Tim Battle, Upon Clouded Hills – Recollections of Healthcare Chaplaincy 1993–2012. Salisbury: Drysdale, 2014, 185 pp. (Pbk). ISBN: 978-099271-990-6, £15.00.

Reviewed by: Reverend David H. Glasson, Methodist Minister, Retired Head of Interfaith and Spiritual Care, Merseycare NHS Trust, UK.

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The author sets out to consider the development of healthcare chaplaincy between 1993 and 2012 through recollections and his experience of the events which drove the development during this period.

Healthcare chaplaincy underwent considerable organizational changes during this period and the author draws on these to present a chronological appraisal of the work of a number of bodies endeavouring to affect changes in policy and accountability in healthcare chaplaincy.

The author, himself involved in many conversations regarding ways forward for healthcare chaplaincy, uses examples of projects and cites attempts at co-ordinating a policy on the organization and work of chaplaincy. He tells of frustrations and disappointments as well as the commitment of individuals to struggle with a difficult area in healthcare.

Reading the book as I did, with some knowledge of the concepts of formulating a chaplaincy service which is more structured and accountable, I believe it provides an excellent insight into possibilities for the future of chaplaincy. The book draws on a wealth of direct and indirect experience to present a variety of models of healthcare chaplaincy. Some of these have been explored and found lacking, whilst others have the potential for ensuring a future chaplaincy which is recognized by other healthcare professionals. The tensions between chaplaincy bodies are addressed by the author and forms part of the reflective dialogue which runs through each of the chapters. The annexes in tabular form provide an excellent way for the reader to consider aspects of chaplaincy development, including financial implications.

This book may be difficult for the casual reader without any knowledge of chaplaincy in the healthcare domain. However, I would strongly recommend it as essential reading for anyone aspiring to a senior position in chaplaincy management. It should also prove useful for healthcare managers who are unaware of the significant efforts being made to address the professional status of chaplains and chaplaincy services.

The book’s title reflects the difficulties that have been faced by healthcare chaplaincy and those, like the author, who have worked to clear the way for the future.