Minister’s Page

Greetings

Welcome to our website! We hope it gives you a flavour of our church. We work closely with our ecumenical partners, and in recent months have begun to develop closer links with Marston URC, where I have also been minister since April this year.

Summertown is home to people from all parts of the world, many of whom come to study or to lecture at the city’s universities, and we try to be a to be a church which is caring, welcoming and open to all. We have, for instance, strong links with the Japanese community, which held a number of concerts on the premises to fundraise after the earthquake in 2011 (see Past Events page). A large number of community groups use our premises, and we are hoping to renovate and refurbish our building so that we can continue to serve the local community in the coming years.

Another aspect of my own ministry is that on Fridays I work as a prison chaplain, previously in Holloway Prison, in London, currently in Bullingdon Prison near Bicester. Our congregations uphold this work in prayer, and a number of people act as volunteers in mentoring and support programmes for prisoners.

Working in prison

My link with Prison Chaplaincy work began at Holloway Prison whilst I was a student, when I did a placement there. Prison chaplaincy is challenging and interesting – you never know quite what to expect. Sometimes a call to the chaplain involves something quite routine, sometimes it can be a long and distressing conversation. And always there are the “statutory duties” to attend to – visiting the new prisoners, those on the segregation unit, and in the healthcare wing.

Working at Holloway brought an additional dimension, as I shared the duties with a Muslim colleague, and learnt a lot from conversations with her and her volunteers – not least what we share in terms of outlook on life and values. Multi-faith working is a requirement in the prison context, and it seems to be one area of life where an understanding between people of different faiths is developing well, perhaps because our focus in on the prisoners and how we can meet their needs, rather than on the differences between us – a good model for life as a whole, I feel.

Pauline Main
Minister