Chaplain in a busy Town Centre
The BCUIM team is made up of ordained and volunteer chaplains, all of them members of local churches. Their chaplaincies in different workplaces, industrial, public sector and shops form part of the ministry of those churches, bringing something of the reconciliation that God intends and the Christian Gospel offers. Here's some reflections by Anthony Harris, Authorised Local Minister in Walsall, and chaplain in the town Centre.
It is easy sometimes to think how God is working through St. Paul's and St. Luke's. Or how has their overall entire ministry affected the local communities? We live in an age where we want to measure the performance or how effectively something has achieved its goals. But how do we measure ministry and mission of the church? Church attendance, pie charts, how much ministry we are doing, new people coming to church etc.
These things are good in their own way, however I see Jesus had a bigger vision for the church. This year I have been trying to visit the local shops that I wouldn't normally visit. I have bravely stepped into shops that some people, even I, found challenging. Not because there is anything wrong with these people. But how would they perceive a parish worker visiting them?
One shop I have been trying to build a relationship with is a tattoo shop called Eerie Ink. In short, they're amazed someone from the church visits them and also thinks they're great people to sit and have a coffee with. Is this not what Jesus did when he visited people? He looked past all the barriers that block relationships from forming and could see the treasure in someone because they are made in the image of God.
But why did Jesus do this? The bigger vision is that Jesus wanted to people reconciled to God and to each other. Also to understand this reconciliation is what brings peace between God, with one another and ourselves.
So I want to call mission from God is that we as a church community called to show this reconciliation made visible in practice that shows unity, love, mercy, forgiveness and a self -giving grace. So to encourage both churches, everything that the church partakes in which brings reconciliation to our communities has had an incalculable defect in Walsall. We will never know how many lives have been touched or been transformed because of the work of both churches over the years. (Based on 2 Cor 5:18 -20)