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“Provide ongoing pastoral and spiritual care, by permission, to those of faith or no faith, for the holistic well-being of all involved in the community of sport…” – Sports Chaplaincy UK
Quietly and unobtrusively going about their business, offering words of support to anyone in need, the role and importance of a sports chaplain has certainly evolved over the last few decades.

Chaplaincy is now commonplace in men’s, women’s, all ability, mixed ability, and disability sport. Across Wales over 70 chaplains serve across a variety of sports offering pastoral and spiritual care in a variety of sporting settings.

At Dragons RFC that position is held by Lewis Roderick – a face many of you may know both from match days at Rodney Parade or the local community.

Pastor at Christchurch Newport for the last 14 years, Lewis makes regular visits to training, the stadium and attends club events to help him develop relationships – always endeavouring to act with discernment and sensitivity.

The role of any sports chaplain varies greatly depending on the role defined by the club – as it is very much a permission led activity. And over the last four and a half years, Lewis has seen his role develop too.

Lewis admits he wasn’t raised in a traditional Christian home but first heard about Jesus through two classmates and became a Christian just before heading off to college.

“I thought I was set to be a musician for the rest of my life and that’s what I went to study, but over the next five or six years, my desire to make music decreased and I felt compelled to open the Bible and introduce people to Jesus,” he admits.

After Bible college in Bridgend and London, he started serving Christchurch Newport as a pastor in 2009, just before marrying his wife Jenny.

“We love the church and love Newport,” he stated. “I’m proud that my kids were born here and get bristly when I hear people speaking badly of the place. Maybe no one dreams of living in Newport when they grow up, but we wouldn’t be anywhere else.

“We feel God brought us here, to be a faithful presence to our neighbours and city and this totally lines up with my role as Dragons RFC chaplain.”

Lewis believes the vision for Dragons is to be a rugby club in the true sense of the word – providing an old school community hub, where people become a family connected over generations.

“There’s a long tradition of clubs having chaplains who served not just the players, but everyone associated with the team, from groundsmen to supporters.

“As chaplain, I serve the team in three three ways; firstly, by providing a listening ear. These players are regular men in their twenties, who go through regular twenty something challenges. But they live their lives with highly unregular attention and pressure. I get to listen without judgement and won’t share what I’m told.

“Secondly, I do some counselling. This is part of my role at Christchurch and it’s something I’ve been able to offer the team here. Sometimes players appreciated some advice and counsel. Over the past five years in this role, I hope I’ve been able to serve them well in this way.

“Finally, from time to time, some players will want to explore the bigger issues – like who is God, what is he like, where do I stand with him? As a Christian minister, it’s a joy to help them figure out the answers to some of these questions.”

Lewis has become a well-known figure to the players and backroom team – whether that be at Ystrad Mynach or Rodney Parade – and now he is keen to expand his work and role.

“I’m not limited to serving the players,” he stated. “It’s a privilege to serve staff and supporters too and offer something of that historic support.

“In the difficult moments, one of the biggest pains can simply be not knowing where to turn. As chaplain to Dragons RFC, I’m here for the whole community.”

Want to know more about Lewis and his work at Dragons RFC. Email and we will put you in touch!