“I just feel this is what I should be doing”
Rev Sheena Orr, Chaplaincy Advisor to the Scottish Prison Service, talks about providing support for people on the edge, working in an interfaith team, and drawing deeply on her spiritual resources.
“I’ve always been drawn to people on the edge, people on the margin and I was doing some work looking at how churches could get involved with ex-offenders. I started going into prisons as part of that work and I just felt at home
“I like to think of it as the A&E ward of the parish with all the tragic and difficult cases in one place.
“A lot of what we do is just being with people in the situation they find themselves in at the particular time, just being there, letting them know there’s somebody who cares, and if things are happening in their lives we’re there without any other agenda… non-judgemental, confidential.
“We never ask them what they’ve done, we take them as they are as people.
“I think God is very much here. God is everywhere, even moreso here, you could argue, with those who are suffering, marginalised and stigmatised. You have to draw deeply on your spiritual resources, on God, to deal with all the things you deal with. You couldn’t do the job if you took it all home with you – that’s the wonderful thing about being a Christian, you can say ‘here God you take it all’.
“The phrase in my head is ‘I can do no other’. I just feel this is what I should be doing. It’s an exciting job, working in a team with other ministers and a multi-faith context and an environment where anything can happen at any time.”