Members of the Planning Committee for the Seventh Consultation of the European Network for Health Care Chaplaincy met in Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey between the 24th and 27th of January 2002. The Committee met at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church, who hosted the event. 

Stavros and Kirsti at work

Members of the Planning Committee are Fr Stavros Kofinas (Ecumenical Patriarchate), Rev Kirsti Aalto (Lutheran Church of Finland), Rev Michael Möller-Herr (Conference of Health Care Chaplaincy in the Protestant Church of Germany). Rev Fred Coutts (Church of Scotland) The members who were not able to attend were Hospital Chaplain Roel Hekking (Netherlands), Canon David Equeall (England), Hospital Chaplain Eirik Os (Norway)

During their stay in Istanbul, the Planning Committee worked diligently in preparing the format for the discussion on the standards for health care chaplaincy. Drawing from standards from many Churches, Associations and Organisations, the Committee composed a first draft that will be presented to the representatives who will attend the Consultation to take place in Finland.
Standards Document
The members of the Committee also discussed and finalised the program for the upcoming Consultation. 


On Sunday January 27th, the Planning Committee attended the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Church of St. George. Following the service, His All-Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch, received the members of the Committee for a special audience. Speaking with the European Delegation, the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed his full support and admiration for the Network, labelling its work as “a sacred task”. He stressed that we must all seek to base our work on love. After meeting him in his office, he asked the Delegation to join him for lunch in the Patriarchal Dinning Room, followed by coffee.

Left to Right:  Rev Michael Möller-Herr, Rev Kirsti Aalto, His All-Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch,
Rev Fred Coutts, Fr Stavros Kofinas


The members of the Committee concluded their stay in Istanbul by visiting the “Great Church” of St. Sophia (now a museum) and the Monastery of the Pantocrator (now a mosque), which was the site of one of the first “modern hospitals” known. 

The Monastery of Pantocrator


Last but not least, we all celebrated the birthday of the host and organiser of the Consultation in Finland, Kirsti Aalto. Symbolically, her birthday celebration marks a new era for Health Care Chaplaincy in Europe! 

Kirsti's Birthday


The planning group offers this first draft of a document on:

Standards for health Care Chaplaincy in Europe


This document was revised at the Turku Consultation 
[See the final version]

1. The context of health care chaplaincy

Chaplaincy provides pastoral services in a variety of health care settings, ministering to the existential and spiritual needs of those who suffer and those who care for them, drawing on personal, religious, cultural and community resources. 

2. The organisation and development of chaplaincy services

1. Chaplaincy services are organised in different ways in different European countries. This is shaped by:
a. Religious faith group administration
b. Health care institutions
c. State health care regulations
2. Chaplaincy services are delivered by clergy and lay persons who have been professionally trained and officially recognized in the area of pastoral care.
3. Chaplaincy services are linked and incorporated into health care systems and work as part of the multi-disciplinary team.

3. Areas of activity of chaplaincy

Chaplains are there for patients, their family members, visitors and staff.
1. to provide a reminder of the healing, sustaining, guiding and reconciling power of religious faith.
2. to ensure that spiritual needs of people from different religious or cultural backgrounds are met. 
3. to respect the values of everyone without proselytising
4. to protect patients from unwelcome spiritual intrusion.
5. to provide supportive spiritual care through empathic listening, demonstrating an understanding those in distress.
6. to serve as members of the multi-disciplinary health care team.
7. to provide religious worship, ritual, and sacrament according to one's religious tradition.
8. to participate in teaching programmes for health care professionals
9. to act as mediator and reconciler for those who need a voice in the health care system.
10. to support and participate in research programmes about spiritual care.
11. to form methods to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of providing spiritual care.
12. to facilitate community awareness of the needs and demands of the suffers, the carers and health care systems.

4. Education, supervision and formation

Those working in chaplaincy receive professional training in this ministry at a level appropriate to their appointment. The training includes:
a. pastoral and theological knowledge
b. awareness of health care
c. practical/clinical supervision
d. ongoing spiritual guidance
e. continuing training

5. Resources on ethical, theological and pastoral matters

Provide and participate in programmes and discussions concerning:
a. The improvement of pastoral health care
b. Theological and pastoral issues
c. Spiritual/existential needs and human values
d. Bioethics

Pre-consultation working group:

Rev Kirsti Aalto, 
Executive Secretary for Hospital Chaplaincy Lutheran Church of Finland
Rev Fred Coutts 
Hospital Chaplain, Aberdeen, Church of Scotland
Rev Michael Moeller-Herr
Military Chaplain, Hamburg, Member of the Board of the Conference for Hospital Chaplaincy, Germany (Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland)
Father Stavros Kofinas
Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate