Presentation 2

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
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
• 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?

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