Rev Barbara Johnson
Barbara worked for 37 years in personnel management in the Civil Service and in retirement took up theological studies at St John’s College Nottingham, being awarded a BA in Theology in Ministry. It was during that time that she felt called to ordination to the priesthood and more particularly to ministry in the workplace. She has been a Curate at St John the Baptist Royston and an Assistant Curate at St Mary’s Goldington in Bedford. Since ordination she became an Associate Priest at St Mary’s Potton and, now retired, has continued to take services and to assist Revd Gill Smith in that benefice alongside her chaplaincy roles.
“I always felt called to ministry in the workplace. I am terrified of fire but when asked which chaplaincy I felt closest to it had to be the Fire and Rescue Service, having been visiting the Stevenage Fire Station when two fire-fighters were so tragically killed fighting a fire in a high rise block of flats. I thought ‘That is where I need to be – out there where people are risking their lives to save others.”
After 10 years as a chaplain to the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service from 2006 -2016, being there for them in the good times and the bad, she retired and was appointed chaplain to PTSD999, to support all those in the Emergency Services suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
So why do we have a chaplain and what does she do?
Barbara as Chaplain to PTSD999 is an unpaid volunteer and is available at any time when she may be called upon to respond to a particular request for service from any of the emergency services personnel (serving and retired) and their families.
The duties of the chaplain vary greatly. At present the Chaplain is working closely with the Co-Founders of PTSD999, using her chaplaincy experience as a Fire Service Chaplain and her associate membership of the National Fire Service Chaplains Association:
- to build up relationships with the Fire Services throughout the UK, to promote the work of PTSD999 by giving talks in the community and to create opportunities for fund raising
- Her main role however, is to be there for all those involved with PTSD999 as a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, a friend in need and a friend in deed. Making herself available to all the volunteers, emergency services personnel (serving and retired) and their families in the good times and the bad. Any conversations/discussions with the chaplain will be held in strict confidence.
- Occasionally someone may want the Chaplain to pray with them. At other times personnel derive comfort and support from knowing that they are included in the Chaplain’s normal prayer life.
For all without exception
Some may be very wary if they see a clerical collar or may be seen talking to a “Vicar”. They think that the Chaplain will try to ‘ram religion down their throats’ if they aren’t careful! Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Chaplain is there for everybody without exception and they may come from any number of religious persuasions or denominations. But as a Chaplain, Barbara will always remain neutral.
In our multi-faith society the Chaplain is mindfully aware that there are people from other religious traditions, for example Judaism and Islam, and is sensitive to that. Chaplains are there because of their belief that people matter irrespective of who they are, what they are, or what their particular beliefs may be, whether they are church members or not.
The Chaplain is there to share concerns, interests, problems and the opportunities. Above all, the Chaplain is there to make a positive contribution to the life and well-being of everyone involved with PTSD999.
The Chaplain is there to be part of the personnel support system. The Chaplain would claim no exclusive rights to a cure for trauma, but believes the Chaplain is a resource that can and should be used.
If at any time there are ways in which the Chaplain’s services would be of value to you, the Chaplain is at your disposal. As always, the strictest confidentiality will be observed. In fact, no one need ever know that you have spoken to the Chaplain. The Chaplain offers friendship and listening, both of which demand a sensitivity to, and respect for the other person. And that will always be the case.
Do contact your chaplain Rev Barbara Johnson on 07768 560 646 or email firstname.lastname@example.org at any time. She will always be there for you.
Get in Touch
Telephone: 01223 755 130 (9am-5pm)
Text: 07778 485 528 (Out of hours)
PTSD999, 243 Mill Road, Cambridge, CB1 3BE