Thursday, September 27, 2012

Theology and Practice of Chaplaincy: new taught topic

On Thursday the Ministries Studies Committee for the Bachelor of Ministry approved a new topic

Theology and Practice of Chaplaincy

It’s part of a larger focus that has been emerging, around training in chaplaincy, which is such a crucial ministry in contemporary mission. So part of my work over the last months has been identifying a potential lecturer and then working with various folk on the Uniting College team on the necessary paperwork.

Here is some of the description –

This unit will introduce students to practices, images and theological themes in a practical theology of chaplaincy. This will include developing skills and habits in areas of pastoral care, mission, leadership and worship from the perspective of actual human experience. This unit will consider a range of questions including

1. How do we discern God in the face of people with whom we engage in ministry?
2. How does the God we see present in the ’embodied other’ inform a theological understanding of self that includes vulnerability, mutuality, spirituality, the love of God, belonging and justice?
3. How might historic and contemporary pastoral thinkers inform our understanding?
4. How might a theology of personhood from below shape ministry practice?
5. What skills and habits enable a life-giving practice of chaplaincy?

Lectures, tutorials and case studies will explore issues in the Christian life from the perspective of the socially marginalised. This will include a survey of the historical tradition.

We’re hoping to see this new topic being offered in Semester 2, 2013, alongside the first run of a topic specifically for school chaplaincy. Plus there might be a sort of “masterclass” in chaplaincy, a cohort who focus on the place of lament in the ministry and mission of chaplaincy.

All quite exciting IMHO

Posted by steve at 06:49 PM


  1. There might be a perspective from the mix of socially marginalised and those not so marginalised in my Mainstreet chaplaincy experience – eg chaplaincy to hospitality workers and their employment issues working in Mainstreet.

    Comment by Bruce Grindlay — August 2, 2013 @ 9:35 am

  2. Absolutely. The question for me is whether it belongs here, or whether we need a second paper, hence my post “chaplaincy everywhere” –

    which wondered if there is a distinction between institutional settings and more organic, entreprenurial settings. Do we do it all in one topic, or is it helpful to have a further topic?


    Comment by steve — August 2, 2013 @ 9:56 am

  3. I agree that chaplaincy everywhere permits a blossoming of the notion of chaplaincy to be considered in other settings. Cate Adams in Aberdeen exercises a chaplaincy to shop employees in a Mall type setting. She has proved helpful to me in considering chaplaincy in Mainstreet.

    Comment by Bruce Grindlay — August 2, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

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