Chaplaincy on a building site

Chaplaincy often comes about through good networking links and developing contacts with local businesses. It was via these type of links that Swindon had for some time a chaplaincy presence on one of the new building sites that were springing up in the area. Over the period, the chaplain built up good relationships with both the developers and workers alike, to the point of a real recognition of its value. The chaplain was seen as a trusted friend to all.

Many amusing incidents and conversations occurred over the time, and other times not so amusing but of very real life issues that affect all of us. There was one which was especially memorable. The chaplain was followed by a dumper truck for some 200 yards until the driver finally plucked up the cour-age to stop alongside the chaplain. What the driver asked for was prayer for his brother who was dying in the local hospice. It later transpired that the driver did not expect the chaplain to pray for his brother there and then, but was so grateful that they did. Though his brother died that evening, the prayer gave the family so much peace. The holy place that the driver thought was only in a church was found for him there on the building site.

Alongside the personal events through the chaplain’s connection, opportuni-ties were made possible far beyond the life of the building site itself. The local churches had a vision for a church presence in the way of a Portacabin to be placed on the site from the moment the people took up residence in the houses. Nevertheless, they were making no progress with this venture with anyone who could give permission or land. This changed dramatically

however, when the chaplain’s hard worked connections came into play. Through being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right

people, the chaplain asked the right questions in the most influential places. Through prescient work and having a good reputation, the vision of the churches was possible. Very quickly negotiations took place and the

Portacabin, with a minister, was located on the site.