It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Chris Jenkins
Obituary: Chris Jenkins (1960-2011)
It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Chris Jenkins. Chris had previously been unwell with leukaemia, but the treatment seemed to have been successful; however his illness returned at the beginning of this year and, despite undergoing further chemotherapy and the possibility of a bone marrow transplant at some point in the future, he died in hospital on 23 August 2011.
Chris was originally a member of a religious community, the Sacred Heart Fathers, and ordained priest in January 1987. After ordination he spent 10 years in youth ministry, followed by retreat work. He then started counselling training, firstly at St Anselms, subsequently at Physis and latterly at Manchester for his PhD.
Chris joined the executive of the Association for Pastoral and Spiritual Care and Counselling (APSCC) in 2003, serving first as Deputy Chair and then, from 2008-2011, as Chair. His commitment to APSCC was enormous, not only as Chair but also as editor of Thresholds, and webmaster for the division’s website. Under his leadership the membership of the division grew significantly, now standing at just over 1,000. He also contributed actively to the meetings of the Divisional and Forum Chairs’ meetings and, as Lynne Gabriel, former Chair of BACP, commented, ‘He was a true critical friend.’
Chris chaired the very successful APSCC 2009 conference and was instrumental in the planning for the 2011 conference, held in Cirencester in September, still sending suggestions and encouragement from hospital right up until his death. He regularly led workshops at BACP and other conferences, facilitating groups with his lively and engaging style. It was therefore both fitting and poignant that he was awarded a BACP Fellowship posthumously at the AGM in London on 14 November 2011 in the presence of members of his family, the award being received by one of his brothers.
In 2006 Chris completed his PhD exploring the impact on clients of excluding/pathologising their spirituality and some of his research and findings for his dissertation now form a chapter in Exploring Therapy, Spirituality and Healing (Palgrave 2011).
Chris was a larger than life figure with an enormous zest for living and a wide range of interests including cooking, photography, travel and playing the saxophone. He was, of course, a Roman Catholic priest and his Christian faith underpinned everything he did. Much of his recent work was for St Luke’s Centre in Manchester, where he was intimately involved in developing the unique work of this organisation and where he provided assessment, therapy and pastoral care. In his private practice he also offered supervision, spiritual direction and pastoral care and contributed to the developing field of pastoral supervision.
As a priest he was approachable and human; as a counsellor he was professional and gifted; as a friend he was warm and, above all, great fun! He will be missed by all who knew him.