Spiritual Care Week, October 25-31, 2020

Collaborative Health Care: Chaplains Complete the PictureSpiritual Care Week/Pastoral Care Week is hosted by The COMISS Network: The Network on Ministry in Specialized Settings. The first Pastoral Care Week was held in October 1985. Since then it has grown beyond national to international proportions. This year, 2020, the theme is Collaborative Health Care: Chaplains Complete the Picture.


The celebration of Spiritual Care Week provides an opportunity for chaplains and pastoral care counsellors, educators and providers to share their story and to celebrate various ministries. More specifically, the established objectives of the Spiritual Care Week Committee outline the scope of Spiritual Care Week observance:

  • To celebrate the education for and practice of spiritual care through professional chaplaincy and pastoral counselling.
  • To interpret and promote pastoral care.
  • To honour and celebrate all practitioners of pastoral care.
  • To express appreciation to institutions and their staff who support pastoral care ministries.
  • To publicise the work of pastoral care organisations affiliated with COMISS.
  • To promote continuing education for clergy, laity, and institutional employees regarding the value of pastoral care.

Each year a new theme brings to the light a certain aspect of spiritual care as a focus. A new theme invites us to new and creative ways to tell the story of spiritual care.

This Year’s Theme

Collaborative Health Care: Chaplains Complete the Picture
Spiritual Care Week: October 25-31, 2020
Theme Interpretation

Pastoral Care Week 2020Sometimes a picture is more informative and revealing than either words or actions, referencing the thought, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Collaborative Healthcare: Chaplains Complete the Picture encourages professionals and constituents across the healthcare continuum to view the work of chaplains as part of an image that conveys inclusive healthcare practices among spiritual care practitioners. Viewing chaplains through a lens whereby they collaborate to provide holistic interdisciplinary care, that otherwise would not be complete if the chaplain were not included.

The lens acts as a focal point to capture what is considered important and conceptualises messages created in thoughts as images. The intent and perhaps purpose, is to reveal moments captured for later reflection. Chaplains providing spiritual care in spaces that affirm and value their contribution can foster an impression or an idea about what is considered important for care. The question then is what are all of the components of practices, and services that shape the outcome of care? The chaplain needs to be within the frame of focus for healthcare professionals, patients and families who directly benefit from their presence and spiritual care services. All stakeholders look through the lens and assign a value for all providers in the frame, including the chaplain.

When chaplains are serving as part of an interdisciplinary team they are visible and regarded as an integral part of patient care. It is during these experiences, scope of practices, and interactions that the chaplain becomes one of the central subjects of focus of this picture and image. They are within the lens, within focus and demonstrate relevance as they give meaning to their trade as a chaplain.

Social Networking

Spiritual Care Week is a time of both celebration and education. Organisations and institutions throughout the world will recognise spiritual care providers as well as the spiritual care given through professional chaplaincy and pastoral counselling within our communities. The theme, “Collaborative Healthcare: Chaplains Complete the Picture” encourages professionals and constituents across the healthcare continuum to view the work of chaplains as part of an image that conveys inclusive healthcare practices among spiritual care practitioners. Chaplains are viewed through a lens whereby they collaborate to provide holistic interdisciplinary care, which otherwise would not be complete if the chaplain were not included.

Spiritual care has a wonderful history of cultures and religions which engage with a continuum of healthcare providers in supporting patients and families. This year’s theme emphasises collaboration with a focus on chaplains providing spiritual care in ways that affirm and value their contribution as well as foster an appreciation for what is considered important for holistic care. This lens serves as a focal point to capture what is considered important and conceptualises messages or thoughts as images for later reflection. Chaplains should be within the frame of focus for healthcare professionals, patients and families who directly benefit from their presence and spiritual care services.

When chaplains are serving as part of an interdisciplinary team they are visible and regarded as an integral part of patient care. It is during these experiences, scope of practices, and interactions that the chaplain becomes one of the central subjects of focus for best practices and optimal care. They are within the lens, within focus and demonstrate relevance as they give meaning to their trade as a chaplain.

​Spiritual Care Week is supported by the COMISS Network: The Network on Ministry in Specialised Settings (COMISS). COMISS members provide care in specialised settings such as hospitals, prisons, businesses, industries, long-term care facilities, pastoral counselling centres, hospices, military settings, nursing homes, corporations, congregations of sisters, priests and brothers, schools and universities throughout the world. Among the variety of celebrations will be hand-blessing ceremonies for health workers; open houses; poetry jams by clients; lecture series and luncheons. Resources to help recognise and celebrate spiritual care week are available at: www.spiritualcareweek.org or www.pastoralcareweek.org.

(You are welcome to use the logo and any resources on this website to promote your local celebration.)

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