Community Chaplaincy

Mental health & Christian leadership - conference on 23rd Oct

A day conference for Christian leaders, chaplains, student workers and anyone interested in looking after their own mental health and that of others. This will be held at Bloomsbury Baptist Church, London on Wednesday 23rd October.

Lots of varied conference content and the opportunity to explore a wide range of topics… Theological input, panel discussions and a choice of workshops including exploring mental health first aid, supporting those in study, and worship and dementia.

The conference costs are £25 per person and you can find out more information and book your place here.

Come along and be inspired… learn together…

Develop skills and share good practice in this important area of ministry

For information contact

Tickets provided through Eventbrite

New report published - On children and young people's mental health

On 22nd November, the NHS published a report concerning the mental health of children and young people across England. You can read the full report HERE.

We will know of children and young people in our churches and communities who have struggled with mental health issues; we may be a young person reading this who is encountering difficulties; we may have youngsters in our own congregations and families who have mental health conditions. This is a concern for us all and so it is important to be aware of the report’s findings and understand some of the issues that our children and young people are facing. There are links below which could help and can be shared with others in need.

Some of the key findings from the report are:

  • One in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19 year olds had at least one mental disorder when assessed in 2017

  • Rates of mental disorders increased with age.

  • Emotional disorders have become more common in five to 15 year-olds 

A recent article in the Premier Christian Media Trust calls for churches to be open to teenagers facing issues. You can read about it HERE and find out where schemes to support young people are currently operating.

The Free Churches Group are committed to supporting member churches and groups engage with issues of the day and find ways in which our free churches can engage more fully in the community, in issues such as education and mental health support. We will be developing these further over the next couple of years so keep an eye out in our FCG newsletters for further information.

There are various networks you can register your support with or join their newsletter circulation list:

  1. Action for Children

  2. “Beating the Blues” Programme

  3. Pray for Schools

  4. Anti-Bullying Alliance

  5. Mind and Soul Foundation

  6. Childline

  7. Festive - the Christian Further Education charity

A blessing Prayer

May the Lord God Bless you each step of Life’s way.

May you learn each day to open yourself to love and the blessings of love. May you find a stick to lean on when the road is hard- and not use the stick to beat yourself. May you be blessed with life's abundance and blessed in poor days too, learning again what really matters, what lasts.

May you never give in to despair or the lie that nothing can change. May you find ways of life and walk them with courage, knowing that every step is within the heart of Christ who holds all our days in love. Amen

© Revd Dr Christopher Jenkins

Are you and your church based in the West Midlands?

As you may already know, the Free Churches Group have been developing ways in which our member churches can get involved in Further Education and the life and work of chaplaincy in our local colleges…. you can read more about our work in general in this arena HERE.

If you or your churches have connections in the West Midlands, you may wish to know more about the WMCFEC….

The West Midlands Churches’ Further Education Council exists to:

  • Support colleges in the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students and the training and resourcing of staff in matters of faith and spirituality

  • Support churches in valuing FE and lifelong learning as part of their wider involvement in education, and providing resources and training to partner colleges in their work

There are lots of links and resources to check out, whether you are in West Mids or further afield… Many colleges in the West Midlands are looking to developing their work and engage chaplains - perhaps there are people in your churches who would be able to use their gifts in local colleges…? Find out more and get involved HERE.

Story about the Community Chaplaincy

Photo by  Rita Vicari

Photo by Rita Vicari

So, you don’t go to church but…

Often people in hospital who may have not declared a faith or belief affiliation find comfort and support from the pastoral and spiritual care given by the Chaplaincy team, but what happens when they go home?

In Doncaster the role of Community Chaplaincy has been explored in relation to end of life care. For these patients, the support in terms of spiritual and pastoral care for them and their families is high on the agenda when in hospital or the hospice, but when they go home it can be a very different story.

A team of volunteers were trained in Community Chaplaincy support and, with support from GPs and palliative care, staff were enabled to visit patients in their own homes. Once patients were advised that the service was available, community chaplaincy visitors were then given the referral from the GP practice, contacting the patient to arrange a visit.

Story One

The female patient was referred to us as someone who was missing contact with her church. She was allocated to one of our volunteers who is active in her own church, of a different denomination from that of the patient. At the initial visit the volunteer was welcomed very positively, both by the patient and her husband. The patient was in the last months of life and appeared to have difficulty talking, or at least talking made things hard for her. The volunteer and the patient jointly decided that it was not necessary for there to be face to face visits. Instead contact was made for a while by telephone and then, when talking became even more difficult, contact was maintained by the volunteer sending the patient bible reading notes and prayers, which the patient very much appreciated. Towards the end of her life, the patient was admitted to the hospice and the volunteer visited her there. She reported that speech was even more difficult. [The nurses on the ward, and the specialist palliative care nurse all reported that the patient's speech was not causing her difficulty; indeed she used her voice to make her husband's life quite miserable, both at home and in the hospice, but the volunteer did not see this.]

The patient returned home to die and her husband rang the volunteer to let her know and to tell her where and when the funeral was taking place. The volunteer said that they had quite a long conversation and she asked me if it would be all right to attend. I confirmed that it would and that, as the service is for patients and their families, if she felt the husband would welcome her continued support, it was all right to offer.

Visits were arranged depending on the needs of the patient and their family - usually once a week. Most visits lasted no more that approximately 45 mins.

Story Two

The male patient was referred to us as someone who, as he was approaching the end of his life, was remembering a difficult beginning to his life and needed to talk about it. He was not religious but agreed to the referral. The volunteer, also active in her church, visited him at home. His wife was present and the volunteer said that he did not say very much. Our feeling was that he had opened up so much to the specialist palliative care nurse that he no longer needed our input in depth. He and his wife both said that they were pleased the volunteer had visited but that as he was able to get out quite a lot, they didn't feel the need for regular contact. However, the patient said that if the volunteer happened to be passing, it would be all right for her to call in. This she did on several occasions and mostly it was a chat on the doorstep, but sometimes she was invited in, especially when his wife was out. This was when the patient opened up more. The volunteer invited them to some non-church activities and they attended one. The patient is very gradually becoming worse and his ability to get out of the house is lessening. The volunteer continues to maintain contact.

The delivery of intentional spiritual care (Community Chaplaincy Support) is based on the model developed by Revd Debbie Hodge (2015). The four stages of the model are Encounter, Relationship, Transaction and Reflection as shown below. Under each stage is a description of the indicative content.


The aim of intentional spiritual care is to replace ‘Pain’ in the diagram below with ‘Peace’


This change is achieved when Spiritual care needs are met and the individual is at ‘ease’ with themselves and their situation, and may be related to faith or belief, understanding, resilience, relationships and self-awareness.

For more about this story contact or

 This story is available to download here.


Date: Thursday 4th October 2018 & Tuesday 5th February 2019

Location: Free Churches House, 27 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9HH


For those who connected with a faith community there is both social and spiritual support. For those who aren’t where is their spiritual support in times of health care crisis?

This day will be based on the shared experience of individuals working in Community Health Care Chaplaincy and will enable participants to build their plan to make a difference in their community.

This is an opportunity for the church to make a significant contribution to the health and well-being of the local community.


Tea and Coffee available from 10.30am

11:00 Welcome and opening prayers

11:10 What is community Chaplaincy?

The principles and model of care

The story of Soweto

11:45 Transferring the model to the UK

The story of Doncaster

The story of Lincoln

12:30 Lunch

13:30 What might this look like in your church?




14:30 What else do we need?

15:00 Round up and closing prayers.

15:15 Home time

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

The cost is £10 for a day and you are advised to book early as places are limited.

For more information, please contact Thandar Tun ( or 02036518338).

To book a place, please complete and return the booking form to or post to Free Churches Group, 27 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9HH.

This programme is available to download here.