OSJ Chaplaincy

Extending Our Ministry Base.

The importance of the chaplain is they are a part of people's daily lives and routines.  They are 'just there' rather than being hidden away in some church or office somewhere out of sight. 

UK's Police Chaplaincy interim chairman Charles Nevin says the following about Chaplains in their newsletter (November 2019).  He quotes from the Methodist church's definition of the work of the chaplain and then expands on the theme. 

The Chaplain:
  • offers ministry beyond the walls - to where people are;
  • is an invited guest and not the host;
  • is vulnerable - not powerful;
  • is commissioned by our faith leadership and accredited by the host;
  • is an intentional presence - rather than gathering;
  • is an authentic expression of active faith - sharing in what God is doing in the world.

If we unpack that definition and apply it to our own work, we can see clear parallels with the pattern of our own ministry. 

We go beyond the confines of our places of worship and find ourselves grounded and challenged in the reality of everyday life and the pressures that the men and women of the police service feel and experience every day. 

Quite rightly we have no power and we are in every sense servants to those whom we serve, but that servanthood is both vulnerable and empowering. 

We walk alongside listening to stories and sharing journeys, but we are also called to recognise and confront injustice whenever we see it. 

The prophetic element of our calling to speak out for others is a vital but often the most challenging, and it speaks of our own vulnerability. We also embody faith in the presence of a secular society but also in a climate where people are searching for meaning and a sense of self-worth. 

The richness of our religious diversity is our greatest strength when irrespective of our faith tradition we are not in competition but recognising the image of God in all people. Chaplaincy is not so much taking God to the front line, but rather disclosing his presence in the toughness of life and living.

                 Image: a small portable communion kit dating from the late 1800's

This definition really highlights the value and importance of the work of the Christian chaplain, a role which is significantly different to the role and work of the priest.

That fact is that not all priests make good chaplains, and not all chaplains make good priests.  They are quite individual ministries which may include elements of both.

Whilst we appreciate that those in religious or faith communities would prefer to and do receive ministry from those of their own background, there are many who are in need but have no one to turn to.  It is this particular group that OSJ (UK) is interested in supporting.  This is why we also work in hospitals, prisons and with the emergency services as well as in the greater community.

Our role is to be available to minister to all those who feel they have no one to turn to or who have been abandoned by the churches they once belonged to.

The chaplain's role is a perfect model for us to adopt along side our role as priests, ministers and pastors, especially since we don't come with any denominational bias or agenda.  Our approach is to meet people wherever they are in their spiritual journey and minister appropriately to their need.

We know the importance of welcoming people into the Christian family rather than 'a denomination'.  

If you have an interest in developing a role as an Independent Christian Chaplaincy Service Provider or are already in chaplaincy and would like more freedom to develop your own ministry outside of a denominational context, please contact OSJ (UK) through it's 'Contact Us' page.