By Ashleigh Bugg
At the upcoming CBF General Assembly in Birmingham, Tina Bailey, who is currently CBF field personnel, will be commissioned as a CBF-endorsed chaplain—expanding her official ministry role.
“It’s an amazing marriage,” Bailey said. “Chaplaincy, for me, is one more step of interfaith work. As field personnel, it is a very natural fit.”
Bailey serves alongside her husband, Jonathan, in Bali, Indonesia, through an arts community (Narwatsu) that welcomes people from around the world. “People are not always aware of how integrated the arts are in our everyday lives,” Bailey said. “They help govern just about everything we do.”
The Narwastu Community is made up of Balinese people, international students and others who have found their way to Bali to work and learn. It is a community focused on interfaith work which welcomes people of all backgrounds. “No matter what someone’s background, whether Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist or non-religious—we are there to help, regardless of whether their belief system is the same as ours or not,” Bailey affirmed.
“While the hub is our traditional music groups, we also have a dance and exploration group that focuses on self-discovery and imagination,” Bailey said. “We often have students in our home to whom we offer mentoring, care and hospitality.”
In May, the music group “Narwastu” performed at an annual celebration at a major temple that was a center for conflict resolution 900 years ago. The space is well-known in Bali. The group included at least four religious backgrounds and 10 nationalities, and the performance was both music and dance of traditional Balinese pieces.
In addition to her work with the arts community, Bailey personally volunteers in two prisons, one for women, the other for men. “I mentor by teaching an art program,” Bailey said. “I make it very clear that, while I am there as an artist, I am also an ordained minister. If spiritual care is needed, this is who I am. Anything I can offer is available for other people.”
By gaining endorsement as a chaplain, Bailey will be able to further her work in the prisons and beyond. “It is another solid credential that, while it is non-threatening, is very real and much needed in the prison system,” she said.
She maintains that her role as a chaplain allows her to care for people, no matter their position in life. For Bailey, chaplaincy and field work are a combination that makes sense.
“The nature of chaplaincy is that it is a spiritual vocation in a secular setting, whether that be in prisons, hospitals or the military,” Bailey said. “My job there is not to convert someone; it is to walk with them, to be a mentor and to help them get what they need.”
CBF Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Manager, Gerry Hutchinson, is excited for Bailey to become an endorsed Chaplain as well as she takes spiritual care into her prison ministries.
“Tina has a clear understanding that chaplaincy is a profession that brings spiritual care for people into essentially secular institutions,” said Hutchinson. “We are excited to endorse her to expand her access to the prison personnel where she serves. Plus, it is a ministry multiplier to provide endorsement to one of our CBF field personnel.”
Bailey believes chaplaincy is the right fit for her work because it does not have a hidden agenda. “It is care. It is walking the journey with someone in their darkest hours,” she said. “I did not seek out the prison; I was invited in seven years ago. And the experience changed my life”
Chaplaincy is also an appropriate role in an Indonesian context, “There is sometimes mistrust of others because of a fear of forced conversion,” Bailey said. “We don’t want to be seen in that way. Certain language is a barrier, while other language communicates the heart of what we’re doing, which is care.”
Bailey is enthusiastic about furthering her work with opportunities to branch out to other prisons in the area. “I’m excited about building on the possibilities for the women I work with,” Bailey said. “I’m seeing opportunities for them to be more creative. We had an exhibition where people from the outside could see the things we’re making and painting.”
In addition to facilitating weaving, knitting, and handicraft projects, Bailey was able to work with the guards and women within the prison to host a fashion show and display handmade clothing. “There were several dances as well as an exhibition. The wife of the mayor came with her friends; the media came, and all the clothes that were modeled were sold,” Bailey said. “Two weeks later, a Balinese designer who wanted to have some of the girls model her clothing in a fashion competition contacted the prison. It was a great opportunity for the women. They did an amazing job.”
Bailey says the key is to overcome barriers and help the imprisoned women re-enter society. “My hope is that, in demonstrating that these things are helpful, the perception that these women are ‘bad people’ because they are in prison will be lessened,” Bailey said. “Adding dignity to women’s lives and stopping the negative perception about the guards is long-term work. I want to be a positive resource for both guards and inmates.”
Bailey aims to create programs that will help the women be successful when they leave prison.
“It’s a delicate process,” she said. “You don’t want to shame anyone. You want to be there to help them achieve what they want.”
The breaking down of barriers is central to her work, both as field personnel and as chaplain.
“This is true whether the barriers are between the Church and the global community or between the artist and people with religious distinctions, cultural distinctions or even role distinctions within religious life,” she said.
It is important to look beyond positions and labels including that of pastor, field personnel, chaplain or lay person. “We must understand that we need to be authentic in what we do and that we are all on the same team,” Bailey said. “It’s about caring for other people and living out unconditional love.”
Bailey continues to follow this mandate through her work with CBF. “I want CBF to continue to strengthen and to love people regardless of any background or distinction, whether religious, cultural or gender-related. Simply love other people.”
Tina and Jonathan Bailey are CBF field personnel serving in Bali, Indonesia. Learn more about and support their ministry at www.cbf.net/bailey. Tina Bailey will be commissioned as a CBF-endorsed chaplain during the 2019 General Assembly in Birmingham, Ala.
The Baileys’ long-term presence in Bali is made possible by the CBF Offering for Global Missions. Join God’s mission in the world. Give to the Offering for Global Missions. 100 percent of your church’s gifts will be used to send CBF field personnel to share the Good News of Jesus Christ around the world. Go to www.cbf.net/transform and order your free OGM resources today.