As you may already know, over the last few years, the Free Churches Group have been actively seeking ways in which to engage our churches and wider communities in the life and mission of further education providers. The Free Churches Further Education Working Group, chaired by Dr John Wise, have recently published CHAPLAINCY for the Free Churches and Further Education. The paper, by Dr John Wise and Professor Graham Handscomb, provides a thought provoking and inspiring call to action for our churches.... This has been affirmed by the FCG Board and Directors in March 2018 and we are pleased to be able to share it HERE.
* Have you thought through and prayed about how members of your congregations might be called to work in FE chaplaincy?
* Have you explored the gifts and vocations of your members and leaders in light of the skills needed for FE Chaplaincy?
To find out more about this vital and inspiring work, contact Sara Iles, FCG Education Assistant: firstname.lastname@example.org or you could check out the Chaplaincy Central link HERE for some general information on how to get started. Keep us posted with your progress and good news stories!
The key messages of this FCG FE Chaplaincy report are: “Surely the Lord is in this place- and I knew it not” (Genesis 28 :16, NIV). God with us - There is no part of the created order from which God is absent. There is no part of life from which God withholds his concern and his blessing. If therefore God is present wherever people gather to work and serve, there the church needs also to be, seeking to identify where God is alive and active and speaking in ways that encourage those who engage in that area. This is as much true of the further education (FE) college as it is of the hospital, the prison, the armed services, schools, the university or the workplace. It is simply artificial to make distinctions in this context between the church congregation and the many other local contexts in which people come together and interact.
- Further Education fulfils a vital role in the local community, providing an environment where young people and adults from every ethnic, faith and social group come together to gain education, vocational training and personal transformation.
- FE and Free Church congregations have a shared commitment to serve their local communities. They share the common values of social justice, a concern for the disadvantaged and offering a second chance and support to those in need.
- Free Church Chaplains make an important contribution to the spiritual moral, and cultural development of students and staff in further education. They provide pastoral and confidential support, and promote the value of equality, diversity and difference within the college community.
- Engaging with further education is a golden opportunity for congregations to take the church to where the people are in the local community.