Reflections from the Chair - December 2021

6th December 2021


Defining chaplaincy.

When I was in year 4 the chaplain helped me a lot.  When I was angry, she helped.  She had a big bear in her room; afterward, I felt happy.  The chaplain does interesting things about Jesus.  I’m a Muslim, I’m still interested. A Syrian Refugee at a primary school.

We’re not a church school, but it’s great to know that there is someone there to offload to, with a listening ear and a sympathetic word.  In what have been some dark days, the chaplain presents the still, small voice of calm and a quiet but constant flicker of hope.  A headteacher.

 The chaplaincy is set up to be welcoming for people of different backgrounds and contexts and cultures.  I’ve connected with other people and formed friendships through the chaplaincy, with people I wouldn’t normally spend time with.  The chaplaincy gave me hope that Christianity could be for me.  They gave me a vision of the church family before I’d met the church. A university student.

I’ve said many times, because I believe it to be true, that there are as many models of chaplaincy as of the local church.  The diversity of chaplaincies and the power of narrative, means that stories will continue to be part of the way in which we can define chaplaincy.

Yet we have also spent time recently listening to a wide range of chaplaincy stakeholders and from the conversations, we have drawn up the following definition.

Chaplaincy enables everyone to flourish through an unconditional offer of listening, accompanying presence, prayerful support, spiritual leadership and compassion to all who share life in the school/college community.


 What do you think?


Or a few thoughts on Chaplaincy from Fr David O’Malley, of the Salesians.  He recently described chaplaincy as:

Mystic, missionary and martyr, safeguarding the spiritual treasures of the community, offering stillness and prayer.  If you get as busy as the staff, you’ve gone over to the dark side

Finally, someone who is currently exploring chaplaincy said that chaplains ‘do life with people’.  We pray that through that ‘living with’, we may all flourish and find abundant life.


You can view this reflection here:



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