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Reform Magazine | October 16, 2021

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I am… an essential worker

I am… an essential worker

Norman Setchell on the value of being a meal delivery driver

In the years that followed my retirement from full-time ministry, like most clergy drawing their pension, I looked for something to occupy my time that would be of use to the community. Serving churches as interim moderator or occasional preaching was fine for several years, but I felt I needed two things: a hands-on job that connected me with people, and some money to help me manage the cost of running a car and meeting bills. To supplement my income I looked for part-time work in pharmacies and gardening. There was a time when pulpit supply greatly helped me get through the month but, as we all now know, much of this communication has been taken over by Zoom.

For most of my ministry I had been working among people of all nationalities and backgrounds. Army chaplaincy gave me contact with other officers and people from different ranks, having been a boy soldier, infantry corporal and commissioned chaplain. I had access to the friendship of men I accompanied to Northern Ireland, Germany and the Falklands. Later, working in Antwerp and Dover for the Sailors’ Society put me in daily contact with men and women from all over the world, as cargo and container vessels docked and I went aboard.

The third dimension was with asylum seekers, when I opened up St Colomba’s United Reformed Church, Dover, to welcome hundreds of refugees between 1997 and 2003, until I moved into hospital chaplaincy in Margate, Kent. All these positions and contacts, in addition to pastoral ministry, had enabled me to enjoy the experiences of going to where people were in need, and I wished to continue that…

Norman Setchell is a retired minister

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This is an extract from an article published in the February 2021 edition of Reform

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