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Prison Chaplain
HMPS Blunderstone

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William Salmon

00:02 My name is Bill S, I’m chaplain at HM Prison, Blunderstone.

00:07 Born on Clydeside to a family of engineers. My father was an engineer and my mother’s family had been engineers.

00:17 I enjoyed school, yeah it’s about finding out, I enjoyed discovering things. My first nine years were spent in Scotland in the Scottish education system and, and then at the age of nine my father’s employment finished there and he was given the option of continuing to work with the Ministry of Defence but it involved a move to the south coast of England and, and it’s taken me am, a long time to recognise that it affected me. It’s to do with building up, or having social structures that you’re comfortable with and as a child or as a young person and then being uprooted from that. I think that affects the way that you then deal with social structures later on. And how you build up friends and whether you then become rooted in another place again or whether your mind, your psyche, tells you no don’t get too involved because the same thing might happen again.

01:29 I started off doing what everybody else seemed to be doing at school which was to go on to further education and my A level results weren’t great so I ended up doing a degree in teacher training and, and then and then teaching. And teaching was great, I enjoyed teaching, three years working in the East End of London was good, then being a Christian, working already within churches in teaching roles within churches and believing that god wanted me to be a teacher full-time in his set-up and so that, that involved a career change and it meant me going back to do some more education, to do some more study, so I ended up as a vicar, working in a church. God seemed to be pointing me in the direction of, of prisons, of being upfront, working a hundred per cent with people and not with the institution of the, the church. Ended up working with young offenders for a year and then moved on from there and have served in about three other prisons since then.

02:36 Prison days can be up and down. Some days you’ll think, yeah it’s been a good day, I’ve achieved something and somebody’s actually picked up on something and gone with that and that’s been good to see. So in a sense here I’m helping people to explore what faith is about.

02:59 Being a chaplain in a prison is a whole day job. It’s something that’s difficult to leave behind at the end of the day. I sound confident in my ability within the teaching framework, although every sermon that you come to preach is a challenge, you think how on earth am I going to get this over? What are people actually going to get out of it? Am I just saying something for the sake of it or is this really going to feed the faith of the people that are in front of me. There’s a song around at the moment or one of last year’s songs, from the Killers, are we human or are we dancer and it really asks the question, are you human, do you have love, do you have devotion, do you have these qualities or are you being led by somebody else’s beat and my word would be, not just find out for yourself, ask and then do it.

04:00 END

Prison Chaplain Bill S began his working life as a teacher, until his faith led him to a career in the church. He felt strongly that he wanted to work directly with people who need help and says "Prison days can be up and down. Some days you'll think, yeah it's been a good day, I've achieved something and somebody's actually picked up on something, and gone with that and that's been good to see."

More information about Clergy

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Data powered by LMI For All
£27,040
average salary

The UK average salary is £28,758

38
average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

40%  female  60%  male 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Description

Members of the clergy provide spiritual motivation and guidance, conduct worship according to the form of service of a particular faith/denomination and perform related functions associated with religious beliefs and practices.

Qualifications

Entrants typically possess a degree or equivalent qualification. Candidates for the clergy according to the Christian faith must pass a residential selection procedure and attend theological college where training includes theological instruction and practical pastoral experience. Training can last up to six years depending upon age, experience and denomination. Entry routes for other religious professionals will vary according to the particular faith concerned.

Tasks

  • Prepares and delivers sermons and talks and leads congregation in worship;
  • Interprets doctrines and instructs intending clergy members in religious principles and practices;
  • Provides and arranges the provision of religious instruction to congregation members;
  • Performs marriages, funerals, baptisms and other special religious rites;
  • Provides pastoral care to members of the congregation in their homes and in hospitals and counsels those in need of spiritual or moral guidance;
  • Undertakes administration and social duties as required.
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