Chaplaincy Newsletter (November 2020)

10 February 2021

New Chaplaincy Officerme-3

Let me introduce myself. I’m Gary Hopkins and I joined the Connexional Team at the beginning of September and part of my role is developing support for chaplaincy in the Methodist Church. It’s certainly been strange starting a new job during Covid-19 - not being able to meet physically with the people I work with or others involved in chaplaincy.

But it’s had its advantages. It seems most people are now pretty au fait with online meetings, so within the first couple of months I’ve been able to meet with many of the national chaplaincy organisations and with chaplains in different roles across the country. It has been a privilege to hear the stories of chaplains.

At a time where church institutions face feelings of decline, there is a clear sense that God’s Spirit is working in our communities and particularly through those involved in chaplaincy. I think particularly of those chaplains in care homes supporting older people isolated from family, ensuring they never feel alone or abandoned; the chaplain who had to cancel a meeting with me because he attended to a farmer in distress during the middle of the night; the chaplains in higher education supporting students who have arrived in a very different university world and find their first time away from home stressful and depressing; the chaplains in our schools who are supporting staff trying to hold it together as they face daily challenges; the healthcare chaplains who in most settings are one of the few people allowed into the building, meaning they are carrying the burdens of so many people who have seen illness and death at a level not witnessed before. The Church has not gone away; it is present in a world which is suffering and struggling, none more so than through those called into chaplaincy.

It is a privilege to have joined the Connexional Team and respond to a calling to support those in ministry, particularly chaplaincy. I hope that in this role, I will be able to help the wider church understand and recognise the ministry of those in chaplaincy; encourage others to explore a calling to chaplaincy in a range of possible settings; develop training opportunities to support those in chaplaincy and help chaplains feel supported and connected beyond their local setting.

I’ve teamed up with the Southern and Islands Region of the Learning Network to host a National Gathering for Chaplains, which is on 7th December, 7.00pm – 8.30pm. We hope this will provide an opportunity for chaplains to meet together to discuss the challenges faced and develop ideas together. I’m keen that we develop strong support networks in collaboration with other organisations. See below for more details.

If you have any insights into how chaplaincy might best be supported in my role working for the Connexional Team, then I’d love to hear from you. Details are below.

For those of you who might be interested in knowing a little about me, here’s a brief bio. I was born and bred in the Black Country – you’ll recognise the accent as a Midlands accent, but I’m most certainly not a Brummie, definitely a Yam Yam. I became a Christian at the age of 17 (my parents are atheists). I asked a friend to join him at church and he happened to go to a Methodist Church. Not long after, I began my journey as a Local Preacher and studied Theology at the University of Birmingham. I then started my vocation as a teacher, which led me to becoming a deputy headteacher in a primary school and then an assistant headteacher in a secondary school. During my time as deputy headteacher, I completed my MEd in Leadership and Management – which gave me a good insight into how organisations operate. I’ve penned a few hymns and you may recognise one of them which is in Singing the Faith (619: Thanks for friends who keep on loving).

National Gathering of Chaplains

Monday 7th December 2020

7:00 PM  - 8:30 PM

Click here to find out more and book your place

Chaplaincy Everywhere

We’re currently working on additional materials to support the Chaplaincy Everywhere course. I’ve been encouraged by the positive feedback about this course – we continue to have requests for certificates from churches and Circuits. We’re looking at providing additional materials to reflect the opportunities we have to use digital media, particularly supplementing the course with videos and encouraging further interactive opportunities. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve recently used the materials with any feedback you might have about the content of the course and what we might do to improve upon an already very good course.


You can get in touch with us at this email address