Newcastle City Centre Chaplaincy
NEWCASTLE CITY CENTRE CHAPLAINCY CELEBRATES 40 YEARS OF MINISTRY
Claire Morgan and Catherine Armstrong, from St Mary’s Cathedral, are part of the team of the Newcastle City Centre Chaplaincy, and here they give us some insights into the work of the Chaplaincy
Newcastle City Centre Chaplaincy (NCCC) celebrates 40 years of ministry this year. NCCC is an ecumenical initiative of the Newcastle City Centre Churches Together. The initial impetus was the opening of Eldon Square Shopping Centre in 1976 - quite a new concept in the UK forty years ago. The Churches saw the need for Chaplains to be available to the staff and businesses based in the Shopping Centre, as well as to those visiting. The present City Centre Chaplain is the Rev. Canon Glyn Evans, who is based at St Andrew’s, Gallowgate, where the NCCC office is also located. Glyn’s time is split between his duties as parish priest and his duties as City Centre Chaplain. Those of you who know him will know that he is a larger than life character, well able to fill both roles admirably!
There is a team of chaplains who visit, by permission, various businesses in Eldon Square and the wider City Centre including John Lewis, Debenhams, Nexus and Grainger Market.
The aims of the Chaplaincy are
- to understand the nature of commerce and business and its effect on the working lives of individuals and groups in the City Centre,
- to share the insights of Christian belief and faith,
- to minister to the needs of individuals and groups in the City and
- to work with others towards a more humane society.
The Chaplains do not represent their own particular denomination and do not “talk religion” but try to support and encourage the fullest possible involvement with everyday life in a creative and positive way.
Cathedral parishioner, Catherine Armstrong, is a trained chaplain looking after John Lewis and has held this role for a few years now.
Catherine says: “I became actively involved four years ago through my connection as a Roman Catholic City Centre Churches representative. I have gained valuable experience and have thoroughly enjoyed being chaplain to John Lewis. It has also given me the opportunity to explore and assist with the spiritual dimensions of a busy commercial environment. I write regularly for their Facebook page and weekly store magazine. My chaplaincy role is primarily to support and encourage the staff in everyday life, establishing and maintaining a presence within the store environment that is uplifting and beneficial. I listen, offer encouragement concerning both work and personal issues, and give individuals the opportunity to discuss matters in a safe and respectful environment.
“Revd Glyn Evans is also NUFC Chaplain and I have begun to assist him with the chaplaincy at the Newcastle United FC Foundation, based at St James Park. As a result, I have recently become a member of Sports Chaplaincy UK, which offers ongoing support to chaplains involved with sport, including Newcastle United and Sunderland FC.
“In a diverse and often complex world, working life and faith can be viewed as separate entities. Individuals can struggle to make progress in areas of their lives, so it is important that people consider how they can reflect their faith at work and how this faith can assist them. The City Centre Chaplaincy strives to help bridge the two worlds of Faith and Work in our city.”
Catherine Armstrong, Associate Chaplain with Newcastle City Centre Chaplaincy, and Revd Glyn Evans, City Centre Chaplain in St Andrews Mall after a service there in November
Eldon Square is very supportive and provides an annual contribution to the running costs of the Chaplaincy which are otherwise met by the Churches making contributions and by grants from various local bodies.
There is a board of directors with representation from each of the denominations - Anglican, Methodist, URC, and RC. Fr Dermott is the Bishop’s nominated director and is supported by Claire Morgan, another Cathedral worshipper, who is also a director and has served on the management committee for many years.
If anyone is interested in this work and would like to know more they can speak to Catherine or Claire; contact details are available from the Cathedral Office.