It’s that time of the year when we begin to reflect on a year gone by, to look forward to remembering the events in Bethlehem a long time ago and onwards to a new year.
It’s been a busy year in the Chaplaincy world. The Chaplaincy Leadership Forum and the Network for Pastoral, Spiritual and Religious care have formed a new group - Healthcare Chaplaincy Forum for Pastoral, Spiritual and Religious Care launched on December 1st 2017.
The new procurement system for NHS Chaplaincy Project funding has been changed, and tested – now we await the outcome of the bidding process. Once known the work streams for the next 2 years will be announced. This we hope to do before Christmas.
Changes are ever present and on the committees we have some vacancies. The Free Churches Group needs to recruit the following –
· A Free Church Chaplain to join the Network for Pastoral, Spiritual and Religious Care in Health (The faith and Belief Group). The Network meets 3 – 4 times a year in London, and the nominated individual has the responsibility of bring news and concerns, ideas and proposals from their sending faith community and sharing the work of the Network back into the sending community.
· A Free Church Chaplain to share in the work of the Health Care Chaplaincy Steering Committee that has responsibility to promote Chaplaincy from a Free Church perspective, support Free Church Chaplains and support the work of the Secretary for Free Church Chaplaincy. This group meets twice a year face to face with audio calls as necessary.
Do get in touch if you would like to explore these opportunities further.
Another key change is in my working pattern. From January 1st I will be working half time. I have some interesting opportunities I want to follow up and to enjoy both my work and these new things I need to make space in the diary. To facilitate this change the Free Churches Group have engaged Red Meg Burton to cover the ‘other half’ of the week – although in reality we will be job sharing and ensuring that all work is covered. Some of you will know Meg already, and I am sure you will make her feel welcome and benefit from her knowledge and expertise especially in End of Life Care.
Over the past few weeks I have been reminded about the challenges to individuals and their families and friends when serious illness strikes, particularly at this time of the year, and was minded to write the following:-
Holy Child of Bethlehem, you started your earthly life in a borrowed manger,
Your arrival noted by the isolated and the weary.
Yet with your arrival the world was opened to new possibilities of hope, love and peace.
This Christmas we pray for those who are sick, at home or in hospital,
those whose pain cannot be seen,
those who fear the night and those for whom the day is too long.
Let us also pray for those who will care in homes and in hospital, those who will acknowledge the pain that cannot be seen,
those who will share the dark of the night and the length of the day.
May they all be reminded of the gift of hope, love and peace that came down at Christmas.
And for those of us who are well enough to share time with friends and family, let us be thankful, mindful of the needs of others and willing to play our part to share Gods love. Amen.
May you all be richly blessed this Christmas time,
This Christmas Newsletter 2017 is available to download here.