In October 2022 the Pembrokeshire town of Saundersfoot hosted the World Rowing Coastal Championships and Beach Sprint Finals across two weekends, and Sports Chaplaincy were grateful to have a presence throughout the event.

Working with local churches and other volunteers from Street Pastors and Good News For Everyone, the Sports Chaplaincy Wales team were able to train and resource a small team of Chaplains to come alongside volunteers, staff, competitors and their families. With a base of operations in the volunteer centre, and all-access passes allowing entry to be with athletes, it was an incredibly privileged opportunity to work at the World Rowing Coastal Championships. The events saw competitors and visitors from across the world gather, with 26 Nations represented at the Beach Sprint Final events alone and far more the weekend before in the Coastal Championships. Our Chaplains had the honour to meet and speak with people from Egypt, Tunisia, Spain, Italy, Peru, Sweden, Netherlands, Japan, USA, New Zealand and more.

Two highlights from the event can be summarised as follows.

Firstly, the welcome we received from World Rowing and British Rowing in the organisation committee, whereby an introduction about Sports Chaplaincy was included in the event manual given to every volunteer ‘Wave Maker’ and competitor in the Crew and Captain manuals. This made explaining about ourselves and our work was often far quicker as people knew something of us already.

Secondly, one specific prayer opportunity our Chaplain was able to humbly serve an athlete in. As the athlete complained of a frozen shoulder the Chaplain offered prayer; “…he said yes. Needless to say he was healed and could move his shoulder with no problems.” What a great God we serve!

Please do keep praying with us that the seeds sown will be grown by God into fruit and a harvest.

Jon Butler (Wales Football Lead & North Wales Development Officer)