The place of religion in public life continues to be a much-debated topic in Western nations. This book charts the changing role of hospital chaplains and examines through detailed case studies the realities of practice and the political debates which either threaten or sustain the service. This second edition includes a new introduction and updated material throughout to present fresh insights and research about chaplaincy, including in relation to New Atheism and the developing debate about secularism and religion in public life. Swift concludes that chaplains must do more to communicate the value of what they bring to the bedside.
Table of Contents
Contents: Foreword to the first edition; Foreword to the second edition; Preface; Introduction; A history of the chaplain; The chaplains’ professionalization; The political context; The battle of Worcester; The chaplain today: an auto-ethnography; Religion, secularization and spirituality; Theological voices and ventures; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
The Revd Dr Christopher Swift is from the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, UK. He has been a Health Care Chaplain since 1994 and Head of Chaplaincy at Leeds Teaching Hospitals since 2001. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Spirituality, Religion and Public Life at Leeds Metropolitan University and a past President of the College of Health Care Chaplains (2004-7).
Reviews of the first edition: ’The book I wanted to read when I first became a healthcare chaplain. As a novice chaplain, I wanted acquainting with the historical background of my new profession; a handle on the politics behind the emerging professional agenda of chaplaincy; and direction in understanding what spiritual care means in a non-religious environment.’ Reviews in Religion and Theology (reviewer Steve Nolan, UK) ’Swift’s book is for church historians, practical theologians, chaplains, health care professionals, and those embattled in the debate over society’s role in health care. Americans have been privy to a front row seat as politicians, insurance providers, lobbyists, assorted special-interest groups, and medical professionals debate health care in the USA. This is a must -read book if that debate is of interest to you.’ Journal of Religion, Disability & Health (reviewer Willard W.C. Ashley) ’This invaluable book will stand the test of time. Health care professionals will find it a constant point of reference as they wrestle with the issues both locally and nationally. Most importantly, there is a challenge here to the churches to take chaplaincy seriously as the frontier ministry it is.’ Paul Ballard, Cardiff University, UK ’A fascinating book written by a serving chaplain. ... provides a valuable insight into the opportunities and difficulties in 21st century chaplaincy. It deserves to be required reading for all those entering the profession.’ Theology (reviewer Derek J. Fraser) ’[Swift] has ignited the debate about what is truly of value in healthcare chaplaincy and how that value can be appreciated, understood, and evidenced by both the faith communities and by the NHS.’ Journal of Practical Theology (reviewer Mia Hilborn) ’With the NHS facing more and more calls on its resources from an ageing population, chaplains do need to follow Swift’s advice. This book should help them gain new confidence in the value of th