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OxCEPT The Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology.

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Presentation on theme: "OxCEPT The Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology."— Presentation transcript:

1 OxCEPT The Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology

2 Intentionality in school chaplaincy: what do we think we’re doing? National School Chaplaincy Conference June 2013

3 Acknowledgments … Cuddesdon and OxCEPT Cambridge Theological Federation Chaplains researched Errors and uncertainties are my own!

4 What counts as chaplaincy? Current context of exploding ‘chaplaincy’ in many contexts and from many sources… An unstable identity… Self-description rather than external definition has to be accepted

5 Who is a chaplain? ‘a clergyperson who has been commissioned by a faith group or an organisation to provide pastoral service in an institution, organisation, or governmental entity. (Hunter, 1990, 2005 p.136) But: ‘Clergyperson’? ‘Commissioned’? ‘Pastoral service’? ‘Someone who offers regular, intentional support to an associational (non-territorial) community in the name of a faith or other group’?

6 Models of school chaplaincy Traditional Anglican model: formally commissioned (mostly ordained), and ‘embedded’ (Paul Ballard) in the school – no formal theological rationale in place Current RC model: mostly lay or religious (not clerical), with developed theology of ‘accompaniment’ on the ‘spiritual journey’ Newer ‘para-chaplaincy’ model: derived from youth-work thinking, and emerging from mainly (evangelical/charismatic) free church roots: an evangelistic theology of befriending…

7 Intentionality… ‘Are we meant to be evangelists?’ – a Chaplain’s question at Liverpool Hope 2011 So the question to practising chaplains is: ‘What at root do you think you are doing, and what is the source of your motivation and action?’ ‘Chaplaincy’ will mean in practice what it does for the chaplain as a consequence of fundamental theological perspectives, an understanding of God and the human.

8 New Testament origins? Are different perspectives inherent in different readings of the New Testament? ‘Jesus preached the Kingdom; the Church preaches Jesus…’ Gospels: A focus on the dominical example of Christ’s own ministry will be Kingdom-oriented: a ministry of personal relation, teaching, healing, renewing… Epistles: A focus on the apostolic example of Peter & Paul will be Church-oriented: a ministry of gospel evangelism, seeking commitment, Christian living…

9 Understanding the missio Dei… Is mission what God does in the world or what the the Church does to the world? Is pastoral ministry about bringing God to others or about finding God in others? Is ministry about ‘human flourishing’ or about ‘bringing souls to Christ’? Fundamental orientation of ministerial praxis originates in how we see the missio Dei, and how we conceive of the divine-human relation.

10 Missiological perspectives … Niebuhr (‘Christ and Culture’) suggested a fivefold spectrum on God and the human from a conservative ‘Christ against culture’ stance to a radical ‘Christ of culture’ stance Bevans (‘Models of Contextual Theology’) also posits a fivefold spectrum of perspectives from a conservative ‘translation’ stance to a radical ‘anthropological’ stance Are we ‘Creation-centred’ or ‘redemption-centred’? Are we analogical or dialectical in thinking?

11 Orientation and praxis … Traditional Anglican model of embedded chaplaincy derives from a more ‘creation-centred’ stance, a more analogical approach ? Similarly, RC model of accompaniment, assuming God is present in the life of the pastoral ‘client’, derives from a ‘creation-centred’ stance. Newer para-chaplaincy appears to derive from a more ‘redemption-centred’ stance, a more dialectical approach…

12 Ethical issues in chaplaincy These stances may shade into one another but are very distinct at the extremes: ethical issues are a test? What is ‘success’ in school chaplaincy? Do we gauge it by numbers (of confirmands, CU members, retreatees, conversions, vocations…)? What are right and appropriate methods in chaplaincy?

13 Conclusions? Research indicates that practising chaplains see their work as in some sense about ‘changing lives’… How do we understand this? What psychological thinking do we bring to bear on our chaplaincy practice (See Fowler: Stages of Faith) ? What ethical thinking do we bring to bear on our practice? (See Lyall ‘Integrity of Pastoral Care’) Ongoing reflection on ‘what I think and what I do’ is a chaplain’s responsibility: ‘reflective practice’ in school chaplaincy is a professional obligation.

14 Bibliography Bevans, Stephen B: Models of Contextual Theology (1992) Fowler, James W: Stages of Faith (1981) Hunter, R J (ed): Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counselling (1990, 2005) Lyall, David: The Integrity of Pastoral Care (2001) Niebuhr, Richard H: Christ and Culture (1951)

15 Contact: Sarum Twyfords Crowborough East Sussex TN6 1YE

16 OxCEPT The Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology Ripon College Cuddesdon Oxford OX44 9EZ


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