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Multi-Faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy

.....advancing multi-faith healthcare chaplaincy.

Education Committee Minutes


9th February 2006

Mr Manhar Mehta (in the chair)
Mrs Joy Conway
Mr Bimal Krsna das
Revd Debbie Hodge
Professor D Huw Jones
Gen Tubchen Kelsang
Revd Chris Levison
HM Shafique Rahman
Revd Max Shepherd
Mrs Deborah Wheeler

In attendance:

Mr Tim Battle

EC 1/06 Apologies for absence

Apologies for absence were received from Ervad Rustam Bhedwar, Revd Alan Brown, Revd Glenn Martin, Hon Barney Leith, Mr. Nizam Mohammad, Revd Peter Michael Scott, and Revd Dr Ivan Wilson.

EC 2/06 Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 23 rd February 2005 were agreed subject to the insertion of the following minute as 1/05 and to renumber appropriately:

Election of Co-Chairs for Education Committee 2005-7

It was reported that HM Shafique Rahman and Mr Manhar Mehta had been elected as Co-Chairs of the Education Committee 2005-07

EC 3/06 Resources for multi-faith healthcare chaplains (ref in EC 4/05)

Tim Battle reported that the Minister for Health had launched the web-based resources for multi-faith healthcare chaplaincy in the Spiritual Care Centre of Doncaster and South Humber NHS Trust in January 2006. Mr Sital Singh Maan, Vice-Chair, had attended on behalf of the MFGHC.

It was agreed to raise the inclusion of resources for humanist chaplains with the Council.

EC 4/06 Educational Framework for spiritual healthcare (ref min EC 6/05)

The Committee received a copy of the statement of Knowledge and Sills in Spiritual Healthcare V.3 prepared by the Caring for the Spirit NHS Project. This had been prepared to enable discussion about knowledge and skills for chaplains because there was no agreed statement other than the NJS KSF. It was intended that the statement should be validated by chaplaincy bodies over the next 12 months with a view to a definitive statement emerging in 2007.

It was noted that the statement included columns devoted to the three levels of chaplain recognised by the NHS (entry-level, practitioner, and senior chaplain) with an initial column devoted to the development of community-based minister/ priest. Tim Battle commented that this latter column included both the formation phase of ministerial training and also some community-based aspects in what for Christian Churches was a post-ordination phase i.e. “early independent ministry”.

In response to a question about how long might the “formation” aspects take to learn, it was noted some programmes might last three years including 2 years academic study and 1 year as an ordained minister working under supervision. It was also noted that the training period which could vary between one and two years and would usually include placements within secular or community-based organisations for experiential learning.

These arrangements for Christian ministers were compared with those in other world faiths. There was discussion of the training for Imams whom it was indicated had up to three levels of theological knowledge and less emphasis on skills as practitioner/ pastor. There were no training schools for Imams in the UK and reliance was placed on those trained overseas.

Similar arrangements existed within the Hindu faith where there were different levels of priesthood (including a variation between different traditions). This training for the priesthood might vary between different Ashrams and there was no formal academic institute. There was emphasis on both ceremonial and ritualistic aspects whilst the theological knowledge was incumbent on individuals to learn.

The arrangements for Jewish chaplains were highly organised. Rabbis were appointed to work for individual communities and usually had high qualification in orthodoxy and laws but little practical experience. It had not always been customary for the Rabbi to the community member to visit personally and thus the skills of chaplaincy were not previously necessary. Currently, this view was changing with an increasing number of Rabbis serving also as Jewish Chaplains and needing chaplaincy skills and NHS knowledge.

Tim Battle and Shafique Rahman outlined the current progress towards authorisation arrangements within world faith communities. In parallel with the arrangements in the Christian and Jewish communities, it was planned that each world faith community would develop its own authorisation arrangements for healthcare Chaplains. These authorising bodies would need to oversee the body of knowledge about the faith itself and the skills required to undertake ceremonials and rituals and to ensure that those serving as chaplains were “in good standing” with their community.

In addition to these faith-based aspects, each faith community would need to accept that the NHS required a body of knowledge of its staff without which working in the NHS would be very difficult. Finally, in addition to the NHS knowledge was a body of knowledge and skill about chaplaincy and chaplaincy practice which needed to be common to all chaplaincies in healthcare.

It was agreed to discuss this further at the next meeting.

EC 5/06 Continuing Professional Development (ref min 8/05)

The Committee received a copy of the draft strategy circulated by South Yorkshire SHA which they endorsed.

EC 6/06 Introductory training courses for healthcare chaplaincy

The Committee received the following documents for consideration: the statement of proposed outcome for the introductory courses organised by the Joint Training Office; the outline of the training course for Christian chaplaincy volunteers; and the outline of the course for Kadampa Buddhist chaplaincy.

Discussion focused on the training methodology developed by the Kadampa tradition. An approach had been agreed based on foundation study at Buddhist Centres which was supplemented by learning the skills used by chaplains and the attitudes appropriate to chaplaincy practice through work within Trusts. The faith aspects covered training within a particular tradition; those not within their tradition; and those not within their faith. Mentoring was necessary for chaplains in training so that the faith community teachers worked in conjunction with the Trust lead chaplain and progress was reviewed quarterly.

There were difficulties in not being able to provide students with income although some could be paid where they provided service. The formula derived from the policy guidance and applied in Trusts was not achievable by students in training. In discussion, it was accepted that training for chaplaincy was likely to start as a voluntary activity but it was noted that some training posts existed for Christian chaplains.

Implicit in the arrangements was that the faith community should seek payment for the component of training it undertook. For this to be a reality, it would be necessary for the training institution itself to be accredited and it was not clear how best this should be achieved. Further discussion was necessary as to how this level of attainment was realisable.

After further discussion, it was agreed that the following common themes were present:

  • Chaplaincy training should proceed as a partnership between the faith communities and the local hospital chaplaincy focusing initially on the training of volunteer chaplains.
  • The theological component of training should be imparted within the faith community with the knowledge of other faiths likely to be a shared responsibility.
  • There would be shared knowledge and shared skills between the different faith communities and training in these could therefore be common to all faith communities
  • Entry to chaplaincy within the world faiths as a voluntary effort would require mentorship between the faith community and the NHS through the Trusts
  • The NHS might wish to contribute to this approach in order to ensure that all chaplains reached the same level of attainment in skills regarded as implicit such as reflective practice
  • It was an essential characteristic of this training approach that those being trained should be able to show evidence of their training and evidence of achieving the required standard.

EC 7/06 Training Officer's Report – February 2006

Training Bulletin 31 was received. It was agreed to re-circulate the statement of progress against objectives

EC 8/06 Date of next meeting

It was agreed to meet again on Tuesday 12th December 2006 in Room 201 at Elizabeth House, Waterloo

TB 240906




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