During a recent Lent, Rev. Mary Vickers shared some of the things she has been learning by being an Industrial Chaplain locally
Expect the Unexpected
Walking through town I might speak with someone who is unemployed, or a homeless person, or someone I’ve met in a meeting or at church. And, as the places I’m chaplain to are varied - food factories, Courts, Police, Fire and Rescue, and Airport, and with other contacts in chemical factories and many businesses organisations as well as small businesses - this variety is multiplied many times. During the Lent Group meeting we related all this to 1 Corinthians 12 - everyone being valued, and having a role, whoever they are and whatever they do – so that everyone is important and significant to God and no-one can be beyond God’s concern and great love. Although my work is of a particular kind, and involves me in ethical debates on occasions, we also affirmed that, to some extent, this is also the ministry of every Christian: to be prepared, but to expect the unexpected, as we fulfil God’s purposes and call as disciples.
If had to come up with one thing, it would be “Expect the unexpected”. I never know what to expect when I wake up. Yes, I can be aware of particular things that are happening in each of the workplaces I visit, as well as in the local economy and community, but who I end up meeting and talking with, and what they wish or need to talk about, is beyond my control. I have learnt that we human beings are totally unpredictable, and that God truly is a ‘God of surprises’. One minute I can be talking to someone who is earning the minimum wage for undertaking a relatively boring and largely unfulfilling job, and whose life rarely takes them away from the area. The next minute I might be talking to an MD who travels internationally, who is concerned about stocks of in far-flung parts of the world as well as the welfare and employment of his staff here in North East Lincolnshire.