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Prison Chaplain Named Unsung Hero

Wednesday April 10 2019

The Rev Jill Clancy (right) receives her award from Julia Rogers, managing director, SERCO Justice and Immigration

A Church of Scotland chaplain has been named the ‘unsung hero’ of Kilmarnock prison.

The Rev Jill Clancy was given the award at a ball marking the 20th anniversary of SERCO running HMP Kilmarnock, where she has been chaplain since 2013.

Jill said: “I had no idea I’d be getting the award until they started to announce it. I knew there were going to be awards but I thought it would be for long service and the like, I didn’t think there was a category I could be included in.

“It means a lot to me to have been recognised, but also that the Chaplaincy has been recognised for the important work we do. We don’t really think people realise what we do.

“We’re here for people with faith and no faith. The majority of my work is pastoral care – just sitting with people one-to-one, listening to them, praying with them if that’s what they want, and of course every week we lead worship for the men. It is exciting when we see them  grow in their faith and it has been a privilege to conduct baptisms of men whose lives have changed.

We are there for staff as well, being a listening ear and conducting marriages, funerals of staff members’ parents, and baptisms as well. We do courses, we lead people to faith – there is a huge amount we do.”
Jill left the parish ministry after 20 years in 2017 to work full-time for the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), splitting her time between Kilmarnock (where she had previously worked part-time) and HMP Barlinnie.
She said it was ‘a huge thing’ to leave the parish, but one that she believes God has prepared her for, and that she is still very much a minister of the Church of Scotland – playing a full part in the Presbytery of Irvine and Kilmarnock, and preaching whenever she is asked.

She added that her wish was that more churches would get involved in helping people coming out of prison into their communities: “The SPS motto is ‘unlocking potential, transforming lives’. Well, that’s what the chaplaincy has been doing all these years through the Lord. Jesus transforms lives and unlocks potential.

“We work with prisoners for their release. We are trying to enable them to be the people they are meant to be, and we hope and pray churches can continue that work. Life’s not easy for ex-offenders, and we would love the Church of Scotland to get behind them and be there for them.”

Jill can be contacted on Jill.Clancy@sps.pnn.gov.uk


Dorothy Getliffe DCS - Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

“Well done Jill. Bet you have a prison community choir too! Gifted lady....
Dot Getliffe (Deacon Pink)”

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