Denominational Ministry in a Changing Society

A Phenomenological Study of the Attitudes and Beliefs of Hospital Chaplains in Northern Ireland

Authors

  • Paul McCloskey South Eastern Heath and Social Care Trust
  • Peter Kevern Staffordshire University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/hscc.32479

Keywords:

Attitudes, chaplaincy, denominational, Northern Ireland, professionalization

Abstract

The recent history of Northern Ireland society is one in which denominationally-defined communities have been losing identity in favour of more fluid, diverse and secular forms of social interaction. The practice of hospital chaplaincy reflects this social transition: it is faced with the challenge of redefining itself in non-sectarian ways, as expressed in the migration of hospital chaplaincy from a denominationally-based to person-centred model of care. Six semi-structured interviews were conducted with a representative sample of chaplains working in Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts in Northern Ireland (NI). Using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) ten key themes were identified that fell into three areas: training for chaplaincy, the delivery of chaplaincy and the relationship between chaplains and the institutions of church and hospital. The themes shed new light on how chaplains are negotiating this transition from a denominational to a post-denominational context; and the tensions and pitfalls they encounter.

Author Biographies

Paul McCloskey, South Eastern Heath and Social Care Trust

Paul McCloskey is the Bereavement Coordinator for the South Eastern Heath and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland.

Peter Kevern, Staffordshire University

Peter Kevern is Associate Professor in Values in Care, School of Health and Social Care, Staffordshire University, UK.

References

Brocki, J. M., and A. J. Wearden (2006) “A Critical Evaluation of the Use of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) in Health Psychology”. Psychology & Health 21(1): 87–108. https://doi.org/10.1080/14768320500230185

Bruce, S. (2002) God Is Dead: Secularization in the West (3). Oxford: Blackwell.

Bullivant, S. (2017) “The ‘No Religion’ Population of Britain”. London: St Marys University.

Cadge, W., and E. Sigalow (2013) “Negotiating Religious Differences: The Strategies of Interfaith Chaplains in Healthcare”. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 52(1): 146–58. https://doi.org/10.1111/jssr.12008

Cohen, J., L. B. Carey and R. P. Davoren (2009) “The Sacralization of Identity: An Interfaith Spiritual Care Paradigm for Chaplaincy in a Multifaith Context”. In Interfaith Spiritual Care: Understandings and Practices, ed. D. Schipani and L. Beuckert, 191-217. Ontario: Pandora Press.

Collins, P. (2013) “Acute Ambiguity: Towards a Heterotopology of Hospital Chaplaincy”. In Social Identities Between the Sacred and the Secular, ed. A. Day, G. Vincett and C. R. Cotter, 39–60. Farnham, MD: Ashgate.

Finlay, L., and B. Gough (2008) Reflexivity: A Practical Guide for Researchers in Health and Social Sciences. Oxford: Wiley.

Hayes, B., and L. Dowds (2010) “Vacant Seats and Empty Pews”. ARK Research Update 85: 1–4.

Heelas, P., L. Woodhead, B. Seel, K. Tusting and B. Szerszynski (2005) The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion Is Giving Way to Spirituality. Oxford: Blackwell.

Kevern, P., and W. McSherry (2016) “The Study of Chaplaincy: Methods and Materials”. A Handbook of Chaplaincy Studies: Understanding Spiritual Care in Public Places, 47–62. Abingdon: Routledge.

McCormack, B., and T. McCance (2010) Person-Centred Nursing: Theory, Models and Methods. Oxford: Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444390506

McKittrick, D. (2001) Lost Lives: The Stories of the Men, Women and Children Who Died as a Result of the Northern Ireland Troubles. New York: Random House.

Mohrmann, M. E. (2008) “Ethical Grounding for a Profession of Hospital Chaplaincy”. Hastings Center Report 38(6): 18–23. https://doi.org/10.1353/hcr.0.0080

National Secular Society (2015) “Woolf Commission’s Multifaithism ‘Completely at Odds with the Religious Indifference That Permeates British Society’”. https://tinyurl.com/2015-12-woolf (last accessed 12.11.17).

Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (2011) “Census Statistics”. https://tinyurl.com/yc9n9hcy (last accessed 12.11.17).

Orton, M. J. (2008) “Transforming Chaplaincy: The Emergence of a Healthcare Pastoral Care for a Post-Modern World”. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy 15(2): 114–31. https://doi.org/10.1080/08854720903152513

Smith, J. A., P. Flowers and M. Larkin (2009) Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Theory, Method and Research. London: SAGE Publications.

Smith, J. A. (2011) “Evaluating the Contribution of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis”. Health Psychology Review 5(1): 9–27. https://doi.org/10.1080/17437199.2010.510659

Smith, J. A., and M. Osborn (2003) “Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis”. In Qualitative Psychology: A Practical Guide to Research Methods, ed. J. A. Smith. London: SAGE Publications.

Swift, C. (2014) Hospital Chaplaincy in the Twenty-First Century: The Crisis of Spiritual Care on the NHS. London: Ashgate.

Todd, A. (2011) “Responding to Diversity: Chaplaincy in a Multi-Faith Context”. In Being a Chaplain, ed. M. Threlfall-Holmes and M. Newitt, 89–102.

United Kingdom Board of Health Care Chaplaincy. 2010. “Code of Conduct for Healthcare Chaplains”. Cambridge: United Kingdom Board of Health Care Chaplaincy.

Published

2018-12-24

How to Cite

McCloskey, P., & Kevern, P. (2018). Denominational Ministry in a Changing Society: A Phenomenological Study of the Attitudes and Beliefs of Hospital Chaplains in Northern Ireland. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 6(1), 46-61. https://doi.org/10.1558/hscc.32479

Issue

Section

Articles