YMCA St Paul’s Group is a Christian charity where people can come as they are, be met at their point of need and come to know life in all its fullness.
The Chaplaincy service at YMCA St Paul’s Group puts this vision into practice. Our Chaplain Jacky Bone ( South West ), Jonathan Melville Thomas ( South ), Suzanne.Vernon-Yorke ( West) and the Chaplaincy volunteers are always available for a chat and offer support to everyone who uses our centres, 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 people who use our facilities, no matter what their spiritual beliefs.
After living in our hostels for a short or long period, moving into a new place and a new environment can be daunting for residents. Alongside the Support Workers, the Chaplaincy team strive to make the transition from supported to independent living as smooth as possible, providing additional pastoral and spiritual care. The team also run a number of programmes for residents. Including , prayers, discussion groups and retreats..
The Life Journey course
Jacky Bone, YMCA LSW Chaplain, says this about the Life Journey course:
“The 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.”
“.One of our most successful projects is a five-day retreat in Wales at Christian retreat centre Nicholaston House. Here through discussion, teaching, art and equine therapy and simply walking in Gower’s beautiful countryside residents, They get a chance to reflect on their lives and look to the future. Here 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 to Wales, 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 both YMCA Surbiton and YMCA Wimbledon we have chapels open every day for members of the public, residents and staff. Here we run weekly prayer sessions.
Green belt is Christians music and arts festival which we attend joining with many other YMCA’s to serve the young people who attend the festival. Residents also come along as volunteers to help
The Chaplain also run prayer and Christian worship events around Christmas and Easter.
The chaplaincy team could not operate without the chaplaincy volunteers; a group made up of members of local churches, the local community and YMCA residents. They help out in a variety of ways around the Centres, assisting at events and helping residents move on and settle into new accommodation.
Most importantly they provide a listening ear for residents and centre users. Easily identifiable in their chaplaincy team t-shirts, the volunteers can usually be found in the YMCA LSW restaurants for a coffee and a chat.
Working with Local Churches
YMCA LSW are an ecumenical organisation and work 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 YMCA’s .
The Chaplains at YMCALSW are part of a national network of chaplains working in YMCA’s across the country.
If you are a church or faith organisation and you would like to work with YMCA LSW, please contact Jacky Bone.