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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 12th June 2019


David Slater, Lead Chaplain to the Port of Dover and Chaplain at Eurotunnel

By the time you read this I will (hopefully) be on holiday (and the rest of the Dover team will be saying “What, another holiday”). I’m going to be at the Spring Harvest Holidays campsite at La Pas Opton in the Vendee region of France and while the weather, food and drink will hopefully be very pleasant. There will also be teaching, worship and time to relax and reflect.

Time off is important. Jesus regularly took himself off to quiet places to pray, although there are very few biblical examples of the disciples being good at it – even in the Garden of Gethsemane they fell asleep.

I have a number of chaplaincies as well as a number of charity trusteeships. After a career in the airline industry where 365/24/7 is the norm, taking “time off” does not come naturally to me, but it is very important. Not just in avoiding burn out, but in listening to God fine tuning (or even redirecting) one’s ministry. If we are not at peace in ourselves it is hard as chaplains to convey Jesus’ love and peace to others.

Sabbath rest is important [that has been realised since the time of Moses] and should be little and often. Every 7th day may not be possible for many of our shift-working colleagues, or for you, but ideally they and you will get at least 4 or 5 days off every month. Taking 42 of the year’s ration of 52 ‘Sabbaths’ in 6 weeks of holiday is stretching things but at least it means I can rest, read and reflect without the risk of the phone going. The Christian setting of La Pas Opton [with no wifi over most of the site] gives an opportunity to reflect, to catch up with God, and my wife, and to chat to other Christians from other places and backgrounds. It recharges the spirit.

Clergy sometimes take 3 month “sabbaticals”. That is not necessarily a good title as they have to convince their church that they are going to do something, often studying. Whilst none of us should be indispensable - there should be back up plans for our absence – a gap of 12 weeks can dump things on colleagues – adding to their stress levels and the risk of burn out.

As we approach the summer make sure you plan some time off, to reflect and relax. That is especially important if your area of ministry is linked to the tourist or travel trades where workloads are highest in school holidays.

Of course, if you want, you can always join the Burnout Club – details below…..


Membership of the Burnout Club

* Always be a perfectionist
* Work at least 10 hours a day & on days off whenever you can
* Stick to a diet of fast food
* Adhere to inflexible idealism
* Assume responsibility for everyone's problems
* Never delegate
* Never say ‘NO’
* Never waste time relaxing
* Remember everyone else comes first
* Above all get emotionally involved with everything you do!