Off the Edge?

A Theological Assessment of Scott's "Peripheral Stance" of Chaplaincy


  • Michael J. Ward NHS Orkney



secularisation, spiritual care, peripheral, double strategy, community


In the light of the recent Scottish Executive Health Department (SEHD) Guidelines, the author examines the validity of the late Tom Scott’s “peripheral stance” of institutional chaplaincy, with specific reference to contemporary healthcare chaplaincy. Scott’s views are discussed in the context of the premise of secularisation. By drawing on Gill’s critique of Hauerwas, the author cites recent events in the aftermath of the Alder Hey inquiry to claim that healthcare chaplaincy can be defined as a central activity: one that is socially significant and capable of influencing society. By redefining chaplaincy as a form of “community church” (Moltmann), the author concludes that the question of the precise locus of chaplaincy is transcended by adopting a “double strategy” that enables chaplaincy to maintain an authentic Christian presence but at the heart of the hospital community.

Author Biography

  • Michael J. Ward, NHS Orkney

    Mike Ward is chaplain for NHS Orkney.


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How to Cite

Ward, M. (2013). Off the Edge? A Theological Assessment of Scott’s "Peripheral Stance" of Chaplaincy. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 6(1), 39-43.