Talking Ministry - 'Deacons are committed to serve in collaboration with others'

A Church of Scotland deacon is at the forefront of work to help vulnerable people in Glasgow weather the COVID-19 storm.

Claire Herbert DCS, chaplain at the Lodging House Mission, has worked tirelessly with a small group of volunteers to adapt support services in wake of the building being closed for normal activities.

Claire Herbert DCS
Claire Herbert DCS

The charity is dedicated to providing care and support to homeless, vulnerable and socially excluded people.

Mrs Herbert, 45, is the third person to feature in a new series of in-depth monthly interviews called Talking Ministry.

She talks about her seven-year journey to become a member of Diaconate in a video.

Ministry of service

Mrs Herbert juggles her demanding but rewarding job with helping her husband, Craig, raise their four children, Ewan, 19, Amy, 18, Adam, 14, and Lauren, 12.

Mrs Herbert of East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire said: "COVID-19 has presented many challenges to the work that we do.

"Early in the pandemic, we took the difficult decision to close our day centre to the public and prevent social gathering.

"We've done a great deal of work over this last year to adapt our services so that we can continue to work to meet the changing needs of those who are experiencing homelessness.

"Our staff team have remained on furlough while our day centre has been closed so it's with a small team of dedicated volunteers that our late centre manager Stephen and I have worked tirelessly to serve anyone who came to us for help."

Supplies delivered

Mrs Herbert said donations to the Lodging House Mission in January 2020 exceeded normal levels and expectations.

"I made the joke that God was preparing us for something to come in the year ahead but I had little idea what we would actually be facing," she added.

"It's with the help of our supporters that we've collected a continuing supply of donations.

"Food, toiletries, clothing and other items to assist our partner agencies to respond to the needs of our many clients.

"We've developed relationships with agencies to help deliver supplies directly to temporary accommodation in hotels and hostels.

"We set up a free hot meal voucher scheme with a local takeaway premises so that no one needs to go without a hot meal and I've been running a dedicated chaplaincy line for prayer, bereavement and support since July."

God whom we serve

Mrs Herbert said the response has been made possible through continued relationship building with partner agencies, congregations and businesses.

"Deacons work collaboratively in their ministry and as a result I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to strengthen partnerships and to work and share resources so that we might multiply the effect of our impact all to the glory of God whom we serve," she added.