What is a Chaplain? Essentially a Chaplain is someone (clergy or lay person) who is the religious representative attached to an institution like: Prisons, Hospitals, Armed forces, University, Emergency Services, School or business. So what is a Community Chaplain then?
A Chaplain that works in the community.
Wise guy hey?! Alright then so what does a Community Chaplain do?
It can vary of course but we make ourselves available for one-on-one chats, often they centre on the tough questions and messy situations in a person’s life.
Our Chaplain/s have a focus as well on Anti-Recidivism (that is helping clients stay out of gaol).
Facilitating life skills courses (for both men and women), provides a block of time for client and chaplain to better get to know each other (in a group setting), often resulting in deeper issues being raised and worked through (after the group session).
Whilst typically chaplains are not trained counsellors, life experience and training in Pastoral Care can often help out many clients, others are referred on to Counsellors, Psychologists and Psychiatrists (e.g. Anglicare, Break the Cycle and others service providers).
Referrals to other services like Emergency Relief, Men’s Shed, Community Pantry, Mental Health nurse, Financial counselling, Gambling counselling, and government agencies (including Parole, Drug Court, Legal Aid and Centrelink) and-the-like are common.
Practical help is sometimes provided where time and resources allow.
“God conversations” are encouraged but never forced. As Christian chaplains we are always keen to share the good news of Jesus, His birth, death and resurrection. News that brings complete forgiveness of sins, that makes us right with God, through Jesus alone (not through our puny efforts).
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 TNIV
Come clients when asked “You’ve been doing life your way so far. How’s that working out for you?” come to the conclusion that “it’s has not worked out!”
When someone then chooses to try the way of the maker, they will take the courageous step to check out the God stuff by taking up one of the many invites they would have been receiving along the way.
That person is encouraged to attend a local bible based Evangelical church that is known to the Chaplain – often the same one he or she attends or runs, as people are usually the bridge into a church fellowship.