Could you become a volunteer Waterways Chaplain?

Are you a Christian, a good listener and able to walk around a mile of waterways a week?

The Christian ministry of a volunteer Waterways Chaplain is to be pastorally proactive and spiritually reactive. As part of this, we work to build up relationships and be part of the lives of all those we meet. Many value having  someone to listen and someone to talk issues through with to try to find a way forward.

Chaplains share in the good and bad times and are supportive and encouraging of all, regardless of religion, orientation or race. We support people of all faiths and none and are happy to discuss spiritual and practical matters if invited to do so.

When asked about the reason for volunteering as a Chaplain, one of our new recruits replied with the following….

“I would like to reach out be a useful Christian worker on the waterways – an environment which we have grown to love increasingly over recent years.  This has been particularly sparked by realising I am slowly approaching retirement, which I don’t wish to view as a “vacation”, but rather a setting in which I can continue to be hands and face for Jesus, albeit in a less intense fashion than current work”

Waterways Chaplains helping out with a towpath user

Our key values are to “Act justly, to love mercy and walk humbly with our God.” Micah 6:8

Steve Straw – ‘why I am a Waterways Chaplain’

A model Chaplain would be:

  • Listener: Listen, listen and listen! This is a key attribute: being aware and seeking to understand how to use appropriate language, tone and volume according to the situation.
  • Christian faith: a mature Christian faith and a strong commitment to the ethos and values of the Christian Church.
  • Team player: being a team player and supportive of the people you work alongside.
  • Teachable: willing to learn how best to respond to situations and individuals. It is expected that a volunteer Chaplain will attend two ministerial development days each year once their probationary training is complete.
  • Empathy: an ability to understand the needs of an individual from the perspective of the person expressing the need.
  • Commitment: walking the canal can be fun but it does require energy and commitment to cover at least one towpath mile per week. The timing can be flexible as does the readiness to adapt the kind of support offered to individuals according to needs being expressed.
  • Self-awareness: an ability to understand one’s own emotional response to a situation and remain cool. This means we are aware of one’s own non-verbal communication, especially when approaching a vulnerable person.
  • Caring: someone who cares about the local community and is willing  to make a contribution to a wider Christian care and concern.

So, are you a Christian, a good listener and able to walk around a mile of waterways a week? Being a volunteer Chaplain is challenging, rewarding but never dull. It is  very humbling to be granted the opportunity to serve Christ in this way.

Is God talking to you about a ministry out of the four walls of the church, being his feet, hands and voice in a very special community?

Could your Church or Churches Together ‘adopt’ an area of the waterways and take your faith onto the towpath?

Many times, as our volunteers are helping others, they share spiritual matters – below is a quote from one of our chaplains as they shared their faith.

“It is amazing where the Chaplaincy work leads too. I had been up near them visiting a ‘client’ if that is the right word. His boat had sunk on the Yare and he had been given a brand new flat by a housing association. I went to look. It is just great and such a provision. He is not a Christian but I found the New Testament I left him on the window ledge. Good to be useful”

If you would like more information, would like a speaker to come and visit or would like an opportunity to support us in another way, please email us and we will be happy to get back to you as soon as we can.

You can see further information on what we do as volunteers from our news stories Waterways Chaplain news.