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Usual office Hours
Monday: 10.00 - 13.00
Tuesday: 14.00 - 17.00
Wednesday: 10.00 - 16.30
Thursday: 10.00 - 16.00
Friday: Closed

Registered Office:
Kent Workplace Mission,
c/o Larkfield Methodist Church,
New Hythe Lane, Larkfield, Aylesford, Kent,
ME20 6PN

A Thought from a Chaplain

A series of thoughts and reflections from the Chaplains and Trustees of KWM

Thursday 13th September 2018

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From John Hougham, Bluewater Chaplain and KWM Trustee

Some little time ago there was a series of advertisements on television on the theme, “who would you like to have a one-to-one with?” I think it was for British Telecom. For me this would be a no contest; St Paul would be very much at the top of my list. I have long been fascinated by St Paul and it is a fascination which has grown over the years as my experience of working with people in difficult and complex relationships has grown and I have turned to him for inspiration on many occasions when the going has got particularly tough. I have turned again and again to the accounts of his dealings with the scattered churches under his care and the problems they caused him, nowhere more so than in Corinth, where substantial divisions and disagreements had grown up between people who ultimately subscribed to the same religious belief. It was a church divided by personal loyalties and strained to breaking point by internal tensions. There was a lot of arrogance around and factions fought for their own point of view to prevail. Rational discussion of differences had given way to slanging matches and confrontation was the order of the day. I spent most of my working life in the fields of personnel management and dispute resolution, in the motor industry and later with ACAS, and I was very taken with the fact that Paul found himself time after time dealing with issues created by the same kind of situations and behaviour which were responsible for many of the problems which I had to handle.

There truly is little new in human behaviour and the problems that arise in personal relationships. For whatever reason people do not get on with each other and common interest, mutual respect, understanding and trust go out of the window.

As chaplains we are in a privileged position in the areas within which we work, to provide an objective, confidential listening ear to people who open themselves out to us on a whole range of issues, some intensely personal, others related to problems at work. We are also in a position to act as a trusted conduit between management and employees. At the present time, and nowhere more so than in the retail trade, financial pressures on companies, sometimes fighting for their very survival, are the source of considerable stress on employees. In a book entitled “Called to Account”, Richard Higginson says, “At its best a company is not far removed from Paul’s vision of the church as a body, with every member playing his or her part and love giving ballast and movement to the whole.”

I will not go so far as to say that I regard Paul’s writings as a kind of “How to do it” manual but his experiences and the actions he took to deal with them are still relevant and I find myself turning to them again and again for comfort and inspiration.

John Hougham, Bluewater Chaplain

john.hougham@kentworkplacemission.org