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Mapping Chaplaincy in Cornwall: A Report

Mapping Chaplaincy in Cornwall: A Report

Chaplains are increasingly the face of public religion. This report explores the chaplaincy landscape of Cornwall. (2017)

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A new audit of chaplains in Cornwall has shown today’s chaplains are now to be found not just in their more traditional habitats, such as hospitals, schools, and the military, but in a variety of settings, including lifeboats and ballet companies, ambulances and airports. Theos carried out the audit to try to understand the extraordinary growth of the chaplaincy phenomenon today. It follows on from previous work in 2015 culminating in the report A Very Modern Ministry: Chaplaincy in the UK.

The project included a detailed mapping of chaplains in Cornwall between November 2016 and April 2017. It discovered that there are 198 chaplains operating in the county. They were working in 26 different fields including Penlee Lifeboat, Truro Agricultural Chaplaincy, Cornwall Airport Newquay and the College of the Bards of The Gorseth Kernow. The vast majority are volunteers with only 9% working full–time, and only 11.5% of Cornwall’s chaplains receiving a salary or stipend for their work.

Christians dominate the chaplaincy scene in Cornwall (95% of the total), there being virtually no representation from other faith traditions. The study did reveal, however a small number of chaplains who identify as non–religious/humanists. Their presence may signal a slow but steady expansion in non–religious chaplaincy, which would be consistent with the steady rise in the number of the ‘non–religious’ in Cornwall, and the UK more generally. This confirms a changing chaplaincy landscape, with Christian chaplains still dominating, but minority faiths and belief groups having a growing chaplaincy involvement.

Ben Ryan, Researcher at Theos said that “the research underlines the extraordinary growth of chaplaincy today. In a country in which we are constantly told that faith is on the decline chaplains are providing pastoral and spiritual support across an enormous range of settings and demonstrating that faith groups are willing and able to contribute something valuable to public life in the UK. Chaplains are fast becoming the public face of religion”.  

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