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EUROPE — Over the past seven years Sports Chaplaincy UK has more than trebled the amount of people they have serving in the sports community across the country. GNA reporter Peter Wooding caught up with their chaplain at Chester Football Club Guy Lister.

Each week a rapidly growing number of Christian chaplains faithfully minister behind the scenes at sports clubs across Great Britain and Ireland under the charity Sports Chaplaincy UK.

One of those who has faithfully served at Chester Football Club in the North West of England for more than a decade now is Guy Lister.

Guy Lister:
Well what I’ve tried to do over the years is build up trust, build up relationship. Probably the first year all I did was wander around, got to know people, built up trust, them to trust me, got them to understand what I was about, how I was there to serve the club rather than anything for my benefit or for my gain.

Guy says it’s all about being there in the difficult times as well as the good times for all those involved in the club.

Whether it’s playing staff, management team, directors, fans, volunteers and there are some brilliant volunteers right across this club. I’ve just tried to be available really for them and I’ve worked with some families who’ve passed away and we’ve done little services of ashes for ashes burials, little services of committal. I’ve had the privilege of working with families to support them, help them get involved in their situation and it’s been a privilege to be able to do that.

Over the past eight years the number of people serving with sports chaplaincy across the UK and Ireland has grown from around 200 to 700.

Their chief executive Warren Evans says it’s extremely inspiring to be a part of this growing ministry.

Warren Evans:
Well I’m always humbled and amazed about what God is doing in people’s lives, either directly or indirectly. And what I mean by that is there are chaplains just quietly going about their business, quietly being a presence. And then when they have the opportunity and people talk to them, they have the privilege to journey with people through their life situations which might be relationship challenges, it might be financial challenges. It’s not always about the chaplain doing it, it’s about healthy signposting, asking healthy questions, but thinking and speaking the best over people and ultimately being that incarnational presence of God into that community.