Chaplaincy

We are the chaplaincy team for the YMCAs in Ireland. In 2020, we launched our new Chaplaincy Programme seeking to support YMCA young people, staff, families, and communities.

We piloted a new training programme to place volunteer lay (not ordained) chaplains in our YMCAs. We started training participants in October 2020 through February 2021 (see training sessions below). We had our first set of volunteer chaplains start in the new role March 2021.

We are delighted to be in our second round of chaplains! We are hoping to place chaplains in our Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Greenhill/Newcastle, and Portadown centres. If you are interested in volunteering with us, email our National Coordinating Chaplain, Anne, for more information about the programme. Applications for the 2022/23 cohort are now closed.

Chaplaincy Training Programme

(October 2022 – January 2023)

Chaplaincy Everywhere Training Sessions*

  1. Caught Up in the Mission of God
  2. As Christ in the World
  3. The Spirit of Chaplaincy
  4. The Cloak of Chaplaincy
  5. What Chaplains Do 
  6. Chaplaincy in Today’s World

*learn more about the Chaplaincy Everywhere course here.

Practical Skills Sessions

  1. Coaching and Facilitation skills facilitated by Sam Moore and Ann Marie Kerr, Leadership Development Trainers at Innovista Ireland 
  2. Bereavement & Boundaries facilitated by Joan Singleton, Irish Bible Institute Tutor, Pastoral Care and Ministry & Personal Development Programme Supervisor 
  3. Listening Skills facilitated by Dianne Morris, Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Supervisor 
  4. Mental Health First Aid facilitated by Tom Tate, Counsellor, Psychotherapist & Workshop Facilitator at WhyMind 

What’s happening…

monthly prayer time

Since 1904, World YMCA has teamed up with the YWCA to host a week of prayer. Off the back of these, we (YMCAs & YWCAs) continue to pray monthly with one another. Join us the FIRST Thursday of the month at 10.30AM on Google Meet for 30 minutes! Email Anne for more details or click this link to join: https://meet.google.com/eet-ovdj-phc

The annual Week of Prayer that the World YMCAs & YWCAs put on was Nov. 13-19, 2022. The theme was: “Ignite: Praying the Impact” – YMCA Vision 2030 & YWCA Goal 2035 & the values it is focusing on are: Wholeness, Hope, Responsibility, & Dignity


Self Care & Reflection Resources

Self care is vital to holistic health, practicing reflection, good rhythms, and more can boost our health for our mind, body, & spirit. 

Here’s a self care resource which might be helpful to do now and then review in a few months time. 

Contact us if you’d like help with these or to simply chat through them or more guidance in your reflection.


Think reflect, pray, & take action around the climate crisis? 🌍

Breige O’Hare, writer, spiritual director and facilitator, has put together a lovely resource that can help inform and guide our prayers and reflections. Download it here:


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Team

We are the YMCA’s volunteer team of chaplains in Ireland. (tap or hover to see bio) Coordinating Chaplain contact: chaplaincoordinator@ymca-ireland.net

Belfast Chaplain

Cork Chaplain

Dublin Chaplains

Portadown Chaplains

Anne Baenziger

Anne Baenziger

National Coordinating Chaplain

Anne moved to Dublin from the States in 2013. She's been leading Breathe, a pioneer ministry of the Methodist Church in Ireland & from 2013-2020 she coordinated a youth leadership programme in Dublin schools with Innovista Ireland. Since June 2020, she has taken on this new role to develop our chaplaincy programme. She's based in Dublin where you will find her cycling, drinking coffee, & watching movies.

Laura Bell

Laura Bell

Belfast Chaplain

Laura is married to her teenage sweetheart Chris & they currently live in Belfast with their 2 girls, Maeve and Fia. She is the Pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in South Belfast. She's an activist, loves people, enjoys working collaboratively on lots of projects, & is an aspiring house renovator. She enjoys sports, travel, reading, movies, inspirational people & good conversations.

Merle Patterson

Merle Patterson

Portadown Chaplain

Merle is married to Mark, who is the Senior Pastor in Lurgan Elim. They have 4 children - Joshua (17), Caleb (15), Daniel (13) & Anaya (11) (and a British Bulldog - Winston!). She's a BA Hons in Applied Theology and recently graduated from Queen’s with a PGCE. She's passionate about Jesus and living for Him. She loves to help & disciple people. She enjoys walks in the local park, crocheting, & making jam!

Gary Sweetman

Gary Sweetman

Portadown Chaplain

Gary is 37 years of age, originally from Dublin but has been living in the Ulster area for the past 7 years. He like Liverpool Football Club, Formula 1 & taking long walks especially in the morning. His biggest dislike are spiders.

Evancia Aboussou

Evancia Aboussou

Cork Chaplain

Evancia has been living in Cork since 2017. She is working as a Software Quality Analyst. If you don’t find her at her work desk, she will probably be walking, running, playing some music, or hanging out with her friends or the teens of her church. She sometimes goes by Eva.

Courtney Lynch

Courtney Lynch

Dublin Chaplain

Courtney has been living in Dublin/Wicklow for almost 2 years. She loves playing and listening to music and animals, especially dogs. When not at work you can find her bordering/ rock climbing (indoors), hiking in the Wicklow Mountains, or reading while drinking tea.

Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence

Dublin Chaplain

Trevor is married to Alicia and a father & step-father to 7 children and grandfather of 2. He works in homeless services at the Salvation Army in Dublin City. He is also continuing his studies at the Irish Bible Institute at Certificate level (Applied Theology) but will hopefully progress to Degree this year!

Cherise Boraski

Cherise Boraski

Dublin Chaplain

Cherise is 23 years old, Canadian, & has lived in Ireland for the last 5 years. Originally, she planned on being a secondary school teacher but she found her passion is for youth work & pastoral care within the community. She really enjoys playing music & having a jam session with her friends, as well as going on hikes.


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