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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

As I revelled in the autumn brightness, it struck me that I could not look directly at the light, but I could enjoy it shining through trees and plants. Even damaged and faded petals were radiant with borrowed light. Our significance too comes not from perfection of form or function, but from God’s light shining through us. It’s often through others that God enlightens us.

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It was through the other chaplains as well as through the individual quiet time that God reminded me who he is and who I am. Lectio Divina clearly led in a group is richer than reading alone: each person heard something different, and the structure helped us focus. It helped me stay with Jesus’ words and listen more. There was enough space for everybody, without right or wrong answers. Later, we had a group conversation about things currently on our minds about our chaplaincy. We had a chance to listen to each other, to be heard and accepted, and to think together. That is important: it’s one of the ways I can experience being known and loved by God.

As a shopping centre chaplain who dislikes shopping and feels ill at ease with the whole retail culture, the difficulty I mentioned was the dissonance between retail values and the values Jesus teaches. There’s a conflict in me when the people I’m supporting depend for their livelihood on shopping behaviours I consider destructive. It feels dishonest to ‘be there for them’, while really wishing for changes that would put them out of a job. Looking at this on my own, I often think I should abandon my role. Looking at it together, I could see it as part of our fallen world. It’s a tension to be suffered rather than to be dismissed or solved, but it can be managed by something others drew out of our opening Lectio Divina (Matthew 11:25-30): we don’t wait until afterwards to hand our burdens to Jesus, but are walking into our workplace yoked together with him. Jesus went about among many who did not share the values of his kingdom. He went and found them where they were, and loved them. That’s what he still does, and sometimes it’s my body he uses to get there. I still don’t find this easy. After all, Jesus did not simply accept people’s values! Often I too want to challenge prevailing views, but instead of fretting about how to do that myself, I need to practise listening to God as well as to people.

Too often I slip into thinking of chaplaincy as a job on my ‘to do’ list. I came home from the quiet day knowing that I am a chaplain. That is different. It’s not about what I do, or whether I ‘look the part’: It’s about being loved by Jesus as I walk with him among other people he loves. Whether anyone catches a glimpse of his light shining through me is up to Jesus.