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Welcome to our December 2021 newsletter.

Our final Connect and Chat call of 2021 for Chaplains and volunteer counsellors will be on Tuesday 7th December at 7pm (link below).

Our Prayer Diary can be found on our website here.


In this months newsletter:

FOR WORKPLACE CHAPLAINS:

Unconditional Support

By Revd. Michael Page CWC
 
A few days ago I was involved, on behalf of a charity where I am a trustee, in a conversation with another charity. The conversation was about looking at ways of working together in order to operate more efficiently for the benefit of those we all want to help. The sticking point was around the fact that the charity I represented has a faith basis whilst the other one is strongly secular.

We went back and forth for some time trying to understand where each side was finding difficulty until it dawned on me that our friends were concerned that our faith basis meant that our goal was getting others to adopt our way of believing, whereas we saw our faith basis as simply being the reason why we wanted to offer help. Once we were able to reassure them on that point, and by changing a couple of words in a draft statement of intent, we rapidly made progress.

When I was working as a prison chaplain I would occasionally be rebuffed with something along the lines of: “I’m not interested in religion” (although the words were not usually as mild as that!). I would then explain that my role was mainly about making sure that a person was OK and that they knew how to make contact with family or gain access to healthcare or were not retreating into themselves or any of the host of challenges that somebody serving a prison sentence might face during their time inside.

Even though I didn’t wear a clerical collar or any of the other external signs of the clergy, it was the very name ‘chaplain’ that created a barrier towards understanding the kind of support I might be able to offer.

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare wrote “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And the question I have been asking myself is whether ‘chaplain’ is a helpful title to give to the people who carry out the broad sweep of supportive work that we know chaplains are often engaged in?

Over recent years I have heard of a number of organisations in the public sector and the business world that have dismissed or rejected support or services from any group that seems to have a faith dimension at its heart. What has happened to have caused those organisations to have such a negative response to any offers to help?

Whilst there may be all sorts of reasons for such a response, perhaps – just like the conversation I described – at the heart of the problem is the mismatch between perception and reality. We say: “We’re the church – or mosque or gudwara or temple – and we’d like to help.” They hear: “We’re the, whatever, and in exchange for some support we want you to adopt our beliefs.”

Somehow, we have to demonstrate that our support and help is unconditional. At the height of the pandemic, people of goodwill – of all faiths, and none – freely offered all sorts of help as a gift to their neighbours. And that help was gratefully received.

As a nation, we are in the middle of preparations for Christmas. The reality of Christmas can be very different from the way it might be presented in tv adverts or glossy magazines. For some, it’s an opportunity to meet with friends and family; for others, Christmas underlines their sense of loneliness. For some, it’s an excuse to indulge to excess, for others the empty cupboard has an even hollower echo.

For some, there will be gifts galore, for others there will be nothing,
For the Christian, the season of Advent has just started. It is also about preparing for Christmas. But this preparation is not about frantic buying and overindulging. Rather it is about expectant waiting. Waiting for a gift. We don’t know what the gift will truly look like nor how it will affect us. But it will be freely offered, with no strings attached.

As people of faith, and in our roles as chaplains, we have a part to play in sharing this gift – of a full and worthwhile life – with those around us, freely, unconditionally, with no expectation of any reward for doing so. There may be difficulties, people may misunderstand our motives. But let’s not be discouraged.

May this Christmas time present an opportunity to draw a challenging year to an end and space to anticipate what lies before you.
 
Revd. Michael Page, Trustee, CWC

CWC and Healthy Workplaces partner to offer Resilience events

CWC and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Workplace Service have come together to run an event on 9th December aimed at employees, managers and employers looking at how we develop resilience. The aim is then to run these regularly in the spring with different guest speakers.

Resilience is often talked about but how do we build it and how does it apply to the different areas of life?
 
In this informative webinar, different speakers will explore resilience and wellbeing, how it can be nurtured and how it can improve our mental health. On 9th December Revd Stuart Wood will join Jane Thompson to explain the role of workplace chaplains and Jane will explain the Workplace Wellbeing Hub as a resource for all.
 
  • Explore how wellbeing covers the ‘whole self’
  • How applying a resilient outlook can benefit different areas of our lives
  • Featuring guest speakers covering wellbeing, counselling, mental health awareness and money and pensions advice.

Book your place on the Healthy Workplaces website here and select the event, go to your basket and enter password Qwerty10 when asked for event password.
 

For the Soul


The Workplace Wellbeing Hub offers a range of resources. This month we look at the range of support via the Soul section of the hub.

Looking for spiritual inspiration?
Always wanted to find out more?


The organisations and links shown on the Workplace Wellbeing Hub will give you further details on a range of spirituality topics and different faiths and beliefs.
Here are two online resources that are spiritual in their outlook and have many inspirational and supportive resources:

On Being – Podcasts, articles, poetry and more

Gratefulness.org – daily questions, reflect on the gifts of your life, articles, videos and more

Whatever your need we have something for mind, body and soul.
www.workplacewellbeing.org.uk 

CWC has funded the website alongside a grant from Peterborough City Council and has also funded specific resources supplied by local mental health organisation, CPSL Mind.

The album Light For The World by The Poor Clares of Arundel was created to help people deal with the isolation that they may be experiencing due to COVID-19. Their wish is that the music ‘helps you to feel dipped in God’.

We feel this is a very special piece to share at this time of year, especially when the feelings of uncertainty are present.

Volunteers have better wellbeing than non-volunteers, new report finds
The Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) surveyed 2,500 UK adults in its Volunteering for a Healthier Britain report. It asked about the wellbeing, health, volunteering activity and social connectedness of people to understand whether it had been affected by the pandemic.

Mental health: Small businesses hit by staff wellbeing issues
Increasing pressure and bigger workloads is causing stress and wellbeing issues among employees in the UK’s small businesses, with London having a particularly acute problem.
Almost half (49%) of small businesses have reported issues with their staff’s health and wellbeing during the past year, according to a survey conducted amongst SMEs by Lloyds Bank (LLOY.L) Business.


Ground-breaking new book aims to improve patient care by widening awareness of spirituality
Improving patient care by widening awareness of spirituality for health and social care clinicians is at the heart of a ground-breaking new book from the University of Huddersfield’s Professor Melanie Rogers. Spiritual Dimensions of Advanced Practice Nursing - Stories of Hope identifies how all clinicians can integrate spirituality into their practice. Even something as simple as asking a patient about their family, pets or their work can be a small act of kindness that builds connection and can help improve their wellbeing in the face of the stress of a hospital stay.

Work doesn’t need to a be a finish line you cross at the end of an exhausting week
By tackling presenteeism, we can make the most of our days at work, and treat our non-work time as a chance to do more of what we love. Addressing presenteeism involves addressing poor management, toxic workplace cultures, and socioeconomic trends and inequities that force people to prioritise hours worked over their own health.

Understanding wellbeing in a post-pandemic workplace
Taking this issue seriously is no longer an action that companies are praised for – but something that is expected. Just because we are slowly emerging from lockdown measures does not mean that the effects of the pandemic are over. Many will continue working from home, some will be adjusting to a new hybrid working model, and fears over job stability and career progression will be at the front of everyone’s minds.
This article assesses the current landscape and lays out what businesses need to know.
 

Online seminars and workshops:

Wellbeing topics, workplace matters, reflection, chaplaincy and more...

Here is a selection of online events coming up which may interest supporters and Chaplains alike covering a range of topics relevant to work, spirituality and more.

Get Outdoors Get Active Hinchingbrooke
2nd Dec, Hinchingbrooke Country Park
Get active in your local community and learn basic horticulture skills whilst improving your own mental and physical health. Get Outdoors Get Active is a FREE course that gives you the opportunity to get together with like-minded locals to learn new skills whilst improving your own mental and physical health. All training, PPE and equipment provided.

End of Life Across the Faiths
6th Dec 1pm-4:30pm, Education & Conference Centre, Arthur Rank Hospice Charity
Supporting your patient’s faith and beliefs at end of life helps to make a more dignified experience. This study day is for health and social care professionals who are caring for palliative patients in any setting, community, hospital, care or nursing home.

Discover Central Cambridge Mosque
Mill Road, Cambridge, 18th Dec (plus other times)
Enrich your visit to the award winning Cambridge Central Mosque by taking a guided tour with one of our expert volunteer guides. Discover how its design evolved in the hands of the architects behind the London Eye. Find out how a place of worship with a capacity for 1,000 people still aims to be carbon-neutral. Be excited by the vision for the whole community that shapes this amazing building.
 
Lunchtime meditation with Chris from Chaplaincy Plus
Stressed? Burned out? In need of some space and calm? Come join experienced workshop leader Chris Whittington for a Lunchtime Meditation in two weeks' time! Sign up via our website: https://bit.ly/3CneTTd

Christmas events
Ely Cathedral have a wide range of services, festive events and activities for children this December. Check out the full listings on their website here
 

The Leaves of the Trees - an art installation
Sunday 28th November 2021 - Friday 14th January 2022
12:00 - 16:00 (each day)
A reflective memorial to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in the form of 5000 leaves, each with HOPE imprinted on it.
 
  • The Peterborough Theological Society is an ecumenical society, open to all.
  • Meetings are held on Mondays, 7.30 – 9.15 pm.
  • Meetings in person will resume as soon as possible and will also be available on Zoom.
  • Subscriptions: Annual - £20 (couples £30; unwaged students £10); Individual meetings - £5.
  • Register to receive details. Contact michael@mpage.org.uk to register and make payment.
Upcoming lectures for 2022:

Monday, 31 January 2022
The Montgomery Lecture Speaker: Dr Claire Foster-Gilbert, Director of Westminster Abbey Institute
How Julian of Norwich can help us face the Ecological Crisis of our day

Monday, 28 February 2022
The Patrons’ Lecture Speaker: Rev’d Professor David Wilkinson, Principal of St John’s College and Professor of Theology & Religion at Durham University
New creation and its implications for the physical universe

CWC Listening service
A service where anyone can reach a Chaplain, regardless of any faiths or beliefs.
If you need emotional support please don't be afraid to use our email request service.

Send an email to support@cambsworkplacechaplaincy.org.uk and we will put you in touch with one of our experienced, qualified volunteers.
Thank you to all those volunteering their time to CWC.

FOR WORKPLACE CHAPLAINS

Connect and Chat
Drop in session
Tuesday 7th December 7pm 2021


All are welcome to join our informal drop-in session for workplace chaplains, volunteer chaplains and counsellors. Come and offload, see some friendly faces and share experiences. Session runs every 1st Tuesday of the month.

Topic: Connect and Chat - drop in session for Chaplains
Time: Dec 7, 2021 07:00 PM London

    
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82645300452?pwd=NDF1NmxrVU1hNEdzQkVGbU5DL1hydz09

Meeting ID: 826 4530 0452
Passcode: 558136

'As a Chaplain you are often working alone in challenging circumstances and seeking to walk alongside those at their most vulnerable.  It has been a real comfort for me to have the opportunity to have a supportive space to share freely of the experience and to be refreshed in the knowledge that we are not alone in this vital ministry.'

'It was good to hear from others who are involved in workplace chaplaincy in different contexts. I felt there was a mutual exchange of creative ideas and lots of support offered which I pray will bear much fruit.'


Bursary Scheme 

Reminder that our Bursary Scheme is open to workplace chaplains operating in Cambridgeshire. 

The purpose of the Fund is to provide financial support to chaplains who are seeking to attend a conference, training course or retreat that will enhance their ministry as workplace chaplains.

Grants of up to £500 are available for each successful application. No requests for bursaries to cover accommodation expenses, where these are in addition to the course or retreat fees, will be considered. Funding rounds for 2022 are:
28 February 2022
31 May 2022
31 August 2022
30 November 2022

For more information please see our website here 
Multifaith Prayer Diary - December 2021
Download our prayer diary to give focus to each day. Featuring different faith festivals, national awareness days and thoughtful prayers.
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