Latest News from WTCC. . . .

As many of you will be aware the trustees of the Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy recognised the Chaplaincy was experiencing considerable financial difficulties and in April of last year appealed to the Christian community both churches and individuals for additional support. The response to that appeal was fabulous and has kept the chaplaincy operational. We are very grateful to everyone who have given generously in support of this important work.

However, as trustees we have a legal and moral duty to ensure that funds are managed responsibly, and our responsibilities as trustees are of course more far reaching than simply managing the finances. We have devoted much time in prayer in discerning the vision and future direction of the chaplaincy. We believe through the financial difficulties we have experienced that God was speaking very clearly that changes are necessary if the chaplaincy is to have a viable future.

There is no denying the tremendous contribution Richard has made to the Chaplaincy. God has anointed Richard with some very special gifts which he has used to good effect and without doubt has built a chaplaincy that has had a very positive impact on the town. This is something that has been widely recognised by many community leaders who have been quick to praise all the good work which has been achieved. Indeed, many other towns have looked to Watford when setting up their own chaplaincies.

As trustees we believe that God is now saying it is time for a change. Inevitably this is driven by the current financial situation, which although is much better than it was, remains precarious. This has led the trustees to reluctantly make an extremely difficult decision, and after agreeing the terms of his departure, Richard will be leaving at the end of this month.

All of us who are in ministry will tell you by its very nature there is a sense our work is never complete. However, ultimately our work is God’s work and there are times when we need to step aside and allow God to bring about changes for a new vision and a new direction.

At the same time as saying goodbye to Richard we will also be saying goodbye to Clare. Clare has found a new administrative post at the London School of Theology and we would certainly want to wish her well with this new job and at the same time sincerely thank her for all that she has contributed to the Chaplaincy. Many of you will know that Clare has done a superb job in managing the office. As chairman of the trustees I want to go on record as saying both Richard and Clare have both done fantastic work for the chaplaincy.

So where does this leave the chaplaincy? The strength of the Chaplaincy has always been the bank of volunteer chaplains who have served as Street Angels, with the Waterways, and in many areas of the town, and as trustees we are committed to ensuring as much of that work as possible will continue and will be looking to provide the support and the leadership for that to happen. At the same time, we need to be looking to the future and the high investment in our town centre will inevitably mean we will have to adapt to accommodate the needs of those who live and work in our town and those who come to enjoy the town’s excellent facilities.

As well as facing many challenges I do believe this will provide an excellent opportunity for churches across Watford to come together and work in partnership in a way we have not known before. God is certainly blessing Watford and we see through organisations such as Christians Across Watford and Churches Together that it is God’s desire that as churches we look to work together in partnership. As trustees we will certainly be looking to church leaders for advice and the necessary resources and support. Although there will be a lot of challenges and a lot of hard work ahead there is also significant potential. This really could be an exciting opportunity.

Can I ask you please to continue to support the Chaplaincy in your prayers at this challenging time of transition. Please do pray for Richard and Clare I am confident God will continue to use them in very special ways. And please do be open to God prompting you to get involved in this work. Like the call of Abraham God is calling us out of the familiar into the unknown but with God there is always a future promise too.