Workplace Chaplaincy in the Footsteps of St Chad
Did St Chad visit the blacksmiths and carpenters of 7th century Britain? Did he watch the craftsmen (or women) making the items found in the Staffordshire Hoard?
We will never know how much Chad was connected with economic life in his day, but it is clear that he lived, as we do, in a multi-ethnic, multi-faith environment. His world and ours are both marked by deep, widespread and ongoing transition. He and his missionaries responded to these challenges by leaving behind the known, the safe and secure, crossing boundaries and engaging with the people around them. Chad chose to walk rather than ride, so that he could be alongside people as he travelled.
For Chad, the concept of church did not involve a building in the centre of a village that people would visit each week. Mission was not an invitation to come to a meeting, but was expressed by going to live in the midst of a community. The whole of life (including economic activity, then and now) was to be lived with the aim of establishing God’s reign on earth and bringing society into line with the purposes of God. Chad’s success - we trace the foundations of Christianity in the Midlands back to him - should be an encouragement to us.
This will mean embracing risk, and being prepared to live life “on the edge”. Chaplains have always seen their ministry as being on the edge both of the church and the groups they serve. They cross boundaries to draw alongside people for many different backgrounds, people who face bewildering changes and transitions in their lives.
Chaplaincy is one way that church will fulfill God’s mission. Living on the edge is often to be at the centre of spiritual life and renewal.