Representatives of the different faith communities in the Avon and Somerset police area have set up a dedicated phoneline offering 1-2-1 chaplaincy.
The Faith Communities Major Emergencies Team for Avon and Somerset team was established 30 years ago to provide faith-based face-to-face pastoral and spiritual support to people of all faiths and none in times of emergency. The service has been adapted to become a direct dial phone line for people affected by the COVID 19 crisis.
This faith-based service is especially for anyone facing end of life issues, bereaved or anxious about someone in hospital, residential care or isolated at home. Their concern could be for a family member, friend, colleague or neighbour, or someone they have been caring for through their work.
The service will also offer a listening ear to:
- those who are anxious about relatives who are gravely ill, especially if there is no option of visiting them in person.
- people unable to see the body of a loved one after death or unable to attend a funeral
- key workers affected by work-related issues, perhaps overwhelmed by what they are facing or dealing with
- anyone anxious about the effects of COVID 19 on their lives
The phone line is focused on callers from Bristol, Somerset and South Gloucestershire but no one will be turned away. The service has been commended by the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police, Andy Marsh who said,
“Policing is a demanding and stressful role for our officers, staff and volunteers. They are exposed to situations that most people are fortunate never to encounter let alone deal with. The current situation of the Covid pandemic has placed even more demands upon the police. We have an ambition to provide outstanding police services to all our communities and we cannot hope to do that unless we look after them and care for them. This value of caring needs supporting and acting on every day and that is why I am very pleased to welcome the ‘Listening Chaplaincy Phone Line’. I am immensely grateful to the team who stand by ready to listen.”
To access this service, people can dial: 0330 229 1700 from 8am-11pm 7 days a week from Monday 27 April.
This service is open to everyone – of all faiths and none. The more than 70 volunteers manning the phone lines are clergy and people in roles in pastoral support, including many working in chaplaincy. All calls will be confidential. Though the service will not be able to offer long-term bereavement care or counselling, it will signpost people in need to organisations which can offer this specialist help.
Download the poster below to put up and advertise the service in your church or place of work.