The Hidden Nature of Chaplaincy Hidden in the workplace: ‘When chaplaincy isn’t integrated into the rest of the institution, it becomes invisible, irrelevant; people don’t know how to relate to it, they don’t know what it is there for.’ Hidden from the church: ‘the frustrating bit is the lack of interest within the churches … nobody values the role, I don’t think, too much really.’ Volunteer police chaplain ‘I don’t think the church sees us.’ Volunteer workplace chaplain ‘How could the church better support chaplains?’ ‘By acknowledging that we exist.’ Some of the chaplains’ perceptions of the role • To take the love of God out to people and enabling people to experience that love • Doing the work of God; to make people not more religious but more human • From a standpoint of faith, helping people to understand who they are and what life is about • A presence which is first of all pastoral but then responds when people open up particular conversations Connections & Disconnections with the Church ‘There is a lot of disconnect going on’ fire service chaplain Disconnection from the local church ‘there’s a bit of disconnect I think between church and chaplaincy. There are some good words said from the church about the work of chaplaincy but I don’t think that often there is a great deal if understanding about what chaplaincy is and what it’s about and what we do.’ Hospital chaplain ‘they never ask me to preach on it, they’ve never asked me if I need any support in it. It’s completely separate.’ Volunteer police chaplain A recognition of mutual responsibility ‘I think it needs to run both ways; chaplains need to make efforts to engage with the church communities as much as the church needs to engage with chaplains.’ Hospital chaplain ‘The communication should go both ways.’ Hospital chaplains’ line manager Disconnection from the Diocese ‘It’s not good institutionally: it wants to empower lay people but when they get empowered then they want to control them … there are still elements [in the diocese] where I think people are not acknowledged in their gifting and the ministry that they have, particularly lay people who make up the majority of chaplains.’ Industrial Chaplain Disconnection from the National Church ‘Do I feel any connection with the church hierarchy? Which is mostly no. Generally, it seems that the church has little concern or care about what I do.’ Hospital chaplain ‘I don’t think it is seen as a key part of the church’s mission … I think that is a shame, because it seems to me that this is a major missional opportunity. Chaplaincy – it’s where people come across the church.’ Volunteer workplace chaplain The Church of England as a Connecting Mechanism • Lead commercial sector chaplain noted that it gave legitimacy to chaplaincy activities within certain companies • Industrial chaplain noted that the industry umbrella group for the diocese, mainly funded by the Church of England, provided a ‘nexus’ for people from mainline denominations, mostly lay, to explore volunteer chaplaincy • Volunteer fire service chaplain noted that being linked into the accountability structures within the Church of England provided legitimacy to her appointment within the hierarchical structure of the fire service ‘I think there can be a huge connection between what happens in the hospital and the work here and those aspects of meeting people where they are at, exploring faith, and I guess … that is what draws me to chaplaincy: the notion of being on the boundary, or the borderlands, between faith and whatever non-faith might be termed.’ Hospital chaplain In what ways could chaplains resource the church toward a greater understanding of faith, belief and spirituality in the contemporary cultural context?