BMJ: Chaplaincy for the 21st century

BMJ has published an article on the nature of chaplaincy in the 21st century, which includes spiritual care “for people of all religions and none.” Editor Richard Hurley’s article can be found here; an excerpt is below:

“Lots of people perceive chaplaincy as a purely religious service. It isn’t,” says Simon O’Donoghue, head of pastoral support at Humanists UK, a charity that promotes non-religious people’s interests.

Since 2015, guidance from NHS England has been that non-religious people should have the same opportunities as religious people to speak to someone like minded in care settings.1 It’s down to individual trusts to provide chaplaincy, defined broadly as pastoral, spiritual, and religious care.

In the beginning, the Church of England offered religious support in NHS hospitals; other Christian groups and, more recently, other faiths followed suit. Today’s chaplaincy teams include Muslim imams and Jewish rabbis, as well as Catholics or Anglicans—and increasing numbers of non-religious, pastoral support carers.