AGM 2018

You are invited to the Annual General Meeting of Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy at St Mary’s Church on Tuesday 9th October 2018 at 7.30pm.  Come and find out more about the Chaplaincy as we move into a new chapter: recruiting more Street Angels and daytime Chaplains, arranging meetings with churches and groups who are interested in supporting the Chaplaincy, planning volunteer training for the New Year, and more … Meet our new Lead Chaplain, Frances Novillo, and ask your questions about what’s happening as our town and its Chaplaincy are renewed and refreshed by change and development.  It would be helpful if you could let us know if you’re coming by emailing or calling the office on 01923 227700.  Thank you - see you there!

Getting Started

Reflections from Frances Novillo, our new Lead Chaplain:

It's been three weeks (and a bit) since I started working as your Lead Chaplain here in Watford Town Centre.  I've met many of the Street Angels and their amazing Team Leaders who have kept the project running over the years.  I've heard from other agencies in the town, including the police and other charities, how valued the contribution of Street Angels is overnight at the weekends when our pubs and clubs are thriving.  We certainly had plenty to keep us busy on A-Level results night, celebrating with those who'd made their grades, providing slippers to some who could walk in high heels no longer, and helping into taxis one or two who'd maybe had a bit too much fun!  I've made contact with other organisations who provide chaplaincy in Watford, including Railway Mission UK, Sports Chaplaincy UK, YMCA, and Watford General Hospital, to pool our experience and learn from one another.  And I've found out more about how daytime Chaplains can add value to local businesses and retailers as they seek to support the well-being of their staff.  I'm drawing on the experience of similar chaplaincy services elsewhere, including Aylesbury Town Centre Chaplaincy, Bluewater, and Canary Wharf. 

I'd love to hear from you if you want to join our growing team of volunteers from a diverse range of local churches, as a Street Angel out and about overnight, or as a daytime Chaplain visiting local shops and businesses in the town centre.  As our town centre expands, may our chaplaincy service expand likewise.

Introducing Frances

Frances begins work at Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy on 30 July and will initially be working 30 hours a week.

Frances has been a lay minister in the Roman Catholic Church for over 20 years and comes to the Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy from working as a chaplain for Hertfordshire Police and the Luton & Dunstable Hospital. 

We are looking forward to getting to know her and working with her here in Watford. I’m sure you will have the opportunity to meet her soon!

What do we see?

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:26

What do we see?

When we are in Watford’s town centre what do we see? Are the building works a nuisance or are we excited about the potential of the intu extension? When we see someone sleeping in a shop doorway, do we ignore them or do we wish you could help? Are we frustrated by the busyness and the crowds or do we spot the individual who looks like they need to talk? Do we see a young drunk woman stumbling out of a club vomiting or do we see someone lonely, lost and searching for a love that never lets go?

How do we then respond to what we see around us? Do we act with kindness, patience and compassion? Do we turn to the Lord in prayer and bring before him those who are suffering? Do we get involved practically through becoming a town centre chaplain or a Street Angel?

Next time, you’re in the town centre, I’d encourage you to take a moment or two to stop, look around and ask God for his perspective on what you see - and then use that to fuel your prayers.

Let’s ask God to give us his compassion for the people who live, work, play and shop in Watford’s town centre.

Our vision

Slowly, we are seeing the new developments in Watford’s town centre take shape. After many months of demolition, dust and debris, the architectural structures and frameworks of the intu extension are visible. There is obviously still a long way to go but there is excitement growing at the town’s transformation.

The Watford Observer recently reported that the extension to intu (due to open autumn 2018) will create a 1.4 million square foot retail and leisure destination and Hertfordshire Life states that the rejuvenated shopping centre will bring Watford into ‘the independent CACI UK retail rankings’ top 20, confirming it as a premier shopping destination’. Jonathan Field of Watford BID says that ‘Watford is a town worth investing in’.

In a similar way, Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy is going through its own period of re-building. Just as the physical developments in the town centre are not complete yet, the Chaplaincy itself is still in the process of ‘building works’.

The psalmist wrote ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain’, The Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy trustees have been through a period of prayerfully seeking God’s will for the direction and vision of the charity. Our deep desire is for the Lord to ‘build the house’.

The secular world is investing in Watford’s town centre. How will we, the people of God, respond to the fresh challenge of town centre mission and ministry?


Meeting on 16th May

All are welcome at a general meeting on 16th May at 6.30pm at St Mary's Church, Watford. Come and be inspired by the vision God has laid on our heart for the next season of the Chaplaincy!