Bath City Football Club has two new recruits, Revd Rich Miles and Rob Popejoy – the club’s newly appointed chaplains. Twerton Park’s latest signings are delighted the club has given them this opportunity.
Revd Rich Miles, who was ordained in June, says “It’s a huge privilege to be invited by the manager Jerry Gill, and the football chairman Paul Williams, to take up the role of Chaplain, helping with the pastoral care of the players, coaching team and club staff.”
Rich and Rob won’t be putting on their football boots any time soon, but Bath City’s Chairman, Paul Williams says their role at the club will be important to everyone who works there. “We are pleased to welcome Rich and Rob to the club and are sure they will be beneficial to our players, staff and supporters.”
The charity Sports Chaplaincy UK says, “the role of the sports chaplain varies greatly depending on the role defined by the club. It is very much a permission led activity. They will have regular visits to training, the stadium, and will attend sporting events. Many chaplains also undertake “traditional” functions for their sporting organisations such as funerals, weddings and scattering of ashes ceremonies. In doing this they provide clubs with an important link with the local community.”
Football Chaplains are trained to be ‘pastorally proactive and spiritually reactive’. They are there for everyone, irrespective of a person’s position, beliefs or lifestyle. Rich and Rob will provide pastoral and spiritual support to whoever needs it. Chaplaincy Development Officer, for the Diocese of Bath and Wells, Mike Haslam says, “Chaplaincy is growing rapidly across Somerset and nationally. More and more schools, businesses and sports clubs like Bath City F.C. are looking for the pastoral and spiritual care that Chaplains offer. It’s fantastic that Rob and Rich have started as Chaplains for Bath City F.C. Once you’ve got a Chaplain you wonder how you ever survived without one!”
Sports Chaplaincy UK, says the work of a chaplain in sport, “is not winning at all costs, our priority is to serve and help people. As chaplains we are not involved because of the kudos, not involved because we are fans, we are not even involved to bible bash or proselytize – but we are involved because we have the compassion of Christ for all of those integral to the sporting industry. The vast majority of a sports chaplains work is confidential, it’s all about just being there, being trusted and a safe port of call.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Manager, Jerry Gill who believes, ” it is important we recognise players and staff as people not only as employee’s. Rich and Rob provide another source of support as and when it’s needed at our club. It has been great to meet and welcome Rich and Rob to Bath City FC.”