I just got back from three days of meetings with the
Atlantic area chaplains. These are chaplains in the federal correctional institutions
and those of us in community chaplaincy ministry. It was a tremendous time of
being with people with a real passion for people. Though I feel like I have to
enter “abbreviation detox” it was a grand time!
Some readers may not understand what community chaplaincy is
or what our little corner in Saint John does, in particular. Community
Chaplaincy has a mandate to help people who have offended community standards
become good and accepted neighbours. At Saint John Community Chaplaincy we
believe that this is only effectively done through a ‘heart change’. Jesus is
central to our mission.
At Saint John Community Chaplaincy we believe that it is not
enough to share the Gospel with the cold and hungry so each week day we feed
(on next to no budget) 70 – 100 people. We also provide a safe and warm hang
out for people 8 – 4 each week day. As we get involved in people’s lives the
relationship can lead us to helping in advocacy of all types. Each day before
lunch we share in a devotional and I hope community building time.
Much of the above happens quite happily without my
supervision so I am planning to become more and more involved at the half-way
houses, courts, prisons, and in adding additional programs and resources. Some
of these I will lead like Over Comers and Seminary of the Street, and others I
will enlist others. Next February we will be starting a Christ Centred 12 step
program led by an Anglican minister with many years of sobriety and experience
under his belt.
I also will continue my efforts in visiting local churches
to speak about “Moving Missional” with lots of illustrations from both Up Town
and community chaplaincy. I am a firm believer that we need the local church
and that the local church needs us.
I am concerned about aspects of the Omnibus Crime Bill
working its way through Parliament. I pray that the local church does not ‘buy
into’ this seemingly retributive idea of
justice, but instead would search the Scriptures for biblical principles of
justice and restoration.
I am starting to see more folks express interest in Up Town.
I tell people about it when they ask but I want to work with local churches in
finding spiritual homes for those on the margins.
My computer crashed and I have lost my contacts list. If you
would like to be on that list email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will add you.