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

Wednesday 14th August 2019

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John Hougham, Chaplain at Bluewater and KWM Vice-Chair

The presence of God, the presence of Jesus, is forever touching our lives, often in the most unexpected ways. We may not always immediately recognise it. It may be in something as simple as a telephone call, a chance meeting with a friend, a conversation with a child or a parent. In all the ordinary, mundane parts of our daily lives we may suddenly feel touched by God’s presence. Let me share with you just one, personal, example.

Some years ago, when my wife was very ill and in a London hospital, visiting her meant that I found myself using the train to Charing Cross every day. This usually meant travelling in rush hour, in very overcrowded carriages. And, of course, being British, it didn’t matter how packed together we were, we sat in our little personal cocoons, jealously guarding our own personal space and trying to have as little to do with everybody else on the train as possible.

Well, one day during that particularly difficult period of my life, something happened which was quite out of the ordinary. I was feeling particularly low. My wife appeared to have suffered a post-operative infection, we hadn’t yet had the surgeon’s opinion, and I had spent most of the previous night imagining the worst. I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of lying awake in the small hours, brooding upon a problem. Everything in the darkness seems at its worst, and your imagination runs riot. So, there I was, on the train, having had not too good night, and anticipating some not very good news.

The train filled up quite quickly and it wasn’t long before one of the very few seats left was next to me. A young woman came and sat beside me and as she did so, turned to me and said with a bright smile, “good morning”. It was utterly unexpected. I smiled back in my turn and said, “good morning, how very nice to be spoken to.” Her reply was equally unexpected. She said, “Life is a wonderful gift; we should make the most of it while we can.” That was the sum total of the conversation which passed between us, but it had the effect of lifting me completely out of my gloom. In fact, I probably had a smile on my face for the rest of that journey. When I got to the hospital, I found that all my worries of the night before had been misplaced and three days later my wife was home again.

I believe that we, sitting together in that crowded train, had truly been touched by Christ’s presence in the most unexpected and unlikely way. This was more than fifteen years ago now, but I still clearly remember that young woman and her cheery “good morning.”

Jesus urges us to live with the positive expectation that he will be coming into our lives, often when we least expect it and in ways which may take us completely by surprise. As Chaplains we must always be alive to the fact the simplest word, the smallest action, can so often have consequences well beyond anything we might imagine.