10 March 2010
Baptist chaplain heads to Vancouver
On the 4th March, Carolyn Skinner headed to Vancouver to be a chaplain at the Paralympics. The athletes are arriving and the atmosphere in the athletes village and near the tracks is exciting.
Rev Skinner, a Baptist minister who has a huge passion for sports and grew up watching athletics, the Olympics and the tennis, she has met athletes from across the world including blind alpine skiers and wheelchair skiers. She has joined a team of chaplains from several different countries, who will be providing care and welfare to the athletes taking part in the Paralympics.
The multi-faith centre, where the team are based, is in the centre of the Athletes' village and it offers an available space or listening to for chilling and different counselling and prayer rooms. It was also there that they had the book of remembrance for the Georgian luger who died in practice the day before the Olympics.
Carolyn said: "It felt such a privilege to watch the opening ceremony and feel a part of it; to see athletes that we have met and talked to about God. I have a whole new appreciation and understanding of Paralympic Games now. These athletes are absolutely amazing and an incredible inspiration. It is such an honour and gift to be here.
"The opportunity for God to use my sports passion is fantastic. The chaplaincy is about being available for those who wish to talk through issues in a safe environment and being available for those who want to talk about God and faith and explore the spiritual dimension of life.
"Those in the sporting world face many issues such as success, failure, injury, homesickness, decision making, fear of the future, relationships etc and often value a neutral listening ear. I have a real passion to see the kingdom come into the leisure industry, which obviously includes sport."
Carolyn has been a chaplain at Royal Ascot and has been involved with SCORE, a UK Sports Chaplaincy Organisation for a few years. The London Baptist Association has supported her and Rev Skinner is one of only two chaplains from the UK at the Paralympics.