Vacancy for part-time volunteer Chaplain's Assistant at HMP Send
Have you ever been challenged to find God in the unfamiliar? Have you ever considered prison ministry?
Being the Free Church Chaplain's assistant for the last 6 years and helping on courses for 2 years before that has been an enormous privilege and a great blessing to me. The ladies themselves, in all their diversity, are open, genuine and pragmatic in a way that is both humbling and inspirational. To share faith and worship with them is uplifting in a way that is rarely found in churches "outside". One of the privileges of chaplaincy is being asked to pray with someone. A particular form of prayer, introduced by St Ignatias, has enabled the most un-churched ladies to meet Christ, and even to follow him. This has now been developed by the Free Church Chaplain as "Taketime" (www.taketime.org.uk).
HMP Send is a lady's training prison with around 260 residents. The multi-faith chaplaincy is co-ordinated by the Anglican Chaplain, Rev Lesley Mason. There are part-time chaplains for all the mainstream faiths and Christian denominations. The Chaplaincy has won several awards thanks to the leadership of Rev Lesley Mason. The Free Church Chaplain is a Methodist minister, Rev Clive McKie. His duties are Thursdays 12-8pm and one Sunday service/month. His assistant supports his pastoral work, and is involved with courses and evening activities on Thursdays.
The post is voluntary and one is a member of a team of around 20 Christians from a variety of denominations. Most belong to the Prison Fellowship which provides material and training for the Restorative Justice course. There is a local Prison Fellowship monthly prayer meeting organised by Pauline Mitchell (firstname.lastname@example.org; 01483 576922, 07428509974). This is a good way to meet the team. Being a part of this group of volunteers is one of the delights of being involved at the Chaplaincy at Send.
If you are thinking of volunteering in this way and would like to know more contact Clive: email@example.com; myself: firstname.lastname@example.org; or my predecessor Margaret Ireland: email@example.com. Kathryn Cutler (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a course organiser and happy to be contacted. Alternatively come to a Prison Fellowship Prayer meeting, or arrange to shadow Clive. You can come into the prison 4 times on basic security details. The post is available from September so there is plenty of time.
My introduction to Send was to "find God in the unfamiliar" and that has certainly been my experience. Everyone feels privileged and blessed to be part of the work.