Monday, November 23, 2009

More on the workplace chaplain

Last week we made note of an article on Cyril Gowler, who is a workplace chaplain in Canada. The second part of his interview with Brian Proffit is now available, and Gowler has some interesting things to say about:
  • how he approaches the job,
  • how he incorporates his faith,
  • what additional training he's done,
  • how another company might bring a chaplain into their workforce.
Gowler is a paid employee of the place he's chaplain to, which he admits is unusual. However, his comment on this is:

There’s often an argument in the world of chaplaincy that it’s better to have a chaplain contracted through an agency because they don’t answer to the boss. They’re rented out, so to speak. But I think it’s better to be an employee because you better understand some of the problems and develop closer relationships with the employees. I know that a lot of firms in the U.S. are set up so you can hire a contracted chaplain from an outside firm. My own opinion is that it works better when the chaplain is an employee of the company.

I also liked what he had to say about the starting point for a relationship with another employee (or a member of an employee's family):

When a person comes to me, I first look for what their felt need is. If it’s an immediate need for assistance with an immigration issue, a marital issue or a challenge in parenting, I can speak to that need directly. As I gain the trust of that individual a relationship between us develops, and somewhere down the road I’ll have earned the right to share my faith with them. It works really well. Whenever you’re able to help someone with a need—the whole Matthew 25 thing—they immediately become aware of your level of sincerity.

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