Newbury Town Chaplains

“Among you, with you, for you – a caring listening ear”
This is what we seek to be to the retail sector in our town.

Retail staff are under great pressure particularly in these difficult economic times. A new shopping mall was about to open opposite Newbury Methodist Church. My former life in retail and inspired by work of our deacon Shirley, elsewhere, the chaplaincy idea was born…

God was there – ahead of me. The district had the help of a connexional chaplaincy officer, Jonathan, who set up meetings and gave support. Initially we approached our existing shopping centre, and despite previous reservations, the manager welcomed us on a “trial basis”.

“Christian Together in Newbury” gave support. A small ecumenical team received training. The mayor cut the cake at the public launch on 17th November 2011.

Now pairs of chaplains walk round the market and Kennet Centre every Thursday, offering a smile and encouragement. Retailers are now starting to trust and share in conversations with us – occasionally the subject of Jesus has arisen!!!

The new shopping area has now opened. Late afternoon chaplaincy has been welcomed there.

My vision is for Town Chaplains – in their distinctive gilets – visiting all parts of the retail section in Newbury on a weekly basis.

Maree Farrimond
Town chaplain