Black Country Urban Industrial Mission
BCUIM supports and encourages the ministry of local churches in providing workplace chaplains, in industry, commerce and the public sector.
There are currently 22 team members, and others who are chaplains at local fire stations. Seven are involved in the Worcester Diocese, and a small associated team offers chaplaincy in Dudley Town Centre. This is a ministry for lay and ordained people. BCUIM’s role is to select, train, introduce, connect and support chaplains.
At the heart of chaplaincy is the opportunity to draw alongside people, with a willingness to listen. Pope Francis wrote “Mostly, people are looking for someone to listen to them, someone willing to grant them time, to listen to their dramas and difficulties.” Later in his book, “The Name of God is Mercy” we read that, “…to bring about an encounter with the visceral love of God's mercy … it is necessary to go out: to go out from the churches, and the parishes, to go outside and look for people where they live, where they suffer, and where they hope.”
The team meets each month, an opportunity to share experiences and to plan activities which help churches to maintain connections with the industrial, commercial and economic life of the area. We take a particular interest in the church’s response to current issues and how it supports people caught up in them – debt, poverty, benefit reforms and unemployment. A team member offers basic budgeting training sessions.
Each year BCUIM organises an induction course for clergy and church workers new to the area, offering an introduction to the history, demographics and economy of the area, and meeting people involved in work and projects both within and outside the church.
It is important that Christians who are in employment see the connections between their faith and their work, and feel that the church understands and supports them. Encouraging people to live consistently with their faith in the workplace should be a key part of the mission of the church. BCUIM has been developing resources with the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC) to promote this. People of working age, a group who are underrepresented in our churches need to see the church as relevant to their lives.
Chaplaincy is a vigorous and dynamic expression of the church’s mission! But, all too often, chaplaincy has happened independently from the local church, something done by professionals on their behalf. In the twenty first century, Chaplaincy needs to spring from the heart of local Christian congregations, and be thoroughly owned by the church.
Are you a good listener, with an hour or two a week to spare? If you feel that God may be calling you to this ministry, we would like to hear from you. Local people responding to local needs can change the world and the church.
To work towards the Kingdom of God as part of the mission of the whole Church in the industrial and economic life of the Black Country -
- Identifying the current issues of urban and industrial society; studying them together, and encouraging others to reflect theologically on them.
- Visiting places of work and offering pastoral support
- Challenging both the world and the Church with a prophetic voice.
- Working with others in the struggle for justice in the whole created order.
- Encouraging Christian communities and individuals to make and strengthen connections between faith and work.
Further details from BCUIM office - telephone 01902 710407 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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What we are:
BCUIM was set up in 1976 as a Local Ecumenical Project of the Diocese of Lichfield, the Diocese of Worcester, the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District of the Methodist Church, West Midlands Synod of the United Reform Church and Heart of England Baptist Association. It is a Company Limited by Guarantee and a registered Charity.
The Trustees include a lay Chair and the Bishop of Dudley, the Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Chair of the Methodist District, the Baptist Regional Minister, and other Church Leaders as well as representatives of trade unions, industry and education, whose task is to oversee and advise.