Have you got time for the Chaplain?

19 Jul 2015 | Adam

IMG_0230We’ve just launched a new token system to purchase time for our chaplain/s to spend with people in need.  1 token is $25 and purchases approximately an hour of their time to spend with the folk who come in wanting help.

We have about a dozen people who currently contribute cash on a weekly/monthly basis but to effectively look after the sheer quantity of people in need we require more support.  If you would like to contribute an ongoing monthly donation of $25 or more this will empower us to spend the time necessary to assist these people.

Now that Brandon Ladner is running the cafe 3 days a week. I (Adam) am going to be focussing on this role.  We have some great volunteer chaplains on board and this team will continue.

We have been giving away suspended coffees and free food for over 3 years now.  Thousands of people in dire need have been fed thanks to our collective generosity.  We will continue to give away coffees & food to those in need.

I11110743_10155409057095322_7796633239047147521_n believe the biggest change has not been from giving away free food & coffee but from giving away love.  It’s the time spent listening to someone in crisis that helps them.  It’s being there when an ice junkie is trying to quit and they come in and they need a shoulder to cry on.  Or when a single mum with a bunch of kids is facing homelessness and wants someone to pray for her.  The homeless bloke who comes in with no shoes for a suspended coffee and wants to talk about the bloke who robbed him down in Marchant Park the night before.  I never anticipated that this would happen… at least on this scale.  Man I just wanted to be a cafe selling great coffee and pass that skill on to young folk.  But it’s become so much more.  More than I dreamed possible.  We’re seeing lives turned around.  The people coming in… they’re not just coming to learn how to work.  They’re learning how to live.  And live well.

After some advice a few months ago I began clocking my “therapeutic conversations”.  I’ve been doing an average of 2 to 11 per day ranging from 2 minutes to 2 hours.  (e.g. Encouraging drug addicts to quit, listening to criminals repentance confessions, supporting folk with mental illness).  I’ve discussed what we deal with everyday with seasoned professionals.  They are shocked at the severity of the issues and the quantity.  And they are more than impressed with the outcomes.  I’ve recently had a pay increase where I now make $7.66 per hour (it used to be a lot less).  The chaplaincy job also includes coordinating all the social programs we do including the art exhibitions, community concerts, grandma’s kitchen, etc.  There’s a couple of hours each day spent coordinating each of these programs.  This ‘chaplaincy’ job is on top of making coffees and running the cafe (when volunteers aren’t available).  And of course I still do a fair bit of barista training.  I also have to do several hours of admin work after all that is done.

The Cafe Chaplain job is a job all on it’s own.  I believe that it has more than proved it’s value to our community and that we can fund this role full time.  My long term plan is to train someone up who will be better than me and replace me in this role.  But we’ll need to pay them at least a normal wage.

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