CIGB chaplaincy work continues in challenging times

For a number of years, the ecumenical ‘Churches and Industry Group Birmingham – Solihull’ (CIGB) has provided chaplaincy for employers such as Birmingham City Council,
Solihull Town Centre, Birmingham Airport, Jaguar Land Rover and National Express Bus. In their work, CIGB’s team of chaplains is supported by Development Director Revd Peter Sellick and Secretary Val Dalton.

During times of economic downturn, CIGB adds ‘chaplaincy to the unemployed’ to its portfolio. The West Midlands Combined Authority has tallied 61,000 job losses since the start of lockdown. A few church-sponsored Job Clubs still operate across the West Midlands, but many clubs that were active during previous recessions have since closed. People looking for work can feel very rejected, alone and far from God’s love.

As CIGB workplace chaplains have been returning to workplaces, they have been greeted with warm smiles and anxious hearts, as staff worry about job security. workplace chaplains support people facing redundancy, as well as the managers who are having to make hard choices. Information helps. Job Clubs offer a place of welcome and for those looking for work. People discover they are not alone and are reminded that their skills and experience are still valuable. Job Clubs help with job searches, applications and interview skills. Jericho Foundation’s Ignition programme offers training to Churches in setting up Job Clubs.

It is not only Retailers and Catering that are seeing cut-backs: manufacturing, transport, aviation, arts and entertainment are all areas under threat in this economic crisis. The predictions are pretty scary. 43% of creative industry jobs are expected to be lost. 25% of small businesses may not survive; more than half of those who do survive will employ fewer people. Working-from-home jobs that are safest are mainly occupied by richer, wealthier people: it is likely to be the poorest and youngest who will suffer most in the recession.

At a time when the need for chaplaincy is increasing, CIGB will run an ‘Introduction to voluntary workplace chaplaincy’ course between 5.00pm and 7.00pm on seven Monday evenings beginning on Monday 21 September. Topics to be covered include, listening skills, working with people on spiritual questions and learning to discern signs of God at work. Sessions will take place either online or in-person, dependent upon physical distancing rules at the time. The fee for the introductory course is £50.

For more information about CIGB, visit its website HERE. To connect with CIGB’s cycle of prayer, click HERE. For help with unemployment, follow THIS LINK. For more about the Jericho Foundation’s Ignition programme, click HERE. With enquiries about the workplace chaplaincy training course, e-mail Peter at THIS ADDRESS.

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