The challenges for our chaplains
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25:35-36
The role of a chaplain provides the opportunity to display God’s unconditional love and compassion to people, often when they find themselves in a context they’d never have expected.
Paul Tyler recently began work as the Chaplain at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), and feels privileged to be able to
listen to people’s stories and walk with them and their families through the experience of being in an acute hospital setting.
‘We often find ourselves ministering to many marginalised people within the setting of the RAH. (We have) an opportunity to connect with people of all faith and cultural backgrounds and it uniquely places us at the heart of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus to all people, whatever their background and story.’
Richard Hawke, chaplain at the Adelaide Remand Centre (Correctional Facility), runs the Breaking Free program in partnership with Baptist Care SA and Baptist Churches of South Australia.
Breaking Free is a post-release mentoring program that supports Christian ex-offenders to transition back into their community. The need for post-release support is immense, and Richard is hopeful that in his role he will be able to build wider networks of support including access to housing, employment opportunities and links to more churches and mentors.
Chaplains work on the front lines. They meet people where they’re at in life. Whether chatting to a patient struggling with bad health news, or building a relationship with a convicted offender serving time in prison, it can be a tough gig.
But as Richard noted, ‘I can often share the great hope of the gospel to these men who so often have no hope. That is my real joy and privilege as a chaplain. To see the power of Jesus transforming their lives, giving them a fresh start for the future.
Join in prayer
For Paul Tyler
Pray for the connections that Paul and the team are making, as they are short-term in nature, and there are many ongoing
demands involved with connecting with a large number of new people daily.
Pray for renewed energy as much of the ministry at the RAH is emotionally and spiritually demanding.
For Richard Hawke
Pray for open doors in the Remand Centre, and continued dependence on God as Richard moves around the centre, to know the ones God is preparing, whether inmates or staff.
Pray for the Breaking Free program, and discernment in introducing ex-offenders to churches.
For all chaplains
Pray for wisdom for all chaplains in finding ways to attend to the emotional and spiritual demands of this vital ministry.
Chaplains are challenged to trust God and be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Pray that they will remain focused on the heart of the ministry in proclaiming the gospel.
If you’d like to get involved in pastoral visiting at the RAH, please contact Ruth at firstname.lastname@example.org.