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The challenge for Christian chaplains: to provide spiritual care to all

By III Columbus Benjamin Burns


The purpose of this doctoral study was to answer the following question: How do Christian chaplains serving in diverse interfaithlintercultural healthcare settings provide spiritual care to patients, families, and staff and nurture their own spirituality? Christian chaplains provide spiritual care to persons of all faith traditions and cultural backgrounds. Robert G. Anderson, a long-time pastoral educator and CPE supervisor, answers the pivotal question: What is spirituality? He also provides five steps for spiritual/cultural chaplain competency. The reader is provided a brief history of Georgia’s first city, Savannah, and its two oldest hospitals: Candler Hospital, founded in 1804, and St. Joseph’s Hospital, founded in 1875. The author looked at the mission and theological stance of Candler Hospital’s department of pastoral care, which is where the biblical and theological foundation for the study was laid. The literature review was approached from six distinct perspectives: (1). Sociological/political; (2). Pastoral care and counseling; (3). Anthropological; (4). Historical; (5). Theological; (6). Biblical. As a means of gathering valuable data for this doctoral study, the researcher traveled throughout the state of Georgia, from the thriving metropolis of Atlanta to the small rural military towns of Hinesville and Fort Stewart, Georgia. A total of twenty (20) Christian chaplains were interviewed, representing fifteen (15) different healthcare institutions. Although all chaplains identified themselves as Christians, they represented a wide variety of Christian traditions. Generally, Christian chaplains serving in interfaithlintercultural healthcare contexts consider themselves blessed and highly privileged to do ministry in these settings. As a result of having completed this doctoral project, the researcher has the following recommendations: First, he encourages Christian chaplains of all faith traditions to continue to develop their skills in spiritual/cultural competency. Secondly, he urges Christian chaplains of all faith traditions to both revisit and strengthen their ties with their respective faith traditions. Third, Christian chaplains must be permitted and encouraged to network with other Christian chaplains at the local, state, regional, national, and international levels to support, affirm, and facilitate the work of chaplaincy wherever it is being done. Finally, denominations must stand firm in insisting that its female clergy be granted full clergy rights and privileges

Topics: Religion
Publisher: DigitalCommons@Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:

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