Our main objective is to address the unmet need of a significant cultural minority: those of us whose spiritual needs are not met within the mainstream organised religions of contemporary society.
We may call ourselves Pagans, Druids, Heathens, Wiccans, Shamans, Followers of Earth Centered or Ancient Wisdom, the Craft, or Nature Based Spirituality. When we find ourselves in a vulnerable situation, such as in hospital, a hospice, a prison or other institution, it can be very difficult to access spiritual help appropriate to our needs.
Christians of various hues, Jews, Moslems, Hindus and Buddhists may have a special Chaplain available to them; our people may not. A “Pagan Chaplain” may not have been appointed at all; or they may be present and willing to help, but not adequately supported or given specialised training to help them to deal with the particular demands of the role of a Chaplain in an institution, or in the wider community. For example, it is one thing to conduct a ritual or a healing in the woods; quite another to deal with a person in need in a hospital ward, with limited privacy and institutional limitations on the use of incense, candles etc.
We aim to improve the quality of service available to our community, by strengthening the support and skills development of those who wish to work as Chaplains in our community.
Our specific aims are to:
- strengthen the provision of Chaplaincy services to our community, by providing training and support to those who wish to undertake this role of service.
- ensure that members of the Chaplaincy are up to date on current legislation, and have sufficient information and skills to work in the community, in the same way as other spiritual and religious ministers do. In the long run, we wish to see our Chaplains enjoy parity of esteem in all institutions with other mainstream Chaplains and other Spiritual Leaders.
- ensure that our members are available to provide spiritual and pastoral care and counselling in all hospitals, hospices, prisons and other Government and non-government funded institutions where vulnerable people find themselves, to provide good spiritual and pastoral care and counselling to all who request such services.
- ensure that all who seek our help are able to express their beliefs, values and spirituality freely, and will receive guidance and assistance as and when required.
- work with other faith groups providing information and advice.
- educate the wider public by example, talks, lectures and workshops.
Code of Practice for Chaplains
Below is the code of practice that we expect all of our chaplains to adhere to.
- Ascribe to the principles of Professionalism, Service, Respect and Responsibility with integrity and openness;
- Abide by client confidentiality at all times; but enable appropriate disclosure should we deem it necessary for security reasons, or where we perceive an immediate threat to the life of the student or others.
- Be open and interested and seek to understand the paths others tread.
- Encourage people to be self determining. Remembering that there is a thin line between control and guidance. What we are seeking to do is to empower.
- Not allow stress or circumstances to influence you. If necessary center yourself before meetings, drawing positive influences and energies to support you, so that you are able to support others.
- Decline to conduct a ceremony where aspects are unworkable, illegal or unethical. (Remember everyone has the right to decline any case where requests are made that are inappropriate to personal principles).
- Refer people to more appropriate organisations where we do not have the skills or information to effectively meet their needs.
- Have a full and truthful understanding and knowledge of self. (Only a person who is true to themselves and acknowledges their own issues can understand and really be able to help others).
- Document requests and details as required. (where personal details are held electronically the data protection act comes into force and permission must be obtained in writing);
- Keep a record of all correspondence, and deal with National Agencies, e.g. Inland Revenue as required by law.
- Attend a range of professional development days as a useful way of keeping abreast of new developments and legal requirements and maintaining a strong and supportive professional network.