For many years since the coming of the Railway, there has been a long honourable tradition of Industrial Mission being carried out in Swindon. This work has proved invaluable to all who have worked in Swindon both in the past and the present. People have grateful memories of it and still speak of the chaplains who have held related posts over the years. The current core team of chaplains was gathered by Angela eleven years ago when working for ISR (Churches Council for Industry and Social Responsibility). However, when ISR closed at the end of January 2014, we wanted this valuable work to continue.
With the help of a supportive financial person, Swindon Commercial Chaplaincy (SCC) was incorporated as a Community Interest Company on 18 February 2014. Eighteen months later, on the advice of Voluntary Action Swindon, we are looking to convert to a charity. Back to the beginning, we had a launch party at our local Jury’s Inn attended by the Moderator of the Industrial Mission Association, Swindon’s Mayor, and other notable Swindon people. A film of our work was made by Mr Javier Wise. This was shown at the launch party and is now available on our website or YouTube. SCC has gone from strength to strength. We have an active management committee and some administrators who help with our ‘Friends of SCC’ fundraising scheme and social media. The chaplaincy service is given free of charge. The number of chaplains currently serving fluctuates due to changes in the chaplains’ lives, but seems to remain at about fifteen to seventeen. The chaplains visit their allotted area week by week, befriending the staff. There have been many stories over the years of how the chaplaincy has helped people. We have shared in the following in peoples’ lives: bereavement, of relatives and work colleagues, suicide of loved ones, prison (the chaplain kept writing to the person whilst in prison), debt, serious illness, unwanted pregnancies, wanted pregnancies, the joy of buying their first flat, the list goes on… When we (Angela and Marion) had the vision for the continuation of the chaplaincy, we really felt that we were taking a leap of faith and wondering where God was going to lead us in this project. There are times when we still wonder, but through this journey God has proved very faithful and just. We have felt the inspiration of God’s blessings in surprising ways on all our activities, not least financially. We continue to venture in faith and trust, which is a very scary place to be. However, perhaps it is a reflection of the work of chaplaincy itself as each chaplain steps into the unknown at every visit they make, yet always they are greeted by the love of God.
Do you have any chaplaincy stories that you would like to share on this website send them to firstname.lastname@example.org