First Baptist Church of Rahway, 177 Elm Ave., Rahway, New Jersey 07065 is a multi-cultural congregation that has a Blended English Service on Sunday Mornings, a Latino Service at 12:00, and a Service in Telugu at 3:30PM. For more information, call (732) 388-8626. Or click here to send an email. If you wish to help the Mission and Ministry of First Baptist financially click the Donate Button.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Race Track Chaplaincy


That’s often the first question raised when Rick Bunker, chaplain at Philadelphia Park Racetrack, mentions where he conducts his ministry. It helps when they learn that he primarily works with those people at Philadelphia Park. This number includes the hot walkers, grooms, exercise riders, pony riders, jockeys, trainers, and horse owners who work seven days a week year round. They care for about 1,500 horses at the 39 barns that make up the backside community at the track. Of the workers, 200 live in the 12 dorms provided at the track.

The chaplain’s day begins with a walk through the barns, making his track pastoral calls. Those morning visits give the chaplain the opportunity to learn the needs of the stable workers, arrange appointment times, and simply to offer a listening ear and helping hand. Greeting the exercise riders as they trot and gallop their horses also keeps him in touch with that group of people he serves.

Besides making the barn and backstretch visits, the chaplain leads the weekly AA/NA drug and alcohol meetings, conducts weekly chapel services, organizes special events, distributes clothing and other items to the workers, visits those in the hospital, conducts funerals and weddings, sits on the sports program committee and the dormitory representative council, provides regular counseling, and serves as a liaison for health care and education for the track personnel.

The chaplain’s office conducts several special events annually. Among these is the Annual Christmas Party, made possible by the horsemen’s association as well as churches throughout America. The children of track personnel receive gifts and each track worker living in the dorm receives gifts. It’s indeed a wonderful time for everyone.

The Chaplain’s office staff includes numerous volunteers from area churches and from racetrack personnel as well as two part-time paid staff.

Volunteers are vital to the work. Each week the Chaplain conducts a bi-lingual service, assisted by Mr. Rey Roque and Mrs. Hilda Garcia. A groom distributes clothing and other items donated by churches and individuals. Several of the stable employees help to provide transportation for those workers who need a ride for their appointments with a doctor or dentist.

The chaplain and council serve those at the track in order to share God’s great love through his son, Jesus Christ our Lord, seeking to make disciples by sharing the good news of what Christ has done for them.

To Learn More about the Philadelphia Division of Racetrack Chaplaincy of America go to;

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