In February 2023, Simon Radford was appointed as Community Chaplain within Glen Eden Baptist Church (GEBC) to support the work of Visionwest. For just over a year, members of GEBC had filled this role.
As Chaplain, Simon has been busy, partly due to Visionwest’s response to the disastrous Auckland weather events. During the year, he has been involved in:
• Door-to-door outreach to flood affected whānau doing wellbeing checks and offering food support and connection to the Visionwest flood response team for other support they may require. The outreach focused initially on red-stickered homes in badly hit areas.
• Responding to client referrals from the Whānau Centre to work with whānau who required focused chaplaincy support.
• Supporting Te Kapu, the weekly free community lunch held in the GEBC café which celebrated its one-year anniversary in early June.
• Initiating the Alpha Course in conjunction with Te Kapu.
• Providing services to community members such as house blessings, funerals, and support during court appearances.
The availability of a Community Chaplain enables us to access care that is truly holistic. Many whānau accessing our services are people who appreciate and ask questions relating to their wairua or spirituality. The Community Chaplain works with and supports whānau of all beliefs.
After the weather events over January and February Simon visited 110 flood-affected homes to check-in on the community.
Having a Community Chaplain enables us to proactively respond to whānau who request focused Chaplaincy support.
Simon Radford is the sixth appointed Community Chaplain associated with Visionwest. The first being Mark Woolley in 1999.
“Chaplaincy is about recognising that whatever has happened in a person’s past can be forgiven and a bright future awaits them.” Tony Dye (previous Chaplain).