Welcome to this quarterly round-up of news from around the Eastern region.
Michael Collins – Minister in Training at Hadleigh
John Prothero – Minister at Christ Church, Coggeshall
Rob Foster – Minister in Training at Whitehouse, Ipswich Gavin Walter – Minister at Ashdon
Gilson Gwendu – Minister at Mill Road, Cambridge
Premises Developments at Rushmere and Sudbury
Vivienne Davis, Church Manager at Rushmere Baptist Church, Ipswich writes “As a church we have been growing for a number of years. Having outgrown our small chapel space we had resorted to using the chapel and the lounge to accommodate worshippers. This meant we were effectively two congregations at right angles to each other and unable to see each other – a challenge to anyone leading worship, preaching or leading communion. We spent a couple of years exploring various possible solutions and in February last year we started work on the first phase of our planned development – remodelling the existing interior to create a large, inclusive worship space. We knocked down walls, put in new supports, raised the roof, moved the minister’s and church offices, moved our entrance and improved the entrance space. We now have a wonderful new worship space which is rapidly filling up; we have retained flexibility with dividing doors to give us a much larger hall for use by our various groups; it has even allowed us to start a Parent and Toddler Group. We still need more space and Phase Two will see us extend our Jubilee Hall to create another room and a stunning new entrance.”
Mark Ulanowski, Pastor at Sudbury Baptist Church writes “Our heart’s desire at SBC is to see this new space used for mission in the local community – giving us an opportunity to connect with people in new ways. I see it as a crossing place between the gathered church community and the scattered wider community.”
Foundations of Cherry Hinton Baptist Church building extension are now complete
Cherry Hinton Baptist Church is the Project 2017 church for the central sector. Sometime between Easter and Pentecost 2018 they will be able to offer a toilet with easy access to all, and having a kitchenette in which after-church coffee can be prepared and cleared up from.
Home Mission Appeal 2017: Thanks for increased giving
Giving from EBA Churches to the Home Mission Appeal in 2017 was £408,945 against the revised target of £400,000 which is very good. Giving was 2.9% up on 2016 and over 27% of the total was received in November and December.
Nationally HM giving was 9% down on National Target (4.222m) but 1% up on 2016. The EBA was one of only 7 of the 13 Associations whose giving increased in 2017. Thank you to everyone for their generous support.
Prayers for Chaplains in our Area
This quarter we focus on hospital chaplains working in the Eastern Region. Hospital Chaplains Revd Alison Horncastle (Queens Hospital, Romford) and Revd Lee Gilbert (Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn) share some thoughts.
I work for Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust, a large trust which consists of two hospitals — Queen’s more the trauma centre, and King George which is the elective hospital. I have been a chaplain there for five years but I have worked for the Trust for over 25 years spending 20years in the operating theatre. So I know the hospital as well as the staff.
At this time we are working under a great deal of pressure as you know, but the staff are holding on. Lots of them come from many parts of the world and different cultures which makes it very interesting,; as well as being able to understand the culture and language of our patients.
We are a small Chaplaincy team compared to the size of the trust (7,500 staff and approx. 700 beds). There are two Anglican, one Catholic, me as the token Free church Baptist, a Jewish, local Imam, and Sikh chaplains. I would ask for prayer for the hospital as well as the Chaplaincy team.
I spend a good part of my time working within the Palliative Care team supporting patients and their families as well as the staff. I do see many with faith but also those with none so I can only show them the love of Christ, not always the word. I also run a bereavement group to support those who have lost loved ones. The work of a chaplain is very varied: you never know where you are going to be called, from teaching staff about Spiritual Care, to conducting funerals and Baptisms, and everything in between.
I love my role in the hospital and find it a real privilege that families and patients let me in at sometimes the worst time in their lives. I couldn’t do this without the support I get from my husband, my church and most of all from God.
“Hello, my name is Lee Gilbert and I’m the chaplain and all I do is wander round the hospital saying hello to people and seeing how they’re doing.”. That is my normal opening gambit as I see a patient, when doing a general ward visit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn. But of course, like for all ministry, wandering and saying hello is not the only thing that I do in a busy 490 bed acute trust Hospital in the middle of one of the worst winter crisis’ in the history of the NHS. This morning for example, I prayed with a member of staff who is worried about his future. I listened to a cancer patient going through her fourth lot of chemo, talking about her loss of hair. I administered communion to a patient and was humbled by the fact that in her prayers of intercession she prayed for the lady opposite who was very agitated, very confused and very vocal. I reorganised our prayer board in the chapel, where patients, relatives and staff can leave written prayers. I noted that an alcoholic homeless patient whom I know has come back in and made a mental note to refer him to our AA volunteer and as I am writing this it is Friday prayers and I must speak to my Muslim colleagues to ask for a representative to help with the 70th Anniversary service of the NHS that we are attempting to organise. Clearly saying hello and seeing how people are doing is just one aspect of life as a chaplain in a busy hospital.
This is my first winter working in the NHS, having previously spent ten years in ministry looking after churches. And it is busy. But through it all I am reminded that the people whom hospital chaplains serve are all individuals, all with separate needs, all loved and adored by God and created in his perfect image.