Theos is committed to researching and analysing the interaction of religion and society in the UK. To that end we have produced a range of reports on areas as disparate as religion and law, welfare, politics and economics. Our latest report A Very Modern Ministry: Chaplaincy in the UK looks at a particularly direct point of contact between religion and society: chaplains.
Chaplains, as the report makes clear, are everywhere. Where once at least in the public imagination chaplains worked in a limited range of institutional settings (prisons, the military, hospitals, schools and universities) and were almost all Anglican, today the breadth in this ministry is extraordinary.
There are chaplains in ports, airports, public transport, police, town centres, shopping centres, sports clubs and even a casino (among many, many others). They include chaplains from just about every faith group in the UK and even (though they operate under a different name) from those of no faith.
To mark the release of this report and reflect on both the scope and future of chaplaincy we have collected a series of blogs which will be released each day over the coming week or so.
Dr Andrew Todd, the Director of the Cardiff Centre for Chaplaincy Studies will reflect on the scope and range of chaplaincy and its future trajectory. Jo Bryant, a PhD student studying chaplaincy at Cardiff University looks at the phenomenon of minority faith chaplaincy and areas for future research.
Rev Lindsay Meader provides a reflection from her own ministry in the often overlooked world of theatre chaplaincy, as she is the senior chaplain to Theatre Chaplaincy UK. Also reporting on her own experience is Theos’ Maddy Fry who reflects on her time spent as a chaplaincy assistant to a university chaplaincy.
Providing a different perspective will be David Savage, who is the Head of Pastoral Support for the British Humanist Association. David’s contribution focuses on the challenge of meeting the pastoral needs of the non-religious, particularly in an NHS context, and how that might impact upon the future of chaplaincy.
Finally, to close the series as the report’s author I’m going to take the chance to speculate about how chaplaincy more broadly might serve as a particular model for the future of interaction between religion and society.
Each of the blog's authors speak for themselves and do not necessarily agree with the report, its author, or each other on any particular point!
Ben Ryan is a researcher at Theos and author of Theos’ new report A Very Modern Ministry: Chaplaincy in the UK
Image from bbc.co.uk, available in the public domain.