Basingstoke Town Chaplaincy – Amazingstoke Town Chaplaincy!
After a year of Zoom it was great to be able to meet some of the Basingstoke Town Chaplains face
to face in November. Like other town and city centre chaplaincies they were affected by the
lockdown but they were determined to get back on the streets of the town centre as soon as they
could safely do so. They are acutely aware that the whole pandemic experience has been very
stressful and painful for many people and the chaplains were keen to get out there, in their
distinctive green jackets with CHAPLAIN written on the back in a bold yellow.
I really enjoyed the chance to meet with some of the chaplains before they went on their rounds and
to talk about their experience of life after lockdown and their real desire to extend their presence to
more areas of the town and working life. The current team is around 20 people and their “beats”
include local shops and market stalls, offices, the Magistrates Court, surgeries, colleges and bus
stations – wherever they feel that God is.
I was pleased to be asked to join their mid-week prayer session before they went out on duty – for
those of us old enough to remember the tv programme ‘Hill Street Blues’ it felt like the roll call
meeting before the cops were sent out into the world by the sergeant who always said “Be careful
The difference for these chaplains is that they trust in God to be with them and guide
them as they go out to be along people and show by being there the love of God in action.
The chaplains are all volunteers coming from a number of local churches, and like many voluntary
organisations whilst the harvest certainly is plentiful the workers are few so they are keen to recruit
other chaplains and to extend to other workplaces. But in the meantime they carry on doing what
they do best, being alongside, providing a listening ear, full of the Holy Spirit.
On my way home I walked through the market place which has lots of delicious food stalls and I
spotted two of the chaplains I had met earlier talking, with a stall owner. Not getting in the way of
the business, just checking in and letting the him know they cared.
Chaplaincy in action.
If you want to know more about Basingstoke Town Chaplaincy go to their website