developments. Many of our chaplains have now undertaken the majority of our training modules and have been asking: What's next?' The answer is that there are four newmodules being offered this year:

  • Ethical Practices in the Workplace (Thinking Ethically)
  • Thinking Theologically in a Secular Setting
  • Media, Social Media Signposting
  • Volunteer Coordinator Training

"In addition to these new courses we are investigating the possibility of taking some of our current courses to a deeper level and hope, in time, to be able to develop this pattern into a recognised chaplaincy qualification."I hope in the future all our chaplains, with their additional training and experience, will not only have the opportunity to serve the Kingdom in their chaplaincy work and their own congregations and communities, but will also, if they wish, be able to work towards a nationally-recognised qualification.This will not be of interest to everyone, but each of our chaplains is valued and respected and we want them all to be able to feel their skills and calling are being used appropriately.

"As the new year starts to unfold, I would like, once again, to thank all our staff and volunteers for theircommitment, service and the faith we share.

Ephesians 3:20-21 taken from: 'The Message' says it more eloquently than I could: 'God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working withinus, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. 'Glory to God in the Church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!'"Find out more about the Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland.