Chaplains — who perform ministerial duties apart from a house of worship — have long been familiar faces at airports, hospitals, colleges, military bases, and prisons. They do ministry in the midst of everyday life. It’s not uncommon to see them in homeless shelters or in New York’s subway stations.
As fewer people identify with a specific religion or attend religious services, Americans may be more likely to meet a chaplain than a local clergy person at a congregation. In recent years, movement chaplains have become more visible in protests for immigrant rights, at rallies against white nationalist groups, and in demonstrations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Movement chaplaincy, as Micky ScottBey Jones described it, is in the “lineage of something that has been happening for a long time.”
“We just didn’t have a name for it,” said ScottBey Jones, the director of healing and resilience initiatives at Faith Matters Network, a Nashville, Tennessee-based group that equips faith leaders and community organizers with wellness resources.
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