A network of church leaders and volunteers, including a group in South Holland, are facing a cloud over the future of chaplaincy services across Greater Lincolnshire.
A £100,000 cut in funding for Lincolnshire Chaplaincy Services (LCS) by the Diocese of Lincoln has been made worse by its decision to end its financial support completely at the end of 2016.
The diocese plans, instead, to take over the running of chaplaincies in colleges, universities, public, industrial and agricultural sectors, although no details of its plans have yet been made public.
Among those at risk of redundancy is south east Lincolnshire industrial chaplain, the Rev William Ruddle of Pinchbeck, who said: “Personally, I am disappointed that the Anglican Diocese has decided to take its chaplaincy programme ‘in-house’.
“LCS was regarded by many as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the church’s ecumenical (cross-church) life together in Lincolnshire.
“For my part, whilst I anticipate being made redundant from LCS during the autumn, I am currently in advanced conversations with Lincolnshire Police with a view to continuing to provide chaplaincy to its officers and to lead its growing chaplaincy volunteer service.”
Personally, I am disappointed that the Anglican Diocese has decided to take its chaplaincy programme ‘in-house’ as LCS was regarded by many as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the church’s ecumenical (cross-church) life together in LincolnshireRev William Ruddle of Pinchbeck, industrial chaplain, south east Lincolnshire
LCS was granted charitable status in 2008, with a function of employing full-time chaplains to work towards “the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of the inhabitants of Lincolnshire” in education, agriculture, environment and manufacturing
The chaplains are helped by volunteers and other church members in their work which is overseen by a Board of Trustees, chaired by the Rev Bruce Thompson of Lincolnshire Methodist District.
Mr Thompson said: “LCS understands that the Diocese of Lincoln has taken the decision to cease funding it on two grounds.
“Firstly, financial in that cuts to its budget are necessary and, secondly, due to its intention to potentially ‘take chaplaincy in-house’ and under the control of the diocese.”
The Spalding Guardian asked the Diocese of Lincoln for a response but no one was available to comment by the time of going to press.