Winter Newsletter

Winter 2020 Newsletter
A View From The Chair
Dear <<First Name>>, Covid and our response to Covid is a constantly changing landscape.  As I write, England has moved from full lockdown to a newly defined Tier system with the vast majority in Tiers 2 and 3.  Northern Ireland is in another full lockdown and Wales has introduced tighter restrictions.  Scotland has now placed eleven areas in its highest tier, level 4.  We are clear about the rules relating to Christmas but many may decide to exercise caution and significantly restrict any family gatherings.  Today we are told that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the UK MHRA and  that the Oxford vaccine is in the final stages of being assessed.

It is within this constantly evolving background that our Police service must carry out its role.  A role which has at its heart the concept of ‘policing with consent’, but which is now to be carried out within context of public expressions of anger, frustration, fear and unutterable weariness.  In such a culture it is no surprise that many officers and staff find their job and their public interactions even more stressful. At no other time in the past has Chaplaincy been more important for the mental health and well-being of all staff. But by the same token at no other time has it been so difficult to provide a physical presence at the same time as providing a Covid secure interaction. This issue has been compounded by the knowledge that many police staff are working from home which brings it own pressures and sense of isolation.
So, Chaplaincy is important, but how do we fulfil our role, how do we maintain a presence and an accessibility.  It calls for a new approach and a fresh look at the how of our role.  You will have your own thoughts and your own approaches, but here are some of my own thoughts:

  • A regular slot in Force Orders/bulletins reminding about your ‘virtual’ presence
  • An appropriate use of social media to engage and hear what is happening with our own Force and area of responsibility
  • An openness to use one-line platforms such as Zoom and Teams
  • The use of skype and WhatsApp to provide some face to face presence

These are just a few thoughts, but you will have more.  Please be innovative in your Chaplaincy and keep your presence constantly before the men and women you serve, and it you have tried successful approaches please share them through our website.
Perhaps, when as vaccine arrives things will begin to ease, but I suspect that the landscape will have changed, and we may need to continue with a blended chaplaincy of physical presence and online engagement.
As we approach the Christian celebration of Christmas, I am conscious that lockdown has affected or will affect all the festivals of many world faith such as Eid, Diwali, Hannukah etc.  Whatever faith tradition you hold may I offer you over the coming weeks you may experience with even greater clarity the peace and presence of God.
Let me just end with a heartfelt thank you to you all for all your efforts over the past months and for the ways your own prayer life has sustained your ministry and those you serve.
Keep safe and go with God
Charles

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Our thanks must go to Paul Hicks who has managed our website for many years but is now taking a very well earnt retirement.
The PCUK board recently wrote to him to thank him for his many years of service and Paul replied with these words "Thank you so much for your letter and the gift which is much appreciated!...It has been my privilege and pleasure to serve through the website and I have hugely enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside some great people at the conferences and through the website itself... It has been really good to see the way in which chaplaincy is beginning to be properly "embedded" in the culture and working practices of the police service and I am hopeful that the best is yet to come."
Our thanks to you Paul.
Surrey & Sussex Police - Multifaith Chaplaincy Lead

Frances Novillo has joined Surrey & Sussex Police as their Multifaith Chaplaincy Lead.  She comes from working as Lead Chaplain for Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy, and prior to that as a volunteer Chaplain with Hertfordshire Constabulary.  She also has hospital chaplaincy experience and over 20 years' experience working as a lay minister, leading Christian worship and training liturgical ministers (lay and ordained) in churches and schools, at conferences and festivals including the Retreat Association and Greenbelt, and in secular and interfaith settings including workshops with the Council of Christians and Jews.  She continues to write about liturgy, particularly now linking the way we worship to ministry in secular contexts; you might like to check out some of her articles on 'Thinking Faith' and 'God Who Speaks' or in the Music & Liturgy Journal of the Society of Saint Gregory, where she writes a regular column.  Frances has an MA in the Psychology of Religion, as part of which she studied attachment theory, suicide prevention, burnout, and the links between mental health, religion, and culture. Early this year Frances gathered with Chaplains from many contexts convened by Hertfordshire County Council to receive effective early post-trauma response training, which turned out to be very timely.  Frances prepared a summary version of this course to pass on to her volunteer Chaplains and Street Angels, and was subsequently asked to re-run the course 5 times this year, reaching nationwide around 200 volunteers with Christian projects, and church workers, to help prepare them to support people through the trauma of the current pandemic, and through traumatic bereavement.  Frances is a qualified Pastoral Supervisor, combining elements of spiritual direction, coaching, and counselling, to help pastoral workers (paid and volunteer) reflect on their ministry and sustain their commitment to supporting others with encouragement and care.
Notice Board
Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester

For many years the Bishop of Dorchester, Rt Revd Colin Fletcher OBE has been a very supportive friend to Police Chaplaincy, a regular attendee and contributor to the Bi-ennial conference and a good advocate for the chaplaincy role. Bishop Colin has now retired and we offer our thanks for his support with our good wishes for a long and happy retirement




Interfaith Week
If you took part in events or organised events during Interfaith Week in November, it would be very helpful if you could let us know what that involved.
A brief e-mail with just a few details will suffice. If you could also update the Interfaith Network website that would also be appreciated. This will enable David to update the NPCC ‘Race. Religion & Belief’ Group; share with the Inter Faith Network what engagement there was by Police forces and supply some information to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government who have asked for some feedback. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

National Police Memorial Day

The National Police Chaplain is also the coordinator for National Police Memorial Day [NPMD]; NPMD is held every year on the last weekend of September: It moves around the UK and has previously been a physical gathering of around 2000 people. Clearly, the pandemic meant that to gather in September 2020 was uncertain and the decision was taken in June to cancel a live service and to move it online. This meant a huge amount of work to complete the required interviews, filming, engagement with the Royal Household, Government and forces across the country. This was a major project, which we thought was complete on Thursday 24th.  Awaking to the news of the tragic death of PS Matt Ratana changed everything and a very pressured 36 hours ensued. A superb, dedicated and committed team delivered it well. The feedback for NPMD has been overwhelmingly positive, Chaplaincy is an integral to the organising of the day. It is a significant event in the Policing calendar and our direct engagement gives chaplaincy a profile on the day and across the year that we would not otherwise achieve. The latest NPMD newsletter and details of how to watch the service again can be found on our website here




Memorial Services (second request)
Several forces are beginning to think ahead to holding, at an appropriate time, a Memorial Service for those in the force who have sadly died during this pandemic either amongst those currently serving or amongst those retired.
This will still be some time away but is likely at some stage in 2021.
It would be useful to provide a Police Chaplaincy UK resource for Chaplains and Forces to use in those circumstances so if you have appropriate prayers, readings, poems that could usefully form part of an inclusive liturgy at such an occasion please send it to us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We will then compile a template as a basis and useful resource for you to access and choose from.

A View From The
National Police Chaplain
When we speak of 2020 vision we use the phrase to describe such things as excellent sight, as being ‘spot on’, perfect, giving full knowledge and awareness. Sadly, due to the pandemic, we had to cancel our planned bi-ennial conference which had as its title ‘Police Chaplaincy 2020 Vision’ where we intended to exploit the nuances of that phrase as much as we could. 2021 will just not have the same focus [no pun intended!].

For many 2020 has been anything but clear, with, at best, ‘seeing through a glass darkly’ in an unpredictable, uncertain, and for many an anxious, frightening world. It has been a year of challenge and change – change enforced by the pandemic. Police Chaplaincy has been caught up in all of that and, I am really pleased to say, has responded in a marvellously dedicated way to ensure our ministry has continued despite the crisis. I have heard in several national meetings the work of Police Chaplaincy recognised and applauded for all that you have been doing especially in supporting the well being of staff during this crisis. It is clear that your ministries are appreciated and Chaplaincy held in high regard.

Chaplaincy is so much about building and sustaining good relationships which I think is especially so in the Police context and I am aware a lot of chaplains have struggled over these past months to do this. There have been some good creative and innovative ways tried but online meetings can be functional and rely for their depth on the previous relationships built. The opportunity for ‘corridor conversations’ or networking at other meetings is not easy. For some, especially local volunteer chaplains, it has been difficult to maintain contact with stations and continue to build relationships with your people. Many have made good use of social media to try and sustain their chaplaincy and this along with email contact has been used but it is difficult and chaplaincy is relational, it is the casual encounter in an office or corridor that becomes a meaningful conversation, it is about ‘loitering with intent’ as well as purveying cakes and sweets! – all of which needs great creativity to do ‘online’. If you have discovered some ‘top tips’ then do please share them via the website or our Facebook page. Equally, do not be shy about asking your force or local supervisors to enable you to email the people you would normally see, use a global email to maintain contact or make use of the force intranet to ensure people know you are still around and available.

Individual force chaplaincies have used the various online video conferencing platforms to keep in touch with their chaplaincy teams and it has been good to join some of those meetings right across the country. It was also good to meet with Lead Chaplains at the online briefing we held in October. A number of other forces are in the process of considering recruitment of Lead Chaplains and I am working with them to secure as many funded full time posts as we can achieve, do keep any eye on the situations vacant page on our website and feel free to let us have any adverts to go on there too. The ‘currency’ of Chaplaincy is good across forces and amongst Chiefs so agreeing the principle is not an issue it largely comes down to budget. Discussions to develop chaplaincy within the Civil Nuclear Constabulary [CNC] and Ministry of Defence Police [MDP] are underway. Both of these forces operate nationally and have key sites scattered all around the country. It may be the case you have time for further chaplaincy work in your area and could be interested in working with one of these forces – if so do let me know.

All physical Conferences have been cancelled this year but I was invited to speak at the Police Superintendents Conference just ahead of the Home Secretary [who was present] which was a good opportunity afforded to us by the Police Superintendents Association. Amongst other commitments I have also spoken at the Christian Police Association [CPA] Leaders Conference, a Police Federation Equality & Diversity Conference and alongside Andy Paget at a Somerset wide Chaplaincy Conference. It is good to ‘fly the flag’ for Police Chaplaincy nationally on such occasions especially when I know any words I say are experienced locally by your commitment to stations and departments.

It will be well into 2021 before we gain a new normal and there will be many discussions as to what are the lessons of the pandemic, how might working practices change and what positive things can be taken from our experiences. Whatever happens it is clear the coming years will be challenging in lots of ways. This will have an inevitable consequence for Policing as it responds to the economic, social and community impact of COVID. It is likely the cold wind of austerity will blow, already we see increased suicide rates and a general negative impact on people’s mental health. The services of good chaplaincy teams will be valuable. Please do visit, contribute and make use of the new website to keep up to date with news, build and share resources and develop stronger links with PCUK and other chaplains. Mark the date of our re-scheduled bi-ennial conference [21st-23rd June 2021, Swanwick, Derbyshire] and if at all possible do please plan to join us at it. Watch out for ongoing news of a continuing professional development programme as we do our part to contribute to Policing Vision 2025


David

Met Pol Senior Chaplain, Receives Award From The Archbishop of Canterbury

Senior Chaplain, Reverend Prebendary Jonathan Osborne MBE received an award from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, for his ‘exemplary service as the Senior Chaplain of the Metropolitan Police Service and for his outstanding contribution to the Church and wider society.’
Jonathan is a familiar sight to many across the organisation and has worked for the Met for more than a decade. He was awarded the Lambeth St. Alphege Award; one of 32 awards given to people from across the world.
“Jonathan’s commitment to our 40,000 officers and staff, ensuring that we are fully supported – as individuals – often at times of crisis, difficulty or suffering, is inspiring,” said the Commissioner. “This is a continuous commitment that only grows with time. Jonathan is an extraordinarily important part of the Met’s heart and soul. Through energy, commitment, kindness, compassion, a great personality and practical skills, Jonathan helps the whole Met thrive.” 

‘Professionalising Police Chaplaincy’ 

Continuing Professional Development
Work continues with the University of Wales to develop an integrated pathway of continuing professional development for Police Chaplains. In the New Year we will hold several webinars to outline the programme more and give the opportunity for you to ask questions. The intention is to offer a course of applied reflection and study that builds on an initial Induction course and for those who wish to pursue it can lead on to the award of a Post Graduate Certificate, Post Graduate Diploma and Master’s Degree.
The Police Chaplaincy Induction Course is being revised together with the way this is delivered with a view to increasing the distance learning components. It is anticipated that all new chaplains will undertake this course as a ‘stand-alone’ basic induction course.

More details of this will be released in the coming days and weeks and we will be in touch with you via email with any updates.

In order to effectively deliver the PCUK Induction Course we will need to increase the number of trainers and facilitators we have available. If this is an area you would be interested in contributing to then do indicate your ‘expression of interest’ to Adrian Gatrill by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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