You may have seen me around at home matches over the last couple of seasons … I am David Tully.
The Northern League for many years had one chaplain, Rev Leo Osborn, who covered all the clubs in both divisions. He retired two years ago and he tried to get the clubs covered in a different way asking a number of us in the area to take on a few clubs each. Living and working In Chester-le-Street, I agreed to pop in to three local clubs: Chester-le-Street, Birtley Town and Durham City, which I have been doing.
Being a sports club chaplain is not just about coming to games – it is about being available to help anyone to do with the club in any pastoral situations. It includes all sorts of things like times of family illness, bereavement, relationship breakdown, depression, problems with gambling. I am available to help anyone who wants it – players, coaches, volunteers, supporters; to people of any faith, uncertain faith or no faith.
Obviously I do so as a Christian minister. My friend Leo Osborn is a Methodist minister – I am in the Church of England and my main work and responsibility is as Rector in charge of the parish church of St Mary and St Cuthbert’s in the town centre.
Sports chaplaincy has grown very rapidly in recent years – last time I heard, 72 of the 92 Premier League and EFL clubs have a chaplain. We have the support of and receive training from a national organisation Sports Chaplaincy UK. I was chaplain to Newcastle United from 1992-2009 when I had churches in Newcastle and then Gateshead. I appreciate that the setting of a Northern League club is very different.
My phone numbers are 0191 388 4027 or 07947 433125 and email firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to get in touch or have a word at a game.