The Study of Good Practice in Chaplaincy

BuddhaWhat is good practice in chaplaincy? This varies due the services given to institutions and groups in the community needful of chaplaincy services. Several surveys of chaplaincy praxis are given.

Good Practice Chaplaincy

A chaplain has many tasks and functions – Aitken (2010) identified 19 in his study of South Australian hospital chaplains. Carey and Rumbold (2015) in a study of Salvation Army chaplains and their managers have on the basis of the literature outlined the functions and activities of a chaplain in the following terms:
Jewish prison chaplain

  • Chaplains constitute a powerful reminder of the healing, sustaining, guiding and reconciling power of religious faith when religious beliefs or practices are tightly interwoven with the cultural context
  • Chaplains provide supportive spiritual care through empathetic listening, demonstrating an understanding of persons in distress
  • Chaplains design and lead religious ceremonies of worship and ritual
  • Chaplains educate staff teams and other stakeholders regarding the relationship of spiritual and religious issues
  • Chaplains encourage and support research activities to assess the effectiveness of providing spiritual care
  • Chaplains reach across faith group boundaries and do not proselytise and also protect clients from being confronted by other, unwelcome forms of spiritual intrusion
  • Chaplains serve as members of multidisciplinary care teams
  • Chaplains participate in ethical decision making across a full range of situations
  • Chaplains act as mediators and reconcilers for those who need a voice (Carey & Rumbold 2015)

On the basis of the data, they enumerated the desirable personal qualities for a good communicator as
Koran and prayer beads
(1) good listener and good communicator
(2) interested in the development and encouragement of others
(3) able to build rapport with a variety of people
(4) interested in community and organisational development
(5) having both humility and confidence
(6) broadminded and flexible in temperament
(7) gracious, non-judgemental and non-discriminatory while tolerant of others’ circumstances
(8) able to think and act holistically, creatively, opportunistically and courageously and
(9) able to think and act justly and ethically.

In terms of education and training, the chaplain ought:~

(i) to have a good and broad knowledge base in both secular and religious/spiritual matters
(ii) be qualified at the undergraduate level in both secular and religious/spiritual degrees
(iii) be qualified at the postgraduate level in either secular or religious/spiritual degrees
(iv) be trained in Clinical Pastoral Education or an equivalent training program or deep relevant experience and
(v) be specialist trained for the particular context (welfare, prison, universities, schools, military etc.)
the hospital coridoor
Carey and Rumbold (2015) finally on the basis of their empirical evidence outline the desirable professional qualities of a chaplain:

  • Be non-evangelical and non-proselytizing
  • Have an ‘incarnational’ understanding of ministry (i.e. presence/ participation for the benefit of others
  • Be previously competent and capable in chaplaincy or other forms of non-chaplaincy positions
  • Capable of undertaking religious/pastoral/spiritual interventions in terms of assessments, support and advocacy, counselling, education and ritual and worship activities relevant to the context
  • Be respectful and tolerant for different religious and spiritual beliefs and practices
  • Have intercollegiate collaborative respect for other non-chaplain professionals
  • Have ecumenical and interfaith respect for those from other denominations and other faith traditions
  • Have the ability to proclaim faith and theology relevant and sensitive to personnel and to context
  • Develop the awareness of the cultural differences between chaplaincy and other forms of ministry
  • Be respectful of professional and ethical boundaries (e.g. confidentiality, referrals etc.)
  • Be competent to complete administrative functions (e.g. reports, data collections etc.) and
  • Be endorsed to practice by recognized and authorized religious institutions or spiritual entities

      Orthodox military chaplains in the Ukraine
      Orthodox military chaplains in the Ukraine



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