With food-boxes in the cabin and prayers under our belts it was a privilege to see Canal Ministries and Martin Gillmore [the Bath and Wells Chaplain to Nomadic people] at work. One of the signs at the entrance of the canal says ‘Caution! Serious risk of relaxation.’ At a 2 mile an hour pace it was good to slow down; but there is also loneliness, suffering and poverty amidst the beauty and peace of the canal.
The Chaplains and Pastors who serve the canal know almost all the ‘locals’ or will soon know them; and are there to welcome the visitors. The depth and breadth of the relationships is immediately apparent. Martin and his colleagues are pastors and evangelists. They live and share the love of God, build trusting and caring relationships; and out of these relationships they see people come to faith in Jesus.
Martin spoke of his own journey of faith, of the call of God which he couldn’t resist, despite his best attempts. Each day he has an overwhelming sense that he is in the right place as he shares the love of God with some of the most vulnerable and excluded people in Somerset.
Revd Mike Haslam Chaplaincy Development Advisor