Happy Fifth Anniversary to Dorchester Chaplaincy!
In 2016 the first 6 volunteer chaplains were commissioned to go out in the town to visit shops and businesses to offer regular visits and friendly support. We could not have imagined that 5 years later our numbers would grow to 16 and that we would be visiting over 180 town centre shops and businesses as well as the library and Town Council offices.
The chaplains are mainly drawn from the town centre churches: St Peter’s, the United Church and Holy Trinity, and all have been trained to listen, engage and support those they visit. Initial contacts were made and leaflets offered, explaining that chaplaincy is a supportive ministry and conversations are led by the person being visited, not by the chaplains. We have taken opportunities to deliver cards at Christmas and Easter and one year we took small posies of daffodils at Easter.
The retail sector has had a difficult time, even before the pandemic, as shopping patterns shifted to increasing on-line purchases. Businesses which have adapted to this new reality have survived and thrived, as well as those offering specialist services - and one commodity only to be bought directly is coffee!
During the pandemic the chaplains visited essential shops which remained open and other businesses were contacted by phone and email. It was good to return to shops as they re-opened and conversations were mainly about viability and tentative hopes for the future.
It has been a privilege to serve as chaplains these last 5 years, and good to celebrate the ministry at a special short service with the Mayor, Cllr Gareth Jones, and to look forward to the future, whatever it may hold.