CrossTraining Founder and Executive Director, Rev. Brad Kenney returned from England a few weeks ago. The following is a summary update on his trip and time spent in England.
First off, I wanted to express my sincere thanks to a couple of key people who helped make the trip possible. My friend, Helen Parton made a special contribution to CrossTraining to help offset the costs of the trip. We hadn’t budgeted for this trip into our overall budget. She has been a great friend to us throughout the years and was so gracious. Also, our new friends at Highline Community Church – when they heard the story and opportunities in England, stepped forward to support in a special way. This, in addition to our current support base, made it possible to make the trip to England and it was such a fruitful time.
Director Kenney shared some of the following highlights with the board and staff of CrossTraining upon returning,
- Just before leaving, we learned that the paper Foundations of Pastoral Care: Recovering the Spirit of Chaplaincy in Sport would be published in Practical Theology. We made final edits and saw the online publication with a print publication date soon to follow.
- My trip began with spending a number of days in the Leicester area reconnecting with a former Colorado Rapids coach. There was a great opportunity to spend some time with him and his family.
- The Inaugural Congress in York kicked off mid-week. The 20-minute parallel session where I spoke was a condensed version of Foundations of Pastoral Care: Recovering the Spirit of Chaplaincy in Sport. There were about 15 people in attendance (about twice as many people at Baylor last fall).
- Amongst some of the people that were attending: the Founder of SCORE (now Sports Chaplaincy UK) and the current CEO of Sports Chaplaincy UK. The Associate Dean for Religious Life from Stanford University (U.S.A.), and the Department Chair for the Department of Sports Management from Liberty University (U.S.A.). Each graciously listened and asked thought-provoking questions about contextual and cultural adaptations.
- The entire congress was a time for making new relationships within the academic and practitioner’s realms. Some of my favorite moments included sessions with Revd Dr Lincoln Harvey, Professor John Swinton, and James Jones. Jones, the former Bishop of Liverpool, was head of the panel that led an independent investigation into the Hillsborough stadium tragedy.
- Another highlight was a sport-themed worship service in York Minster. It was a wonderful thing to sing hymns and choruses in one of Europe’s largest cathedrals.
- The congress also provided a chance to catch up with dear friend and brother Rev. Bob Mayo. Rev. Mayo is the chaplain for Queen’s Park Rangers and has had his Parish the Thought featured on our website.
- The congress also allowed me to provide a link for the recent published paper to several sports chaplaincy professors. Hopefully, some might utilize this in their curriculum and teaching at various universities in the US and UK.
- Some key conversations have begun about creating a national registry for sports chaplaincy and ministry in the U.S.A. This will serve as a step in developing further the landscape of sports chaplaincy. There will be a future opportunity to meet with national and international leaders and for CrossTraining to be part of developing this.
- The next ‘Global Congress’ will happen at Calvin College in Michigan in 2019. It is my hope to have all the CrossTraining chaplains and counselors be able to attend.
- Finally, I was blessed to spent the last few days of the trip with the Manchester United Chaplain, Rev. John Boyers, who is my mentor and friend. We had some invaluable conversations about his experience and lessons learned from leading and developing sports chaplaincy.