The ministry of chaplains
Chaplains are people, lay and ordained, who are appointed by the Church to work in all kinds of places ‘beyond the walls of the church’.
There are many different kinds of chaplains. Some are paid but many are voluntary and lay, offering their time, skills and experience to support and bless people in their ordinary, everyday lives.
A number of chaplains are ordained ministers working full time as chaplains, although they are in the minority (however a number of ordained ministers do have chaplaincy roles, as part of their wider parish ministry).
Did you know...?
Among many other places, there are chaplains ministering in:
- Hospitals and hospices
- A wide range of workplaces
- Prisons, courts and with ex-offenders
- The armed forces and cadets
- Shopping centres and town centres
- Rural areas
- Schools and further education
- Emergency Services - Police, Fire and Ambulance Service
In all these places, chaplains try to show God’s love through offering care and support to people regardless of their religion or beliefs.
“A chaplain’s biggest gift is just to be present and listen.”
The ministry of Jesus was conducted largely outside the confines of the gathered community of faith. This is a context that chaplains recognise as they follow their call to discipleship, living out the gospel in word and deed, making real the ministry of Jesus in our time and place at people's point of need.
Your can find out more about workplace chaplaincy at the Northumbrian Industrial Workplace Chaplaincy website (NIM).
You can read the February Chaplain's Reflections here and a larger version of the February Action for Happiness here.
In our diverse society, chaplaincy has to show the greatest sensitivity and respect. Most chaplains now work in ecumenical teams, often alongside colleagues from other faiths and in a multi-faith/belief and secular environment. This is not an option, it is a necessity and it can also be a blessing.
Most chaplaincy also engages with people who do not know the Christian story or have any structured spiritual understanding (over half the people in Britain do not identify with any 'faith').
Chaplaincy can be a ‘hidden’ ministry too. Most people are amazed to find out that there are over 500 chaplains in the North East!