OxCEPT - The Church of England

The Oxford Centre for
Ecclesiology and Practical
Chaplaincy in schools:
new directions
Faith in Research
9th May 2012
Themes …
Realities/case studies
Theological ambivalences
Terminology (i)
What is a chaplain?
What is ‘chaplaincy’?
‘School chaplaincy’ vs ‘schools chaplaincy’ vs
‘chaplaincy in schools’
Terminology (ii)
‘a clergyperson who has been commissioned by a
faith group or an organisation to provide pastoral
service in an institution, organisation, or
governmental entity. (Hunter, 1990, 2005 p.136)
But: Clergyperson’? Commissioned? Faith group?
Pastoral service?
‘One (no longer always ordained, or male) who
ministers to an associational (non-territorial)
community in the name of the Church’?
‘Chaplaincy refers to the general activity
performed by a chaplain, which may include crisis
ministry, counselling, sacraments, worship,
education, help in ethical decision-making, staff
support, clergy contact and community or church
coordination.’ (Hunter, 1990, 2005 p.136) ?
So: ‘Anything a ‘chaplain’ does’?
Research suggests focus of ‘school chaplaincy’ is on
pastoral care and on worship and liturgy; also
Ballard (2009) suggests that a key to chaplaincy is
its ‘embedded’ nature.
‘School chaplaincy’ – the traditional, public school,
inherited model? Rooted in C19th public schools,
Dr Arnold…
‘Schools’ chaplaincy’ – a looser concept, more
inclusive of a wider range of schools?
‘Chaplaincy in schools’ – maybe a wider concept
still, including ad-hoc, ‘in-out’ chaplaincy or ‘parachaplaincy’.
There’s no theological Académie Française to
determine usage or meaning…
Usage changes meanings …
Where are we currently with the word ‘chaplaincy’?
A shifting concept it would be good to try to
stabilise somehow…
Also - what really counts as chaplaincy in the
current context of schools?
Image of ‘school chaplaincy’ in danger of being
stuck in the public school niche – see Alan Bennett
in ‘Beyond the Fringe’, ‘Forty Years On’; Lindsay
Anderson’s ‘If …’
If that’s what it still is, could we really take it
seriously as ministry?
The range of current practice in chaplaincy in
schools requires new understanding, new images.
Realities (i)
From public school origins, ‘embedded’ chaplaincy
is now widespread in C of E maintained secondary
schools and academies. Non-teaching chaplains
offer SMSC policy/support, liturgy, pastoral care.
Alongside this spread of embedded chaplaincy in
schools, there’s a rapid (but unquantified) growth
in ‘para-chaplaincy’ supplied by local/national
charities on an occasional basis.
Realities (ii)
A repository of experience and expertise in ‘school
chaplaincy’ exists among public school chaplains,
but this is highly context-specific: relating to places
which have chapels, regular liturgies, and a high
status for the embedded chaplain…
Newer initiatives in other contexts are drawing on
‘youth work’ methods and approaches, developing
distinctive expertise of their own… meaning a gap
opens up between different expressions of
Case studies: a Diocese
A ‘youth worker/chaplain’ model embedded in
diocesan secondary schools; recruitment via youth
dept; employment by diocese
Role embraces: assemblies, individual pastoral
care, advocacy, ad hoc contribution to classroom
teaching, Christian leadership, charity outreach.
Characteristic evangelical/charismatic heritage of
post-holders, lay status, youthful profile.
Case studies: a city Deanery
Recent Deanery-sourced initiative supported
financially by a diocesan mission fund; two other
local city schools (private and selective) have
school-supported chaplaincy, full and part-time.
Two C of E secondary schools are served two days
each week by two part-time lay chaplains, again
with youth work rather than ministerial
Role encompasses: assemblies, pastoral care, staff
Case studies: a local charity
Large industrial town, multi-ethnic population,
poor white working-class basis.
‘Schools work’ (cf youth work) of the charity is
funded by a range of churches and charities, and
encompasses support for excluded pupils; leading
assemblies; taking RE lessons; running Christian
groups. ‘In-out’ rather than embedded basis.
Again, a strong evangelical/charismatic base among
young, youth work trained staff – a desire to enable
unchurched teens to hear the gospel and find it
relevant, life-changing.
Case studies: prayer spaces…
Linking to the spirituality agenda, ‘prayer spaces in
schools’ (internet identity) works to create a
climate for reflection and prayer in the school
Offering ‘spiritual development’ they employ a
range of techniques, taking over spaces and
transforming them into places for reflection with
artwork, symbols, sounds…
Students are reportedly appreciative, and use the
opportunity to reflect on personal, emotional and
spiritual issues. A kind of in-school retreat?
Emerging themes
Converging practice from a range of theological
traditions? Evangelical/charismatic origins of
people who also employ Ignatian imaginative
But absence of catholic or liberal outreach into
schools in new initiatives: predominant presence of
evangelical/charismatic schools workers.
Discarded idioms: no longer about ‘accepting
Jesus’, ‘turning to Christ’, the language is now
about ‘developing spirituality’….
Theological ambivalences…
Is the ‘new’ chaplaincy or para-chaplaincy really
about making new Christians, through pre- or priorevangelism? Or is it about disinterested service to
the need of others?
Does the pastoral care focus of traditional,
embedded chaplaincy simply cover for evangelistic
intentions, or is it really different?
Bevans and Schroeder (2006) argue for three basic
types of theology: orthodox/conservative; liberal;
and radical/liberation. Which are driving the new
kinds of chaplaincy in the school context?
The Oxford Centre for
Ecclesiology and Practical