Chaplains, their History and the Theology of R. A. Lambourne
A Response to Elements of the Scottish NHS Policy on Spirituality
Keywords:theology, spirituality, generic chaplain, sacrament, sacrament of healing, sacrament of mercy, pastoral care, pastoral counselling, mental health, mental health chaplaincy, religion, supervision, human rights, recovery, advocacy, medicine, psychiatry
The author considers the tension between the psychiatric patient’s need for the full healing resources of a given religion and the need for the NHS to give equal attention to everyone. This is considered for one particular religion – Christianity – because that is the one with which the author is most familiar. However, the point applies to other world religions too. Recent developments in chaplaincy in the NHS in Scotland are discussed: “generic chaplaincy”, a new definition of spirituality and increased supervision of chaplains. The historical and theological background is considered and use is made of Tony Walter’s models of different ways of delivering chaplaincy in hospital. To elucidate the healing resources of Christianity, work on the interface between medicine and theology completed by R. A. Lambourne is brought in. Conclusions are drawn for mental health chaplaincy.
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