Report reveals 230 chaplains working in Norfolk
A new report exploring the “extraordinary growth of the chaplaincy phenomenon today” has revealed there are 230 chaplains operating in Norfolk in settings as diverse as lifeboats, theatres, ambulances and airports as well as the more traditional hospitals, prisons and the military.
The audit, carried out by leading religion and society think tank Theos, follows the 2015 report: A Very Modern Ministry: Chaplaincy in the UK.
The project included a detailed mapping of chaplains in Norfolk between October 2016 and March 2017. It discovered that there are 230 chaplains operating in Norfolk. They were working in 16 primary fields including health, education, sport, military, Police, prison, ports, residential care, theatre, workplace, bereavement and local government.
Christians still dominate the chaplaincy scene in Norfolk with 85% of the total, but there were also chaplains representing nine other faith groups: Muslim (2%), Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Pagan, Baha’i, Humanist and non-religious (4%) and Mormons. This confirms a changing chaplaincy landscape, with Christian chaplains still dominating, but many minority faiths and belief groups having a growing chaplaincy involvement.
Of the Christian chaplains, of those who declared their denominations, 63% were Anglican, 16% Catholic, 7% Methodist, 5% Baptist and 4% Eastern Orthodox.
The research revealed 43 chaplaincy bodies and settings where chaplains or chaplaincy teams are active in Norfolk. They include: Apostleship of the Sea, Broadland Clinic, Norwich Playhouse, Mayor of Great Yarmouth, The Norfolk Hospice Tapping House, HMP Bure, City College Norwich, Chaplain to the Broads, East of England Ambulance Service Trust, Gorleston Football Club, Great Yarmouth College, Gresham’s School, HMP Norwich, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Mission to Seafarers, Good Work, Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind/Deafblind, Norfolk and Suffolk Youth Football League, Norfolk Community Health and Care, Norfolk Constabulary, Norfolk County Hall, Norfolk Scouts, Norwich City FC, Norwich International Airport, Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, RAF Marham, Railway Mission, RNLI Great Yarmouth and Gorleston, Royal British Legion Watton, The Great Hospital, UEA Multifaith Centre, YMCA Norfolk.
The vast majority of chaplains are volunteers with only 11% working full-time, and only 31% of Norfolk’s chaplains receiving a salary or stipend for their work.
Ben Ryan, one of the Theos researchers involved in the audit, said: “The research underlines the extraordinary growth of chaplaincy today. In a country in which we are constantly told that faith is on the decline chaplains are providing pastoral and spiritual support across an enormous range of settings and demonstrating that faith groups are willing and able to contribute something valuable to public life in the UK. Chaplains are fast becoming the public face of religion.”
Chris Copsey, Chaplain at County Hall Norwich and Norfolk's coroner's court, said: “Chaplains go out and meet people of all faiths and none, wherever they are – in hospitals, prisons, their workplace, supermarkets, even in the Coroner’s Court here in Norfolk. In many different places and situations, wherever they are needed.
“Chaplaincy is a really strong resource that is being recognised more and more and this report shows chaplaincy is an active presence across many parts of the county.
“As chaplains, we offer a non-judgemental, completely confidential and safe place to speak and be listened to. We walk alongside people and offer support, comfort and hope, whatever their need.”
The report concludes: The wide spread of chaplaincy in Norfolk is truly remarkable. Particularly noteworthy is chaplaincy representation from such a variety of religious and belief groups. This confirms a changing chaplaincy landscape, with Christian chaplains still dominating, but many minority faiths and belief groups having a chaplaincy involvement, even if not as consistent as that of Christian chaplaincy.”
Download the report
See our previous report on this topic
Pictured above are Theos researcher Ben Ryan and Norfolk chaplain, Rev Chris Copsey.