YMCA London South West 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 London South West puts this vision into practice. Our Chaplain Jacky Bone 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.
The team run a number of programmes for residents. At YMCA Surbiton, residents meet weekly for discussion and prayer as a part of a ten week long Life Journey course.
On Wednesdays at YMCA Wimbledon and YMCA Surbiton, residents are invited along to the ‘Snack and Chat’, which offers a chance to meet the Chaplaincy team over tea, coffee and sandwiches.
Quite often, however, residents just need someone to listen and to talk to. The Chaplaincy team make themselves available for just that by offering free independent and confidential pastoral support.
The Life Journey course
Jacky Bone, YMCA 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.”
“The first four weeks of the course covers what brought them to their current situation. We often find that bereavement or abuse feature at the top of the list. Half way through we take these residents on a five-day retreat in Wales for discussion, teaching and art therapy, all of which begins the process of ridding themselves of the baggage. Here there are also opportunities for exploring prayer and spirituality. On return the remaining four weeks of the course concentrate on following all that up. The transformation we have seen has been so encouraging, which is why raising funds for Life journey is so important”
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.
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.
If you are a church or faith organisation and you would like to work with YMCA LSW, please contact Jacky Bone. T: 020 8339 7320 E: email@example.com
What are the key issues facing the English YMCA in the twenty-first century as it seeks to work out its Christian mission and how does the role of chaplaincy contribute to its vision to be a Christian Movement’?
Our chaplain, Rev. Jacky Jone has written a dessertation to explore this. Click here to read.