August - Kathryn Wright, Dundee Street Chaplains
The CNI Network, Inspire Magazine Community Hero for August is Kathryn Wright from Dundee Street Chaplains.
Kathryn started with Street Chaplains in 2016 and has been with the team on and off as life allows. Kathryn came to faith around six months before joining the team
“Most of my life I had zero interest in faith and I reached a point in my life where I was going to end it.
“God intervened quite dramatically and gave me a new life.
“This changed the world for me and it changed how I viewed the world around me as well.
Kathryn met Andy Burns, a fellow back row dweller at Central Baptist Church, Dundee, and he told her about Street Chaplains which he founded in 2000.
“Andy chatted to me and asked if I was an insomniac and didn’t mind missing out on sleep.”
Kathryn wasn’t sure if she was the kind of person who was or should be involved in this work due to a lifelong shyness. Kathryn explained,
“I am a mess, who am I to be going out and helping someone else?”
However Kathryn was inspired by the story in Luke 8:39 where Jesus healed the demon possessed man and then told him to go and tell people what had happened. This brought about a dramatic change for Kathryn and as such she was challenged to go and meet people where she could share her faith.
“The Street Chaplains meet and share care and compassion with people who are hurting, the ones falling out of the bars drunk and the LGBTQ community.
“These are the people who often don’t have any or much positive Christian influence in their lives.
“They know bits and pieces and some words but, like myself before 2016, have a deep fear of the church and Christians.
Kathryn felt despite the fact she isn’t the best at talking to people, that she wouldn't have all the answers and had as much need as those the Street Chaplains were seeking to help, she knew this was something she wanted to be involved in.
“The Street Chaplains team welcomed me with open arms and are an inspiration to work with.
“They feel like a family and I am privileged to be part of that.
“It is amazing the conversations you end up having with people - people you wouldn’t meet in other circumstances.”
The key to the work of Street Chaplains is serving people and serving the community. In this role of serving the team meet a wide range of fascinating and interesting people and one night Kathryn ended up talking to a group of drunk Santa’s about Jesus!
“It does bring home that it is not about us, it is not about our ability, God is the one doing the work and he shows us what to do - we need to trust in that.”
Kathryn’s paid work is a Member Pioneer at the Co-Op supermarket in Broughty Ferry. This role sees Kathryn connecting with local groups and organisations to offer support and networking with each other to help build more resilience in the community.
“At the moment we are aiming to help with food poverty and giving away excess stock to enable charities to feed the most vulnerable in the community.”
In summer 2019 Kathryn started part time Theological Studies at Highland Theological College.
“This has been amazing and to have the time to be able to do this is a privilege.
“It is hard work and very challenging but is absolutely worth it.”
Over the last four years since the dramatic change when Kathryn became a follower of Jesus, she is filled with a sense that this life is to be lived for God and as such has a deep desire to serve and show that love to other people.