RESPECT AND SUPPORT
JUST TWO OF THE REASONS WHY FEMALE C OF E CLERGY CHOOSE HEALTH CARE CHAPLAINCY OVER PARISH MINISTRY
Keywords:Church of England, female healthcare chaplains, ministry, support, respect
This article examines the results of a unique research project carried out by CREDO (the Chaplaincy Research Education and Development Office) in the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust into the factors and that lead female Church of England clergy into employment in health care chaplaincy. It complements a paper previously published in the journal Practical Theology (Vol 1, no. 2, 2008) which reported on the opinions and experiences of Anglican male health care chaplains. Although its findings are based on a relatively small sample (the experiences of just 39 female health care chaplains) when set against their recollections of time spent in parochial ministry the research does nevertheless identify several areas of very real concern. This paper examines a whole raft of topics including: personal circumstances; positive or negative experiences towards parish and sector ministry and attitudes towards ministry and the church/health care provider. The survey concludes that while many female clergy may feel they had a good experience of parochial ministry, with hindsight a number of key issues now make their perception of the institutionalised church markedly negative.
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