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Chaplaincy in the work place

Revd Shelia Bridge, Minister in Charge of St Peter and St John's Church in Rugby, explains how the church is supporting small local businesses.

Early in 2016 and following a helpful session at Deanery Synod when Paul Simmonds spoke on the value of chaplaincy in the work place, the PCC of St Peter and St John's decided this was something we could be offering to the many small businesses on the large industrial estate in our parish.

We created an attractive card with all the church details and a personal letter from myself (with a photo) explaining the kind of things we offer that might be of interest to their employees. We acknowledged that whilst very big firms often engage a chaplain, this isn’t possible for small businesses. But we all need support, we said, so we offered them a listening ear, a life skills course to enhance mental wellbeing and 'a worshipping community praying for your business to thrive'.

Although we haven’t yet had anyone directly seek the support of a chaplain, the card was well received and on the back of that initiative we held a business leader’s breakfast early one Friday morning in the early spring. From this we have been blessed with a lot of good will from local firms towards the church. Our railings were repainted in one day by two local firms with paint donated by a third, two local youth schemes came and redecorated two different rooms in church. The builders of a new housing development came and put two large raised beds in our garden for free, enabling the formation of an a new initiative — the ‘PJ Veg Beds’ group growing vegetables for our community. The same developers accepted the gift of a welcome pack from us for each of their new homes which contained all our church information and a packet of seeds.

We ran the life skills course (Keeping Health in Mind produced by Clive and Ali Hogger who are also of this diocese, for information see twice, once in May as a pilot and then again in the autumn term. At the second course 5 of the group of 8 were completely new to our church and two of these contacts have resulted in people joining other church activities/services.