YMCA St Paul’s Group is an inclusive Christian association, transforming communities so that all people can belong, contribute and flourish.
The Chaplaincy service at YMCA St Paul’s Group puts this vision into practice. Our Chaplains and the Chaplaincy volunteers are available for a chat and offer support to everyone who uses our services, be it one-to-one or through one of the Chaplaincy programmes.
Although a Christian organisation, our Chaplaincy services are available to people of all faiths or no faith. Our most important role is simply being there for all people who use our facilities; whether old or young, male or female, poorly or well, popping into a health & Wellbeing or staying in one of our hostels, the Chaplaincy team are happy to be there.
Alongside Housing Support Workers, the Chaplaincy team provide additional pastoral and spiritual care. The team runs different programmes and activities for residents including, prayers, discussion groups and retreats.
The Life Journey course
Jacky Bone, former Chaplain, says this about the Life Journey course:
“YMCA is not just about providing a bed in a hostel, we’re also about mending lives. Certainly for me, one of the most successful programmes run by the Chaplaincy team has been ‘Life Journey’. It’s a course for residents to help those who feel stuck in life think about what might be, reflecting on the past and setting goals for the future, as well as exploring how spirituality fits into their lives.”
“As part of this project, residents attend a five-day retreat in Wales at a Christian retreat centre Nicholaston House. Here through discussion, teaching, art and equine therapy and simply walking in Gower’s beautiful countryside residents get a chance to reflect on their lives and look to the future. There are also opportunities for exploring prayer and spirituality. The transformation we have seen in those who have attended has been so encouraging and we find those who engage with the course move on more quickly than those who don’t.”
Residents who took part in the Life Journey Residential, said:
“I had a wonderful time; it worked wonders for me”.
“It gave me a chance to reflect on where I am in my life’s journey, where I want to go and what I need to do to get there”.
“I have learnt more about me. I have also forgiven someone for something I never thought I would”.
“I had a lot of issues regarding my past and I feel being at the retreat has helped me to put these issues to rest”.
At YMCA Surbiton, YMCA Wimbledon and YMCA South Ealing we have chapels open every day for prayer and quiet space. We run weekly prayer sessions and also prayer and Christian worship events around Christmas and Easter, and other significant times throughout the year.
Greenbelt is a Christian music and arts festival which we attend joining with many other YMCAs to serve the young people who attend the festival. Residents also come along as volunteers to help.
The Chaplaincy team could not operate without the chaplaincy volunteers; a group made up of members of local churches and the local community. They help out in a variety of ways around the projects, assisting at events and supporting residents and staff, particularly offering a listening ear.
Working with local churches
YMCA St Paul’s Group is an ecumenical organisation and works with all sectors of the Christian faith. As well as being part of local interfaith forums serving those of all faiths in the community .
Working with other YMCAs
The Chaplains are part of a national network of chaplains working in YMCAs across the country. If you are a church or faith organisation and you would like to work with YMCA St Paul’s Group, please contact a Chaplain
Nicki Sudworth (Chaplaincy Lead) NickiSudworth@ymcaspg.org
Jonathan Melvillie-Thomas (Chaplain, South London) JonathanMelville-Thomas@ymcaspg.org