Read our PDF – Serving Sport in Ireland

What a privilege it is for Sports Chaplaincy Ireland to serve people in clubs and associations up and down the country!

Every person is important and valuable – from the athlete, to the supporter, and every staff member, volunteer and helper in between. As a team of volunteer chaplains, we can bring a gospel of care and love that does not have to fit a budget or particular outcome. We are instead able to bring pastoral and spiritual care that cuts across all agendas and is totally people centred. This past year we have seen the demand for chaplaincy increase significantly and we have been able to appoint 12 regional chaplains as a consequence of our work with the Irish FA and their Ahead of the Game initiative – “Mental Health Awareness Program” which has broadened our geographical footprint.

Mental health is a major topic of concern within every sports club and the recognition that a chaplain has a vital
role to play through their presence and availability is evidence of God at work. In this last year God has been at work through all the difficulties that life has produced for the sporting community in Northern Ireland. Our chaplains have been required more than ever to help and journey with people through troubled waters, as well as celebrating life with them and bringing fresh perspective.

God has been present through our chaplains during incredible heartbreak and journeys of renewal and refreshment. We have also been there when people’s worlds have come crashing down and have been able to journey with them through the pain and anguish. We have been there to listen, support and provide practical, pastoral and spiritual care to many others, hopefully helping prevent their worlds from crashing down round them.

Our task is great: to have chaplains serving in every club and at every level in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and we would love to see an increase in our footprint across women’s sport and disability sport. We can thank God that He is starting to open doors for us not only here, but across many sports in the province.

We have seen an increase in the appointment of chaplains in Northern Irish amateur football across a range of leagues such as Newcastle & District League, Mid- Ulster League and Ballymena Provincial League, including clubs such as Belfast Celtic, Ballymacash Rangers and Comber Star. Across the spectrum of football, we have seen appointments at Larne, Portstewart, Annalong Swifts, Dungoyne Boys, Linfield Ladies, Linfield Disability and an IFA “Back in the Game” program based in Ballymena.

In Rugby five clubs have appointed chaplains in the last 12 months including Coleraine Rugby Cricket and Hockey Club who have 1100 members. On the topic of cricket, we have been endorsed by the North West Cricket Union and have been delighted to appoint chaplains to four new clubs.

We want to serve every person, within every club, sport and level of ability across all of Ireland. Our resources seem so limited, but we are praying to the God who owns the harvest to send workers. No matter how overwhelming the task may seem to some, we know who is in control and capable of more than we can think or imagine.

So, as we step into this new decade, we must have the strength and courage to do what God has asked us to do and have faith that He who has begun a good work will carry it on to completion. As we listen, He guides us, being fully persuaded that He can do what he promised.

Please continue to pray for and support our chaplains

Resources & Information

Our Address
Sports Chaplaincy NI Office
143 Northumberland Street
Belfast , County Antrim
BT13 2JF

Philip Mitchell
M. philip.mitchell@sportschaplaincy.org.uk
T. 07788 254465

Steven Thompson
M. steven.thompson@sportschaplaincy.org.uk
T. 07701 048278

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