The Intimacy of Covid

Covid chaplain

Zen priest and hospital chaplain Tenku Ruff shares an intimate bond of uncertainty with Covid patients. She knows what they’re going through — because she’d had it herself.

Dizang asked Fayan, “Where are you going?”
Fayan said, “Around on pilgrimage.”
Dizang said, “What is the purpose of pilgrimage?”
Fayan said, “I don’t know.”
Dizang said, “Not knowing is most intimate.”
—Zen koan

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Relationships, Presence and Hope: University Chaplaincy during the COVID–19 Pandemic

UK University Chaplaincy

Chaplains and faith advisors have been on the frontline of the pandemic. This report explores the unique contributions of university chaplains during this time. (2021)

Throughout the pandemic, chaplains and faith advisors have been supporting the isolated, comforting the bereaved, and providing pastoral and spiritual care to anyone who needs it.

In universities, chaplains have faced a massive health crisis among students. In November 2020, a survey of 4,193 students conducted for the National Union of Students found that 52% said their mental health was worse than it was before the pandemic, but only 29% of those people had sought any help.

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Diploma of Chaplaincy

Eva Burrows CollegeEva Burrows College will deliver a nationally accredited Diploma of Chaplaincy delivered in face-to-face sessions as well as online learning in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Enrolment intakes commence in each state beginning with Melbourne in February of 2021.

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General Practice Chaplaincy Care and the Pandemic


Chaplaincy has been provided in primary care (General Practice surgeries) for over 20 years. There are various iterations across the United Kingdom, but their unifying purpose is person-centered holistic care delivered through listening and guidance.

The Pandemic – and lockdown – have presented both Primary Health Care and Chaplaincy in general practice with challenges, particularly with protection of primary care givers and health professionals, and General Practice Chaplains.

The most significant change for chaplains has been that all patient contact is now done by telephone, with visual cues and immediacy being lost. A small number of patients, however, appear to prefer telephone appointments, and some have accessed spiritual care who would otherwise not have been referred. One GP provided this quote from a patient who would not have been referred to, or attended, a face to face appointment, “I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off me. I didn’t realize how heavy the burden was until it was removed.”

Here, we offer excerpts from a Report for the Association of Chaplaincy in General Practice on Spiritual Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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Beliefs Nurture Chaplaincy: Chaplaincy Nurtures the Spirit

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterAn American Episcopal Priest reflects on over 25 years of working as a chaplain in a paediatric setting. How has his beliefs nurtured his clinical care of children and families? How have his experiences shaped his interpretation of clinical encounters? Bedside questions, he finds, are less about finding the right answer than about exploring possibilities, and wondering about new aspects of God that he, or the other person, have not glimpsed before.

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The Pagan as a Professional Chaplain

Pagan SymbolsPaganism – it is a word that can be understood in a number of different ways. Dictionary definitions vary quite widely from suggesting that Paganism is “the label used to identify those who do not believe in a divine” to “a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.” Can Pagans become professional Chaplains? Absolutely. Just like people in other faiths, Pagans can and are serving as professional Chaplains.

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Capability Framework – For Spiritual Care Practitioners in Health (2020)

Spiritual Health Association LogoThis edition of the Capability Framework builds on the strategic alignment introduced in 2016 with the National Common Health Capability Resource and the Allied Health: Credentialling, Competency and Capability Framework. The Framework strengthens and sharpens the focus on the core scope of practice for spiritual care practitioners working in the health sector.

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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.

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