Basingstoke Town Chaplaincy
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Basingstoke Town Chaplaincy News September 21
Thank you for your interest in, and support of, the Town Chaplaincy. We value your prayers and believe that God does answer them and lead us to people. Please pray for the contacts we make as Chaplains continue in their varied roles in the town. There is a much openness from people to sharing news and converse with a chaplain.
At the Magistrates' Court we have adjusted our days of attendance to reflect the changes in the system. We have had useful conversations with some attendees while we continue to support staff, probation officers and solicitors. Peter is now visiting the Police Investigation Centre and has even registered his dog as a care-dog. (It’s amazing the difference having a dog makes as a focal point for starting conversations!)
Chaplains are a more frequent presence around the railway station area and meet with station staff and those in concessions as well as taxi drivers. We await a formal agreement to spend time on the platforms.
While we continue to spend more time meeting people in the streets we have also returned to visiting shops. Please pray for people in the town who are seeking God and those who struggle for one reason or another. Where we meet them we seek to give support but we also want to refer people to a church or church programmes that can be of greater assistance. Do let us know details of any outreach programme and contact so that, when appropriate, we can refer someone to your church.
We will have a presence at the inter-faith peace walk on 12 September and also at the Mayor’s civic service at St. Michael’s on 26 September. These are good opportunities to engage with others and increase awareness of our ministry.
We have received a donation from The Rotary Club to cover the cost of some additional uniform items for which we are very grateful. We can trust God for our needs but our finances have suffered over the past few months and we do need to cover essential costs. We also want to provide additional resources, such as Christian Christmas cards, for the Chaplains to use at Christmas, so if you can help even in a small way, it would be appreciated.
Chair of Trustees
Basingstoke Town Chaplaincy Newsletter February 2021
Several members of St Mary's serve as Chaplains in our town but currently are not able to go out into the community due to the current pandemic restrictions.
The recent One Church service was inspiring and it was especially good to see the number of Christian organisations associated with the collected churches in Basingstoke. We are called to work together and support one another in prayer and action as we share in God’s mission.
You have probably seen that all Debenhams stores will close after the company is sold to Boohoo. It is not known what Boohoo will do but their focus may well be on-line shopping.
Moments of optimism that we will soon get back to some form of normality keep being dashed. The inoculations are being given but there is still some way to go and the impact is still to be assessed. Will they restrict transmission, how long will the protection last?
I don’t know about you but I am getting increasingly frustrated with the fears of infection, delays and the unfulfilled raising of hopes. Symptoms raise questions about what infection there may be and there is stress associated with that. (My wife tested negative for Covid-19 yesterday.) And I see the damage that is being done to people who are isolated from their loved ones. Reading the Exodus story in the Bible can gloss over many of the time lags. The Hebrews were suffering and life was becoming harder well before Moses was born. He was at least the third child born to a couple and he disappeared for a number of years, only returning to lead the people to the Promised Land after 80 years more hard labour had passed.
We need time to learn and, like everyone else, patience to endure the situation. But more, we are privileged to be part of God’s plan which will be completed in His time. The Holy Spirit shows us our part but we may not see the impact we have made as the plan is fulfilled. We can show patience, trusting in God’s guidance and goodness. And we can pray - for patience, and for God’s will to be done during this time.
Chair of Trustees
A prayer for all those affected by coronavirus
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy.
Sustain and support the anxious,
be with those who care for the sick,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may find comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love. In Christ Jesus our Lord.
We have now heard of many people who have now contracted the virus, so let us pray for their healing.
Pray for those who have lost loved ones to the disease.
Ask God's blessing on all who care for the sick, especially paramedics, doctors and nurses in contact with patients and other medical staff, all of whom are hard pressed now.
Pray for the Town:
Shop workers are facing an increase in job losses in the town centre. Paperchase is the latest shop going into administration and Debenhams will not reopen. People are under greater pressures at home, financially and mentally. Those we have spoken to are also very worried about becoming ill and of dying; we have the good news to help them!
Others who face different challenges are those working at the GP surgery and in schools. Pray for those tasked with helping to keep us safe, including the police and rangers.
Remember the other activities of One Church and the other Chaplaincies in the region - at the hospitals and at Winchester and Dorchester.
Pray for the Chaplaincy:
Give thanks that Eric ran a Suicide Awareness course several times that Chaplains and others from different churches and organisations found very helpful.
That Libby's work in our office keeping in contact with people and maintaining the clerical work will continue smoothly.
For talks with the Rail Community Officer Team to arrange for Chaplains to be Platform Pastors. Pray that discussions will go well and speedily and that we will have Chaplains to train and work at the station.
Give thanks to God that He continues to provide for our needs. Financially we are just covering our costs but we do need more Christians to volunteer to become Chaplains, especially as we look to train and start Platform Pastors.
Thank God that we have trained one new Chaplain and are interviewing a recruit, even though current circumstances are difficult.
Pray for wisdom as we look to engage with people in new ways while the pandemic continues.
Suite 1, Paddington House, Festival Place, Basingstoke, RG21 7LJ 01256 842232
Newsletter November/December 2020
Newsletter August 2020Message from the Trustees
With the arrival of Covid-19 we have all had to make a lot of adjustments in many aspects of our lives. For many people it has been difficult - wanting to go about our normal business, but being unable to meet with friends or relatives, or just feeling weary stuck at home. St Paul tells us to be content in all situations, but that did not stop him pushing at boundaries. Rather, he knew he was doing God's will, and that God was in control of His creation in general, and Paul's own mission in particular.
Since the lifting of some restrictions, several Chaplains have felt called, and able, to provide a service in the streets of the town. So, we teamed up with Street Pastors, and for the past several weeks pairs of Chaplains have been walking about and meeting people. They have done what we are all learning to do - keep our distance whilst meeting others and being sociable. And the responses have been positive, with much general conversation, but also deeper encounters with a few people who are lonely or anxious and have issues they want to talk about. Often all that is needed is to listen, perhaps provide practical information, or offer to pray. Some ask for prayer directly or happily take a leaflet. In this way, God brings a Christian presence into their lives.
Those working in the town have the challenges that all we face, along with other specific ones that are real now, or looming in the near future. Shop workers are on low wages and many shops are struggling for customers. Staff are expected to cover more aspects of running the shop and there is the possibility of closure due to lack of profitability. We are ready to listen to people with these concerns and perhaps point them to where they can find help.
At the Chaplaincy we are making the necessary adjustments in order to remain supportive of people. And we could not do that without the valuable support we receive from individuals and churches. We thank God for all of your help; whether by the prayer or financial support that you contribute to God's mission through the Chaplaincy. Thank you!
We have had some necessary extra expenses lately, so we would welcome any additional financial support you can offer us. Some of the churches which usually donate to the Chaplaincy are struggling financially themselves, so we are praying for new supporters to provide sufficient funds for us to operate.
Sharing what we do
We would very much like to share what we are doing with church members, and we can provide a speaker for any meeting. You are also invited to come and see what we do. The Chaplains walk around for an hour or so in pairs, and you are very welcome to join them. There would be no need to contribute anything to conversations unless you wanted to, and you would always be guided by the Chaplain. There is also no commitment - just come along and see what happens, so you can pray with knowledge of what actually goes on.
Chaplains and Trustees meet regularly on line to support one another and pray. We have set out a new prayer diary to reflect the current situation, and we hope you will continue to support us in prayer as well.
|Day 1||Pray for the Chaplains who will be out and about, that God will lead them to people and inspire them with the right words to say.|
|Day 2||Pray for the traders in the market and those working in the Top of the Town. Many shops are small businesses and need the trade to keep going. Also pray for people who linger in that area and those who help provide a safe environment.|
|Day 3||Pray for people in those places we are unable to visit at present: BCoT, and Age Concern. Each has many challenges to face and difficult decisions to make about operating safely.|
|Day 4||Pray for those involved in making the Chaplaincy happen – Libby our administrator, the Trustees, and all the links we have with Festival Place and other organisations. For vision to provide the right service in changing circumstances. Thank God for all who support this ministry in prayer and giving.|
|Day 5||Pray for those working in the town centre shops, Discovery Centre and offices.|
|Day 6||Pray for bus and taxi drivers, those providing cleaning and safety services, charity advice and support workers. Also, that arrangements for Platform Pastors might be completed.|
|Day 7||Pray that we will be a blessing to others and that people will be drawn to the God who cares for them and wants a relationship with them.|