The Railway Mission started in back in 1881, and continues to serve the rail industry today, and to the British Transport police.
There are three in Scotland, Rev Dereck Grant in the north, Graham Whitehead in the West and Ruth McBean who is in the East and central Scotland.
So what difference do we make?
The difference chaplains make is as varied as the situations in which we find ourselves supporting members of police, railway staff or members of the public. Many people think chaplaincy is simply as being a ‘listening ear,’ but railway chaplaincy is somewhat different to other forms of Chaplaincy; Yes chaplains are there to listen, but the chaplaincy service we provide to the rail industry has three distinct components. These components are – prevent, detect, and respond; as chaplains we are helping to ‘prevent’ individuals from experiencing mental health issues, issues of depression, PTSD, anxiety etc., for that reason our chaplains are out and about meeting railway staff and police officers, building face to face relationships with individuals, because this helps the chaplaincy team to be able to ‘detect’ when something may not be right , this might be through body language , or the words or actions of an individual. As the chaplaincy is a trusted part of the wider railway family, that gives us the opportunity to ‘respond’ and gently explore what might be the underlying issues that have caused a change of behaviour.
Ruth is based in Edinburgh Waverley station and she covers up to Dundee over to Motherwell and down to Berwick upon tweed. Most of her time is spent building relationships, raising awareness and one to one support for staff. The biggest challenge is when people take their own lives on the track. These tragedies has an affect on so many people, and the chaplains are there to support all in need. An initiative that was started in 2015, was Conversation cafe’s, where a team of volunteers from British Transport Police, Breathing Space, Scotrail, Samaritans and the Railway Chaplains go on trains chatting with people, giving out water and goodies and information on services that can help with good mental health.
If you would be interested in more about the railway mission, Ruth is available to come and speak and share her experiences and stories. Please contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, if you would like to receive the weekly prayer news from the Railway Mission, please contact email@example.com or if you are interested to be part of actively meeting to pray and prayer walking please contact Ruth directly on 07718971913 or email as above.