Called to Chaplaincy - but what next?

Jack Palmer-White

March 25, 2024

In recent months I have felt nudged towards, and have been exploring, how to bring my faith to bear more intentionally in other parts of my life. As a Christian working in a role where the people I work with on a day to day basis are also Christian, the workplace hasn’t felt like the place for me to do this. So I’ve had to cast the net a little wider to find those opportunities. 

As a grassroots football coach over the past two years and a longtime believer in the power of sport as a place of meeting, learning and development, I’ve become increasingly interested in whether and how I could bring a more intentionally pastoral approach to my role as a coach, and so I began to wonder if this is where the nudge has been leading me to focus. 

I began to ask myself, how about training as a chaplain and becoming a sports chaplain for my football club. 

This interest in chaplaincy did not appear from nowhere. It has been developed and deepened by the privilege of helping to develop a programme of work around the church’s role in wellbeing for the ChurchWorks Commission, which includes significant ambition to support the scaling up of chaplaincy as a key means of supporting the health and wellbeing of the communities served by the church. 

But where to start and how to go about the process of training for this kind of role? I passionately believe in the importance and growing need for lay ministry within the church. As someone who wishes to step into opportunities for more pastoral leadership but does not feel called to ordination, I wasn’t immediately clear on what route I could take to begin this journey. 

As someone in full time employment in a job they love and with a young family, the idea of full-time training simply didn’t appeal. 

So when I heard about the new online Certificate in Contemporary Chaplaincy run by Waverley Abbey College, I felt like I might have just found the ideal way to respond to that prompting I had felt. Conversations with the staff at the College, reflection on the opportunity and an application process that helped me articulate the ‘why?’ in all of this led me to the happy point of being accepted onto the course, which I begin in earnest this month. 

Whilst there are online cohorts that meet for weekly lectures, I have chosen the self-paced option. This works for me and a rhythm of life that made a more rigid weekly time commitment a less attractive option. 

I hope to complete the course in the next year and with a placement running alongside the teaching component of the course, I am excited to learn more about being a chaplain in both theory and practice. 

I will be sharing my reflections on the training process in the coming months and I hope that it will help others who may be feeling a similar nudge towards a new way of living out their faith to consider whether chaplaincy, and the training route offered by Waverley Abbey College, might be the right opportunity for them. 

No items found.
No items found.
No items found.