Members of ENHCC

ENHCC does not have members as such but Chaplaincy Organisations and Churches from the countries of Europe participate in the activities of the Network. On this page we publish the latest information about Health Care Chaplaincy in different counties and list the respresentatives who participate in the Network.

Click on the name of the country in the list on the right to go to that section.

Health Care Chaplaincy in European Countries



Friedrich Van Scharrel, Detlef Schwarz &

Friedrich Van Scharrel, Detlef Schwarz (Debrecen 2016)


Protestant Health Care Chaplaincy (A.E.K.Ö)

Health Care Chaplaincy in the Protestant Church is organised, authorised and mostly also paid by the churches. The hospitals support the chaplaincy by providing the infrastructure: chapel, office, telephone.
Qualification for chaplains

Ordained and “lay” persons work as hospital chaplains. They have to take part in Clinical Pastoral Training or something adequate. Until recently we had 2 training courses in Austria : one in Salzburg and one in Vienna , some people did their training in CPE in Germany . Now we hope that with 2009 the first official “CPE Austria” will start.
As we work with volunteers as well, we train them by giving them basic information in theology, pastoral care and psychological aspects of communication etc.
Hospital chaplains are experienced as innovative women and men, well trained and professional in their work.
Developments in the next 5 years
The churches are more and more running out of money – we try to find new models of employment, for example by the hospitals.
We are aware that spiritual and psychological care is needed even more these days. This means for us, that we have to learn to cooperate with other professions working with patients.
The ecumenical contacts differ: in some hospitals and parts of Austria we work together in others we lack ecumenical cooperation. It is not always easy going between a majority and a minority church.
Besides that we think it is a new challenge to find ways of cooperation with other religious and cultural traditions; for example Muslims
We have the urgent need of specialisation in different working areas: especially geriatric care. A very important field of cooperation is hospice. But again, we are a minority church and can't work everywhere.

[May 2008]


Pfarrer Mag Friedrich Van Scharrel
Linsengasse 17
A-9020 Klagenfurt



Austrian Association of Catholic Hospital Chaplaincy

Writing in 2008 Dr Anna Seyfried described Catholic Chaplaincy in Ausgtria at that time.



  • Manager of the department “Pastoral Care with people living in difficult situations”
  • Roman Catholic spiritual caregiver in a public hospital at Linz
  • Responsible of the “Roman Catholic Health care chaplaincy” in Upper Austria (22 hospitals)
  • Manager of the “Austrian association of the catholic hospital chaplaincy”

My main tasks are:

  • organisation of symposiums and annual meetings; the development of the quality of chaplaincy care;
  • professional training for chaplains;
  • development of standards and quality systems;
  • enabling training for spiritual caregivers in contact with institutes for education;
  • solving problems in working affairs;
  • working on collective employment conditions together with the different managers of the hospitals

On the staff of “Roman Catholic Health care chaplaincy” are working “lay persons” (theologians), priests, deacons and volunteers. Most of them have undertaken a special training (clinic pastoral care). We also can find various statues of ecumenical cooperation: How ever I'm lucky to cooperate with protestant colleagues on the base of common symposiums and further vocational trainings. Actually we develop a new “clinic pastoral training” for catholic and protestant chaplains in Austria
There are rather different frameworks for “Roman Catholic Health care chaplaincy” in Austria . So we can find pastoral workers who are paid and employed by the dioceses, others are paid by hospital management and employed by the dioceses and some of them are employed and paid by the hospital management.
In the future probably it will be important for the Health care chaplaincy in Austria whether we try to integrate chaplaincy into health care. At the moment we are discussing how the departments of chaplaincy should be positioned in the organisation of the hospital. More and more we find already some models of integration in the structure of ecclesiastical hospitals.


[May 2008]


Dr Detlef Schwarz
Erzdiözese Salzburg
Diözesanreferent für Krankenpastoral und Notfallseelsorge
Kapitelplatz 2
5010 Salzburg






Belgian Representatives 2016

Belgium's representatives at Debrecen (2016): (from left to right) Axel Liégeois, Anne Vandenhoeck, Heidi De Clercq, Evelyn Peeters, Eva Buelens, Judith Cockx


Chaplains are working in general and university hospitals, mental health institutions and elderly homes. The majority of them are catholic as this is the major denomination in Belgium. Most denominational health care institutions are catholic and their spiritual care teams consist out of catholic chaplains. If patients have a different spiritual tradition, the institution will - upon their request - call for a chaplain of that denomination. Non denominational institutions have a team of usually catholic and atheist spiritual care givers. Chaplains of other denominations can also be called upon requests from patients.

Catholic chaplains in hospitals are usually trained at the Catholic University of Louvain. After graduating, they can still participate in post-master trainings for health care chaplaincy. A professional association of  catholic health care chaplains is in the process of being set up. Catholic Chaplains are also organized per diocese. The dioceses initiates lectures and training according to the needs of their chaplains. The majority of catholic chaplains are lay men and women. A number of them are trained to be supervisors.

Belgian chaplains are facing challenges that they have in common with other Western European countries. The main one is doing chaplaincy in a time where health care reforms are impacting care.

Anne Vandenhoeck
Dr. Anne Vandenhoeck is a Catholic chaplain from Belgium. She has more than 13 years of experience in health care chaplaincy: General Hospital A.Z. Damiaan in Oostende (2 years), University Hospital UZ. Gasthuisberg (10 years), CPE in UCSF San Francisco (3 months), Barnes Jewish Hospital St. Louis Missouri (1 year). At this moment she is a part time research assistant at the Catholic University of Louvain, Faculty of Theology, Department of Pastoral Theology. She also works at the diocese of Brugge as a responsible for the continuous education of chaplains. Anne is a supervisor and supervises theology students in their practical training. She is member of the advisory board of PlainViews [], and a council member  of the ECPCC.

Axel Liégeois

Axel Liégeois is a catholic moral and pastoral theologian from Belgium. He studied philosophy, theology and ethics was trained in counselling and pastoral supervision. At this time, he is professor of pastoral and practical theology at the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University of Leuven. He holds the chair for pastoral and ethical research and teaching in the field of care for people with a mental disorder or a mental disability. He also works as ethical and pastoral advisor for the Brothers of Charity in Gent, a religious congregation with twenty five services for people with mental disorder or disability in Belgium.

[August 2010]



Prof Dr Kristiaan Depoortere
Bishop's House
Heilige-Geeststraat 4
B-8000 Brugge


Prof. Dr Annemie Dillen
Faculty of Theology
St. Michielsstraat 6
3000 Leuven



Prof Dr Axel Liégeois

Faculteit Godgeleerdheid
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Sint-Michielsstraat 6
bus 3101
B-3000 Leuven

E-mail: axel.liegeois(at)


Dr Anne Vandenhoeck
Faculty of Theology
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
St.Michielsstraat 6
B-3000 Leuven







Mario Yonov
Hospital chaplain, Sofia, Bulgaria.

After his ordination, Mario Yonov wanted to be a chaplain in the army or in a hospital. Something quite unusual for his country. After one year of being a volunteer visiting patients in the Alexandrovska hospital (Sofia), he organised a meeting between the management, the medical staff and theologians. It took many discussions but with the blessing of his bishop and the agreement of the minister of health, he became a hospital chaplain in 2002.  He was the first chaplain in Bulgaria, paid by a hospital. In the two following years he designed a job description for chaplains, using the Standards (2002) and his own personal experience.

After a while, he became a team member of the MS centre and of the centre for treatment for drug addiction. He provides a religious program for patients in the psychiatric day clinic and is available for staff, patients and their families at all the other units in the hospital. He takes a special interest in pastoral care for people who experienced a loss and tries to bring them together.

Fr Mario keeps training himself. Among others in psychotherapeutic competencies aiming to focus on the religious and existential dimensions of life. Next to individual care for the drug addicts, he also works with groups. He even teaches them boxing and Taekundo (he was a trainer in both for children and soldiers of the air force from 1990-2002). For his inspiration and formation in pastoral care, he draws upon literature and experiences from Polish and Russian colleagues. Recently he spent one month in White Russia on training.

It is Fr Mario's aspiration to write a PhD because he feels the need to teach theology students and medical students about pastoral care. Especially so that the last ones would be more alert for the religious needs of their patients.

Fr Mario concludes: ‘My example, to work as a hospital chaplain, is not followed by other priests. One of the reasons for that is the very modest pay and maybe another reason is the instinctive avoidance of people who are sick…'

Mario Yonov (born 1970) has a master in theology and was ordained as a deacon and priest in 2001.

[May 2006]



Written in 2004. Jordan has now left Bulgaria and is working in a hospital in Germany.


Dr Jordan Vuchkov 

Unfortunately in the past 2 years health care chaplaincy in Bulgaria has not had the good results, which we all (medical professionals, clergy and the whole society) awaited.

The number of good news stories from Bulgaria are not so many:

1. At the moment there is one hospital chaplain (Fr Mario Jonov), paid from the State. He works in the University Hospital “Aleksandrowska” in Sofia – the capital city of Bulgaria. The former Director of this Hospital was an anaesthetist and he decided that the patients, their families and the staff need spiritual care and appointed Fr Mario a hospital chaplain. Fr. Mario works and lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the Hospital. Because we haven't got clergy Spiritual Care education, many physicians like Dr. Vladimir Bostandjiev help him to learn guidelines for good practice in medicine and psychotherapy.

2. Some other pastors (Fr. Constantine from the Town of Kazanlak) sometime serve liturgies in Hospital chapels in other Bulgarian cities.

3. The European Standards for Health Care Chaplaincy are published in “Health Care Management” – a well-known Bulgarian medical magazine.

4. In 2003 a 2 year scientific project started in the Medical Faculty, Thracian University-Stara Zagora. The subject is, “The Necessity of an Interdisciplinary ICU-Team”. The aims of the Project are to help the development of Bulgarian society, to confirm and support the incorporation of our country into European spiritual and cultural values and practical standards. That means:

To declare that the patients and their relatives are the centre of ICU;

  • To present this fact to the patients, colleagues and society;
  • To lay down the necessity of building an ICU-Interdisciplinary team;
  • To involve the Church in healthcare practices;
  • To define the role and tasks of all team-members;
  • To improve on medical education.

A variety of people take part in the project (Chairperson Dr Jordan Vuchkov, PhD) - medical (physicians, ICU-nurses, Medical Faculty/Medical College students) and non medical (psychologists, chaplains, social workers, social work students) professionals. All members believe that modern intensive medicine has the task of treating not only physical pain, but also social, psychological and spiritual suffering of critically ill patients and their relatives. The necessity of salving this important problem is among the reasons for building an ICU interdisciplinary team, which integrates efforts of different healthcare professionals - physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, psychologists, and volunteers. Our 2-year project includes development of:

  • Initiatives for legal guarantees for the rights of patients for spiritual care in Bulgaria (we published 5 books);
  • Teaching programs for medical faculty/medical college students, social work-students, physicians and nurses to understand and support spiritual needs and values of patients, their families and staff (In 2003/2004 in the Medical Faculty started a teaching module called “Social work with terminally ill patients in ICU”);
  • Teaching programs for chaplains, to be able to work as key member of an Interdisciplinary team;
  • An Interdisciplinary team in the ICU, including physician, nurses, social worker, chaplain, psychologist, volunteers.

The following activities were carried out:

  • 2003 – International Introductory course “Building of an ICU-Interdisciplinary team”; [More information]
  • 2004 – Second International Conference “Building of an ICU-Interdisciplinary team”. [More information]

I have attached separate files from 2003 and 2004.

The reasons for this minimal achievement in Bulgaria are many and varied.
1. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is still passive and stays away from the reality of modern Bulgarian society. The Bishops say always: The Church doesn't have money for Health Care Chaplaincy.
2. On the other side Directors of our Hospitals also say: We haven't got money for the chaplains.
3. The Charity and Non-governmental organizations, which are trying to care for patients and relatives haven't got financial stability, so they haven't got the opportunity to work in Bulgarian Hospitals.
4. Naturally, the problems aren't only financial. Perhaps the people need time to realize the necessity of spiritual support. Perhaps the people need time to say: Let it be.

Dr Jordan Vuchkov 
University Hospital, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

[July 2004]




Orthodox Church of Bulgaria

Dr Jordan Stojanov Vuchov MD


Alexandrovska University Hospital

Fr Mario Yonov
(Hospital Priest)
1 Georgi Sofijski Blvd
Alexandrovska University Hospital
Sofia 31







Fr Efstathios Savvides (Salzburg 2014)


The Church of Cyprus

Health Care Chaplaincy in Cyprus

Cyprus is the third largest island of the Mediterranean with a population fast approaching 1 million. Since 1974, and after an invasion by Turkey, 36% of the island's territory is occupied by the Turkish army. Despite this recent tragic event in the history of the island the Greek-cypriots have since performed a small economic miracle in succeeding to bounce back from the invasion, and in creating a prospering economy with a GDP slightly above the average of the EU. 

The Church of Cyprus is an autocephalous church within the communion of Orthodox Christianity. It is one of the oldest autocephalous churches achieving independence from the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East in 431. The Turkish invasion of 1974 meant that the Church of Cyprus had to concentrate most of its efforts on helping its people cope with the many consequences of the war. Other pertinent areas where the Church could traditionally have a role, were therefore left undeveloped. One of these areas was that of health care chaplaincy. Nevertheless, in the past few years steps have been taken by all Dioceses in order to ensure that at least all large hospitals of the country have suitably qualified chaplains positioned in them. All chaplains are members of the clergy while some are medical doctors themselves. The Church is responsible for the chaplains, and although these are recognised by the institutions in which they serve, there is no formal relationship between the chaplain and the institution. Clearly, there are a lot to be done, both in laying a formal foundation / framework with regards to the provision of chaplaincy services in the country, as well as in the education of the existing chaplains. It is, however, satisfactory that the Church is recognising the needs of those affected by illness, and is taking steps to meet those needs.

Representing the Church of Cyprus in the Anniversary Consultation of the European Network of Health Care Chaplaincy in London is Fr Efstathios Savvides, a priest (economos), who has been the chaplain for the Arodafnousa Palliative Care Hospice for Cancer Patients since 2006 and a member of the chaplaincy team of two for the Nicosia General Hospital since 2009. He is the celebrant at the church of St. Arsenios the Cappadocian, situated within the grounds of the Arodafnousa Hospice. Fr Efstathios is a theologian and a holder of a B.Sc in Computer Science and an M.B.A.  

[August 2010]



Fr Efstathios Savvides




Czech Republic

Debrecen (2016) - From left to right: Miriam Prasilova (Association of Hospital Chaplains, Czech Republic), Gerhard Opitz (Catholic chaplain from Slovakia), Marie Opatrna and Fr. Marek Drabek (Catholic Association of Hospital Chaplains, Czech Republic)


Catholic Health Care Chaplaincy in Czech Republic

The Czech model of the catholic care for the sick has undergone complicated, but remarkable evolution since the velvet revolution in the 1989. Besides the sacramental care, which is supplied by priests on demand of the sick, a different model has also evolved which was proposed and implemented by Prague auxiliary bishop Mons. Škarvada in 1997. He appointed a laywoman (M. Opatrná) for a service in the General University Hospital, Charles University in Prague to work as a member of a multidisciplinary team. Similarly, other persons were appointed afterwards.

In 2006, an agreement on pastoral care in hospitals between the Czech Bishop Conference and the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic was signed; in 2011, the agreement was specified by an Amendment. The churches define there the health care chaplain and the volunteer in pastoral care and declare the conditions for education and appointing chaplains in hospitals.

In 2015 the Catholic Church had 81 pastoral workers - health care chaplains in hospitals and social facilities and 15 their volunteers. This group consists of priests (25), permanent deacons (12), nuns (13) and laymen (31; 22 of which are women). The Catholic Association of Health Care Chaplains was founded in 2012. Among its members, there are not only chaplains, but also volunteers, theologians and other persons. It had a total number of 109 members in 2015.

The education of the health care chaplains is long-standing and continuous. The Catholic Association at its founding took over the organization and preparation of annual several-day formation and educational meeting of health care chaplains. This form of education had evolved since 2005. Moreover, other activities are prepared in the course of the year, serving to education and meeting of the health care chaplains. Ecumenical meetings and services take place in many hospitals on 11th February on the occasion of the World day of the sick. In this place, the ecumenical cooperation is good and promising.

During the last years there were prepared two yearly courses for chaplains, one of them was successfully completed at the Catholic Faculty of Theology in Olomouc. The second one will be opened at the Catholic Faculty of Theology in České Budějovice in autumn 2016.

Despite a number of positive aspects in the development of the healthcare chaplaincy in the Czech Republic, we are still missing legislation – currently, because of difficulties in Czech healthcare system there is not political will to solve this issue.

Marie Opatrná

Catholic Association of Health Care Chaplains in the Czech Republic


Marie Opatrná, MD, MA, Ph.D



P. Marek Drábek, MA, ThLic



[June 2016]



Hospital Chaplaincy in Czech Republic

The Association of hospital chaplains was founded in 2011 in order to coordinate, educate hospital chaplains and promote chaplaincy in the country. As the Association we have the Board consisting of five members from different church denominations (Evangelical church of Czech Brethren, Silesian Evangelical Church, Seven Day Adventist and Orthodox). The Association organizes the Annual Conference in Prague, the seminar at one of the hospitals and communicates with the Evangelical Theological faculty about training for hospital chaplains. Association also cooperates with the Commission for Spiritual Care in Health Service that works under the roof of Ecumenical Council of Churches in Czech Republic. We still do not have the legislation for hospital chaplaincy, so that means some chaplains are employed by churches, some by hospitals and many of them are the volunteers. The most of energy in hospital chaplaincy we put in education, formation, ecumenical communication and communication toward the state, so we can start and facilitate hospital chaplaincy in concrete hospitals in the country. We still do not have supervisors for our chaplains and there is no possibility to train some chaplains for this position in the country yet. It means the challenge of sustainability of chaplains for the future.

Alongside the activities of Association of hospital chaplains works the Commission for the spiritual care in Health Service at Ecumenical Council of Churches. The members of the Committee are the representatives who were nominated by the different churches. The Committee started to organize the qualifying examination for the hospital chaplains which pass off once a year. There are certain requirements for the candidates, for example the master degree from Theology, endorsement from the own church, at least two years of pastoral care and one year of pastoral care in the hospital. The requirements are the same for the protestant and catholic chaplains, because of the Agreement about hospital chaplaincy signed up together between Ecumenical Council of Churches and Czech bishop’s Conference (Roman-catholic) in 2006. It also means that one of the members of examining committee at protestant examination is the representative from Roman Catholic Church and one of the members at examining committee at Roman Catholic side is the representative from protestant church. After passing the qualifying examination there is the consecration of the hospital chaplains who receive the Certificate and we called them “certified hospital chaplains”. That means the highest level of hospital chaplaincy, even most of the hospitals still don’t understand it due to lacking legislation. The certification of hospital chaplains wants to bring the system and clarification within the chaplaincy itself, because of many pastoral and spiritual caregivers from Churches or even outside the churches become interested in providing spiritual care for sick people in hospitals. The Commission for the Spiritual Care in Health Service try hard to initiate communication with Ministry of health and negotiate the position of hospital chaplain in the system. It hasn’t been successful so far.

Miriam Prasilova
Commission for Spiritual Care in Health Service of Ecumenical Council of Churches in CR,
Vice-chairman of the Assotiation of hospital chaplains,
Coordinator of hospital chaiplains in Silesian Evangelical church.


[November 2016]

Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic

Mrs Sandra Silna
General Secretary
370/5 Donska, Prague 10






Healthcare Chaplaincy in Denmark

PRIS is an organization of about 100 chaplains of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark working in different areas within healthcare. We work in somatic hospitals, psychiatric hospitals as well as in Hospices. Most of us part time, as we also have a smaller or a larger percentage working as ordinary pastors in the Lutheran Evangelical Church in Denmark. PRIS is a part of the union for chaplains and pastors in Denmark called “Praesteforeningen”. PRIS forms a committee of 7 members, one from each region + one elected at the general assembly. Committee members are elected for two years at a time.


The Association of Health Care Chaplains in Denmark:



Rev. Ulla Britt Soerensen

Psykiatrien Oest, Region Sjaelland


Mobil: +45 20 21 25 66




Ecumenical Patriarchate

(Orthodox Church)

Fr Stavros Kofinas

Fr Stavros Kofinas (Salzburg 2014)


The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has been the centre of Christianity throughout the history of the Eastern Church and Hellenism, from the time of the First Ecumenical Synod (325 AD) down to the third millennium. It is the "First See" among the earliest Patriarchates of Eastern Christendom and the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches. Under the leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, its immediate Patriarchal jurisdiction is around Constantinople and Asia Minor, but in essence, it does not have geographical boundaries. This makes its character truly ecumenical in nature. Within the realm of Europe, subject to the Patriarchate are the Churches of Great Britain (including Ireland and Malta), France and the Iberian Peninsula, Germany, Austria and Hungary, Scandinavia, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Northern Greece, the Southern Greek Islands and Crete.
(See: )

Throughout its history, the Church of Constantinople was intertwined with the care of the sick and health care chaplaincy. In Byzantium, the Church established many hospitals and hostels that facilitated the needs of those who were suffering. After the fall of the Eastern Christian Empire, the role of the Patriarchate became more vital in meeting the demands for philanthropic health care. Orthodox Christians played a major role in the Ottoman Empire, establishing hospitals and parish centred health services.

Today, this long tradition remains alive. Within the modern city of Istanbul, the Ecumenical Patriarchate oversees the Baloukli General Hospital, which also includes a psychiatric hospital and a home for the aged. In countries that are dominated by an Orthodox populace, each Metropolis offers many services, ranging from homes for the aged to home care services. Clergymen work closely with the laymen in managing all of these services. In Greece, where the populous is mostly Orthodox, the majority of the hospitals are operated by the State. An assigned priest serves these hospitals. In many cases, these priests serve as full time chaplains paid by the State. In the jurisdictions of the diaspora (those which are outside of the realm of Constantinople, Asia Minor and Greece) the residing Orthodox Christians are a minority. Because of this, the local parish priest, who heads a very close-knitted community, offers pastoral health care to the Orthodox Christians in need.
(See: In many Metropolises of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, there is a clergyman specifically assigned to coordinating pastoral healthcare.

The majority of the priests who serve the sick have received some type of pastoral education within their theological training. Presently, there are no specific formal qualifications or standards for those who administer to the sick. The priests who serve hospitals and other healthcare facilities are chosen according to their spiritual competence and discretion. Many of them have created a sound and well rounded tradition of pastoral health care worthy of high appraisal. The parish priests are expected to have, and, in most cases, do have a high sense of pastoral consciousness. (See:

In order for our Church to continue providing high quality pastoral care to the suffering, it is necessary that all those who are involved in caring for the will to unite their efforts and pastoral concerns, to become more aware of the dynamics, developments and prospects of health care and to improve the spiritual care they offer. The rapid progress in medical science, the increasing concern in the spiritual dimension of illness and the need to cooperate with other faiths and health organizations on a world-wide multidisciplinary level makes this need even more essential. Realizing this necessity, the Hold Synod of the Ecumenical Throne decided to hold the first “International Conference on Pastoral Health Care of the Ecumenical Patriarchate”. It was held in Rhodes between the 8th and 12th of October 2008. Representatives from all the Metropolises throughout the world that belong to the Ecumenical Patriarchate attended (clergy, doctors and others that serve in the sensitive area of health care), together with representatives from the Churches of Greece, Cyprus, Albania, representatives from other denominations and other health care providers.

After the Conference of Rhodes, His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the firm conviction and commitment which characterizes his pastoral identity, took the initiative to form a Network of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Pastoral Health Care. Such a network will give the opportunity to all who minister to the sick to benefit from sharing their knowledge and experience and to improve their training. Together with this, the network will contribute to the further development of ministering to the sick with high quality pastoral care.  (See:

The aims of the network are:

1) To form a clearer understanding of Orthodox theology in relation to pastoral health care
2) A more systematic account of the pastoral care offered in hospitals and health care facilities by Orthodox clergy and lay people.
3) The formation a dialogue of chaplains and pastoral caretakers with other health care professionals

Efforts are also being made to also form a closer working relationship with chaplains of other Faiths and denominations, especially in the areas of Europe where Orthodox are a minority. Health care chaplaincy is on the agenda of the Orthodox-Muslim dialogue which is underway.

Representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Anniversary  Consultation of the European Network of Health Care Chaplaincy in London is Fr Stavros Kofinas Coordinator of the Network of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Pastoral Health Care. He is a priest (protopresbyter) and a practicing psychotherapist with a wide experience in the area of health care chaplaincy. After his studies in theology, clinical psychology and pastoral psychiatric care, he served for many years as a chaplain in a general hospital in Athens. He has organized and taken part in many educational seminars and training programs for clergy, doctors, nurses and social workers. Presently Fr Kofinas is the celebrant at the Monastery of St Meletios of Kitherona. He established and supervised the clergy of the pastoral program for the Hospital of Elefsis, serves as a supervising consultant for the Counselling Program of the Metropolis of Peristeri, and is very active in the area of psychotherapy.

He first attended the European Consultation of Hospital Chaplaincy, which took place in Rome. On behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarch, he headed the organization of the 6th Consultation, which took place in Crete, and took part in the organisational committee for the 7th Consultation in Finland, where he was elected as Coordinator of the ENHCC. . He was re-elected Coordinator at the 8th Consultation in Dublin in 2004 for four years and the 10th Consultation in Estonia for another two years.


Rev. Dr. Stavros Kofinas
Coordinator of the Network of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Pastoral Health Care

Lycias 3
171 24 Nea Smyrni

Phone: +30-6944 57 3625  
Fax: +30 – 210 93 74 217   


[September 2010]





Estonia's representatives (Debrecen 2016)


Pastoral Care in the Estonia

Pastoral care has been practiced in Estonia since 1992. The first training of professional pastoral caregivers was organised as a joint project by Estonian and Finnish Lutheran churches ten years ago in Tartu (Estonia). The educators leading this project were all professionals from Finland. During this training the students also started to practice pastoral care in several hospitals in Estonia.

1993-1995 three graduates of the first training program continued their studies in Finland where they passed more complex training of pastoral care and counselling. 1996-1998 two of them attended the program of pastoral care supervisors there.

In 1994 the Centre of Pastoral Care was founded by the Estonian Evangelic Lutheran Church. For that time the Estonian pastoral caregivers had got their first practical experiences and the field of pastoral care was actualised and recognised also outside of church. Now the Centre of Pastoral Care of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church has closed. But the responsibility for pastoral care is taken over by Diaconal Council with a coordinator of pastoral care, who is responsible for this area of work within the Lutheran Church

The field of Pastoral Care has two main focuses. First the provision of training courses in pastoral care and counselling to educate professional caregivers and to ensure the continuity of pastoral care tradition in Estonia. The second aim is to develop and regulate the practice of pastoral care and counselling in hospitals, communities and welfare institutions. One of the important purposes is to introduce the field of the pastoral care outside of the church community by cooperating with public institutions.

The basic training in pastoral care and counselling lasts one year. After the basic training the students can attend additional courses in more specific subjects. In most cases the participants of the training program are community workers and workers from welfare institutions who can apply the skills of pastoral care and counselling in their professional life. But also other members of community and volunteers benefit from the basic training.

Today one of the main priorities of pastoral caregivers in Estonia is to introduce the field of pastoral care and the profession of pastoral caregiver outside of church community as the official status of pastoral caregivers is still undefined in Estonian society. The pastoral caregivers usually find a full-time job in the institutions where the leadership board is aware of the field of pastoral care and able to understand the functions of pastoral caregiver and to value the advantages of his/her work. In recent years there is a growing awareness of pastoral care in society and there is an increasing circle of institutions who hire pastoral caregivers to solve internal problems of organisation, education or supervision in their organisations. For example there is very good cooperation with the state Victim Support program and also with the Central Rescue Department etc.

Last Year in the field of pastoral care, the Centre of Pastoral Care in Tartu was opened. It is staffed by students of Pastoral Care who had been educated by Naatan Haamer in basic training courses. The idea of this centre is to offer people the possibility of getting free help from professionals. This possibility was available in Tartu outside of hospitals where pastoral caregiver are working. The Centre of Pastoral Care, like this, is the first in Estonia and is made possible only by enthusiasm of students and with help of local sponsors. The Centre is still working very successfully and has a high reputation amongst the citizens as well in the city government.


Naatan Haamer
The coordinator of pastoral care
Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church


[May 2006]


Evangelical Lutheran Church of Estonia


Rev Naatan Haamer
Lepiku 14 -3b






Sampo Muurinenm

Jussi Ollila, Karoliina Nikula and Sampo Muurinenm (Debrecen 2016)



In Finland hospital chaplains are employed by the parishes or parish unions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland. During World War II (1939–1944) pastors working in war hospitals understood the importance of private counselling and sought to visit the patients every week. A more modern-day concept of hospital chaplaincy began to evolve.

The growing number of hospital chaplains and the establishment of the chaplaincy led to the foundation of Suomen sairaalapapit ry (Finland’s Hospital Chaplains Assc.) in 1962. In 1984 the name was changed to Sairaalateologit ry (Hospital Theologians Assc.). In 2015 the association had 138 members, some already retired. In Finland pastoral ordination has been open to women since 1988.

The board of the association consists of nine members, one representative of every Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in addition to the chairman. Mrs. Annamari Simpanen from Espoo serves as chairman for the term 2015–2016.

Sairaalateologit ry (Hospital Theologians Assc.) is a subsection of the pastors’ labour union of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Its task is to promote the interests of its members, provide peer support, and organize further and supplementary education. A one or two day training is organized in connection with the annual meeting in order to support hospital chaplains in their professional identity, skills and well-being. Communication with and among the members is effected through member letters and through a closed Facebook group. The association cooperates in the area of education with the Division for Diaconia and Counselling of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

In 2014, 73.8% of the population belonged to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. 23.5% (1.3 million people) did not belong to any religious organisation. 1.1% belonged to the Orthodox Church. Even though the majority of the population still belongs to a church, membership is not self-evident any longer. More and more people question the value of belonging to the church. The hospital chaplain needs to reflect on how to assist and connect with those who are no longer familiar with church language and religious traditions. Patients spend ever shorter periods of time in hospital and ever more time at home or as out-patients. What is the place of the hospital chaplain in this transformation?


The Finnish Association of Hospital Chaplains



Annamari Simpanen (Director)


Mari Kivinen (Deputy Director)


Anna-Maija Lakomaa (Secretary)



[October 2015]






France's representatives (Debrecen 2016)




The chaplaincy in France is represented in most cities and directly reports to each local bishop who appoints local chaplains. About 20,000 people constitute the country catholic chaplaincy. Most of them are volunteers under the supervision of locally appointed chaplains. Chaplains are either volunteers or hired by hospitals or health structures. Chaplaincy team work and team spirit is given very high consideration at every level of activity : Country, province (or archdiocese), diocese and health establishment

If the chaplaincy team is the body which sends out to the elderly, the disabled and the sick, it is also the “return point” where everyone reports what happened, as did Jesus’ disciples returning from the mission he had assigned to them. Since Easter morning Christ resurrected is with us, “He is always already here”, present in each of our encounters.

Chaplaincy in France has to comply with restrictions directly associated with secularity constraints. The separation of Church and State, which took place in 1905, has defined a "French-style" secularity in which the chaplaincy has a peculiar status : it is the sole ecclesial reality present in government structures.
[September 2010]




Protestant Healthcare Chaplaincy

The Protestant Federation of France is a unique Federation to which the majority of Protestant Churches in France are affiliated. The church members reflect together on various societal topics and certain organizational questions. This institution also expresses needs or concerns on the behalf of the Protestant Churches to public authorities. That is why, as the Health Department looks to structure hospital chaplaincy in public hospitals, it turns towards the Protestant Federation for all questions concerning nomination and accreditation of protestant chaplains.

Appointed by the Council of the Protestant Federation in 2011, the Head Chaplain, Rev. Isabelle Meykuchel, is presently working with the National Commission of HealthCare Chaplaincy of the Federation to organize and structure this relatively new chaplaincy.  

Until the 1990’s few chaplains were salaried fulltime by hospital institutions. Pastors were sent into hospital by the Churches on a call-in basis. The number of chaplains has grown and today there are about 120 healthcare chaplains, the majority of which are salaried by the hospitals. One of the challenges facing the Head Chaplain and her Commission is the regional organization of this chaplaincy. Up until now, chaplains were, for the most part, dependant on local Church organization. In a desire to harmonize the different structures, the national Commission seeks to set up regional entities, facilitating closer ties with the national structure (Head Chaplain and Commission).

The Head Chaplain and the Commission also oversee questions concerning continuing education. Chaplains are required to follow at least one session of CPT training. Every two years chaplains, volunteers and health professionals from all French speaking countries are invited to a congress dealing with healthcare and chaplaincy topics. Bi-annual meetings are held on the following year, specifically bringing together protestant healthcare chaplains. The Protestant Universities of Strasbourg and Montpellier offer courses for chaplaincy work as well. Training sessions for new chaplains are organized at a national level but there is a desire within the Commission to develop more continuing education.

In 2010 many of the Churches from the Evangelical movement as well as the Pentecostal movement formed a new federation: CNEF (Conseil National des Eglises Evangéliques de France). The Protestant Federation has recently been working with the CNEF concerning the accreditation of hospital chaplains coming from Churches who are members of the CNEF.

Since her nomination, Rev Isabelle Meykuchel has had to face up to numerous tasks; one of them is meeting with official authorities, such as the Department of Health and another is speaking at official meetings. She is also our ambassador to different Church authorities in an effort to promote professional healthcare chaplaincy.


The French context

France is a secular country. The law of 1905 not only separated government and Church but also set the foundations for chaplaincies. This law guaranties individual religious rights and also guaranties equality of treatment of different religious faiths by government.

Two specific circulars were recently written by the Department of Health in an effort to structure and more fully integrate healthcare chaplaincies within the hospital institutions. The circular of 2006 defines how chaplains are to be recruited by public hospital administrations. The term “patients’ spiritual needs” is used for the first time in an official document referring to chaplaincy. The circular of 2011 presents a multi - faith chart. This chart was written in collaboration between representatives of each faith group (Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and Protestant) and government officials. It proposes methods for better integration of chaplaincy work and patient information in public hospitals. This circular also asks each hospital to appoint a health professional in charge of the organization of the chaplaincies in the local hospital. This person is supposed to facilitate the insertion of the chaplaincy within the local hospital. In the near future, the Department of Health plans to evaluate the application of the 2011 circular within the different public hospitals.

The future

French Healthcare chaplaincy in general has greatly evolved in the past two decades. There is still work to be done. The meaning of spiritual care is still not always understood by healthcare professionals. Confusion between the respect of secular laws and the recognition of patients’ spiritual needs is still prevalent. This subject will probably be an important issue in the coming years for the development of healthcare chaplaincy in France.


[Paris, September 1, 2014]




Aumônerie Nationale Catholique des Hôpitaux

106, rue du Bac
75341 Paris - Cedex 07



Mme Denise Lanblin




Fédération Protestante de France

Commission de l'Aumônerie des Etablissements Sanitaires
et Médico-sociaux


President of the Commission
Rév Jean-Jacques Bonsirven


Head Chaplain
Rev. Isabelle Meykuchel
Head Chaplain
Fédération Protestant de France
47, rue de Clichy
75009 Paris FRANCE
E-mail :


Rév Anne Miller







Tony Lothar, Traugott Roser (Debrecen 2016)


Health Care Chaplaincy in the EKD

Our church is organised as a regional denominational church with one leading organisation, the EKD which includes all the others. But the EKD is not authorized to make decisions which concern the regional churches.

Normally health care chaplaincy is provided and financed by the church and the church has the responsibility for the health care chaplaincy. In the meantime in some regional churches chaplaincy is becoming more and more a part of the hospital, including the financial affairs.

We have standards, which are obligatory for the regional churches and every hospital chaplain has to observe this, but not in every case the standards are observed; exceptional cases are usual.
In summer 2004 a guide for Protestant Health Care Chaplaincy was published giving information about work and standards.

Becoming a health care chaplain goes in steps, at first you have to apply for this position. If you are chosen, you have to prove that you have the knowledge. This knowledge you receive by taking part in courses of clinical pastoral training. If you take part in several courses, at last it is possible to become a supervisor, but this last step isn’t necessary to work as a health care chaplain.


Developing Health Care Chaplaincy – visions and steps
Changes in our hospitals are going on. More and more patients stay for a shorter term (less then five days) in the hospital. The patients who cannot be treated any longer go back home or are brought to a hospice, to an old people’s home or to a nursing home, where they will end their lives.
Chaplaincy will keep its character as a support in the hospital, but also it has to become more professional. A discussion is taking place that chaplaincy has to demonstrate its effect, by writing down its work, like nurses or doctors do it. At the moment great efforts are made to develop cooperation between structures inside and outside the hospitals to guarantee the best possible treatment for the patients and to consider their wishes about treatment and quality of life, for example in palliative care or treatment of persons in need of care.
The guide mentioned above is one answer of the Conference for Health Care Chaplaincy in the EKD to this problem. In future it will be necessary to overwork this guide, because the conditions work in hospitals are changing very quickly. Increasing spheres of activity are ethical questions and palliative care.
Also chaplaincy will change its character. It will become popular in the hospitals. It is something, which you can make money with. That means: qualified health care chaplaincy possibly is able to increase the popularity of the hospital and patients may choose this special hospital again.
Recently lots of the regional churches have got into financial difficulties. All of the member churches of the EKD have to establish new priorities of work. Mostly at first they take a look at the several different chaplaincy services – obviously also at the health care chaplaincy – in order to find special parts of work to economize. Furthermore all member churches put the main priority on the work in the traditional parish.
Churches and hospitals are struggling about the way to finance health care chaplaincy. The churches want the hospitals to contribute to the expenses, but the hospitals don’t agree, because they are also in financial difficulties. It is difficult to manage refinancing health care chaplaincy . There are extensive conflicts of interests between hospitals and churches. Health care chaplains often find themselves between the lines.
But the basic value of chaplaincy in general and of health care chaplaincy specially as the native language of the church is not in question at all. The question is how to communicate this main value inside and outside the churches to find the appropriate attention.
Rev Lothar Jung-Hankel
[November 2012]




Roman-Catholic Health Care Chaplaincy in Germany

The 27 dioceses of the Roman-Catholic Church in Germany employ about 1,500 hospital chaplains. The staff involves priests, deacons and religious as well as lay people. As a rule, they are highly qualified for their service, as high standards have been established in the training of hospital chaplains in the past 20 years. In many dioceses there are special institutes for clinical pastoral training.
The ultimate responsibility for hospital chaplaincy rests with the local bishop, who appoints a diocesan commissioner for hospital chaplaincy in his diocese. All diocesan commissioners meet once a year for a conference in order to exchange experiences and to discuss topical issues, such as the scope of hospital chaplaincy, pastoral care in hospitals and for patients at home, ethical questions in hospitals or consequences of the development of health care policy.
At local level, the catholic hospital chaplains have an excellent and close ecumenical cooperation with chaplains of the protestant church. At national level, too, the protestant and catholic representatives in charge of hospital chaplaincy meet on a regular basis to exchange experiences.
[September 2010]


Dr Hans-Gerd Angel
After a three years professorship for social ethics at the University of Bonn I am back at the secretariat of the German Bishops’ Conference since October 2006. From 1992 to 2003 I worked at the department for World Church affairs mainly on peace keeping and development questions. Now within the department for pastoral care I’m responsible for the coordination of some pastoral fields: the catholic hospital chaplaincy, the catholic part of the ecumenical crisis line, the handicapped persons and the serious ill and dying people including burial questions. Moreover I coordinate an annual ecumenical ‘campaign’ called Week for life existing 20 years promoting the human dignity.
I have studied theology and German studies, did a doctorate in moral theology and I’m associate professor for social ethics at the University of Münster.
[September 2010]



Thomas Hiemenz

I am a male nurse and a theologian. One of my functions in the ASSOCIATION OF GERMAN CATHOLIC HOSPITALS (about 500) is to compose an annual programme for hospital chaplaincies supplementary to the training and advanced training of the dioceses. In the CONFERERENCE OF ROMAN CATHOLIC HOSPITAL CHAPLAINCY IN GERMANY I am member of the managing committee. At the same time I am the representative for hospice in the German Caritas Association in Freiburg.
[May 2008]


Legislation regarding “Hospital Chaplaincy” in Germany

Hospital chaplaincy (pastoral care in hospitals) in Germany is legally regulated and accepted. It is guaranteed by law in non-profit (ecclesiastical or charity organisations as supporters), in public and private hospitals (basic law art. 140, in link with art. 141 of the “Weimarer Verfassung”). This legal approach of the churches is according to the legal claim of the citizens for free religious practice (basic law art. 4, p. 2). With these legal foundations not only the practice of pastoral care is guaranteed but also the discharge of all claims which are necessary for delivery (e.g. making available suitable rooms for pastoral care conversations and divine services).
These laws and their consequences explicitly apply to the public hospitals (the hospitals under the authority of the state and communal hospitals). For the private hospitals, this claim also applies.. Ecclesiastical hospitals increase the legal scope by making clear the meaning of hospital chaplaincy as a characteristic part of their organisation and trying to rise to this demand.
Doing his work in the hospital each pastoral caretaker is bound by the relevant valid data protection laws of the Federal Government and its counties, to ecclesiastical data protection, to the area-specific data protection regulation as well as to the official professional discretion and he is protected from third person due to the official secret.
Because of the significance of hospital pastoral care it is especially important that the hospital management, medical directors and ward nurses, and as many as possible members of the hospital staff are informed about the aims, contents and the practice of pastoral care. Hospital pastoral care should be a part of educational training and further training, and exchange of experiences should take place between the staff of the hospital and the pastoral caretakers. The best way to get knowledge of hospital chaplaincy is by experiencing the work of hospital chaplaincy in person. Furthermore it is necessary that the pastoral caretaker is regularly present in the wards and through his work in the hospital.
The responsible person for hospital chaplaincy – either the manager of a team or the parish clergyman – is responsible for making arrangements to get pastoral caretakers in his absence. Changes in the staff of hospital chaplaincy often burden those people being concerned: Who will be able to do this important pastoral tasks in a suitable way?
(in: The German Bishops no 60, The concern of the church for the sick, April 20th, 1998, 34 and 35)

[May 2008]



Conference of Roman Catholic Hospital Chaplaincy

Konferenz Katholische Krankenhausseelsorge in Deutschland

Pater Dr Manfred Entrich
Head of the Department Pastoral Care
of the German Bishops´ Conference



Dr Hans-Gerd Angel
Sekretariat der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz
Bereich Pastoral
Kaiserstraße 161
D-53113 Bonn


Katholischer Krankenhausverbad Deutschlands


Thomas Hiemenz
Katholischer Krankenhausverbad Deutschlands
79004 Freiburg



Conference of Health Care Chaplaincy 
in the Protestant Church of Germany (E.K.D.)


Lothar Jung-Hankel
Conference on Clinical Pastoral Care of the EKD
(Konferenz für Klinikseelsorge in der EKD)
Lothar -Tony- Jung-Hankel, Pastor
An der Comturkirche 6
35510 Butzbach





Fr Adamantios

Greece's representatives (Debrecen 2016)


Health Care Chaplaincy in the Orthodox Church of Greece

In 2010 the Pastoral Training Foundation was established in the Holy Archdiocese of Athens under the aegis and active Chairmanship of HB Leronymos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece. This new service, whose main task is "to shepherd the shepherds", "aims at the training, the education, the edification, the pastoral specialization and lifelong learning of the clergy, both of those to be ordained and those in office, as well as of the lay staff of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens”
(Government Gazette no. B 1011/28.05.2009). Father Adamantios Avgoustidis was rightly appointed its Director General, as it was he who suggested and set up this initiative in the first place.
Within this formal framework, during last term, covering the first months of experimental operation of the Foundation, lectures were given on topics such as Ecclesiastical Administration, Voluntary Ministration to Patients, Catechetics, Exomology (Holy Confession), Kerygma - Homiletics, Support and Training of Lay Staff of Pastoral Work, Hospital Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care for Special Issues, whereas new subjects are expected to enrich this programme in the forthcoming term. After the successful completion of the first term, as proven by the satisfactory attendance and the genuine interest of attendees in the lectures and discussions offered, the plan now is to lay increasing emphasis not only on the pastoral and theological aspects but on the practical component of the courses, particularly of those pertaining to and supporting the difficult task of chaplaincy in Greece.
It was thus soon realized by all those involved that the Pastoral Training Foundation provided the ideal ground for the coordination, supervision and reinvigoration of healthcare chaplaincy, since it came to be not merely the new meeting point and centre of reference of hospital chaplains (initially those based in Athens and referring to the Archdiocese) but also a reliable organization which they could confidently turn to for both spiritual and practical support, training and updated information; and, most importantly, an exciting forum for the exchange of their unique experiences and insights, as well as for the expression of views, proposals and new ideas. Furthermore, chaplains were happy to find that this new organisation was receptive to and even encouraged their constructive feedback, thus contributing to the "bottom up" approach adopted by the present Archbishop, namely one that works from the grassroots, from the large number of clergy and laity working together, causing a decision to arise from their joint involvement, a decision that will be tailored, as much as possible, to their own needs as our brethren express them.
In addition, over the last years we run a Programme of Voluntary Ministration to Patients (around 350 volunteers) which operates within the framework of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens and in close co-operation with the Pastoral Training Foundation. Its task is to provide companionship, care and nourishment to patients, keeping the best possible safety standards for them, for healthcare areas, the volunteers and the patients s families. Volunteers work under the close supervision and support of our social workers and of healthcare services. As regards our cooperation with hospitals, they do not act in an independent manner. They offer voluntary services only upon request from the Healthcare Services concerned. Each time they are invited to care for a new patient, our social workers pay him or her a visit and, in collaboration with the healthcare staff, re-evaluate the case and integrate it in our services. The Hospital then receives a detailed daily report showing the volunteers’ names, time scheduling, clinics and patients’ names.


Representative of the Church of Greece to the ENHCC:

Rev. Dr Adamantios G Avgoustidis,MD, PhD, Psychiatrist, Theologian, elected as associate Professor at the University of Athens and priest (protopresbyter) in the Orthodox Christian Church of Greece.
Fr Adamantios served as the Director of the "Psychiatric and Pastoral Care Service" of the Centre for Mental Health (C.M.H.) of Athens, Supervisor of a Deinstitutionalization program for long-term and severe institutionalized mental patients ("Boarding House Unit of Levadia"- a rehabilitation program for chronic psychotic patients) and of the National “Foster Families Program” of the C.M.H. Presently, and later as member of the Board of Directors of the C.M.H. He is Associate Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry and Pastoral Theology at the School of Theology at the University of Athens. He had been the president of "European Council for Pastoral Care and Counseling" (ECPCC) and now member of its Steering Committee. Apart from his academic position, he is the General Director of the "Pastoral Training Foundation" of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens, Greece. Among other activities, the foundation offers training and supervision to the hospital chaplains of the Archdiocese. He is also a member of the synodal committee for pastoral care issues, working on a global proposal for the renovation of hospital chaplaincy in Greece.
[September 2010]


The Orthodox Church of Greece 


Rev. Dr Prof Adamantios G Avgoustidis
Lector, University of Athens.
23, Athinas str
Piraeus 18539







Hungary's representatives & Debrecen 2016 organisers: Rózsa Drabik, Judit Gál, Edina Farkas


Health Care Chaplaincy in Hungary

Since the beginning of the 1990s the Reformed (Calvinist), the Roman Catholic, the Lutheran and the Greek Catholic hospital chaplaincy s been improving in Hungary; not only in the church service but also in the state care institution. It seems to be a slow process: from the recognising of the need to the full cooperation.

Health Care Chaplaincy of the Hungarian Reformed (Calvinist) Church

Although there are centuries old traditions of pastoral care among the sick – spiritual care was prohibited or illegal for 40 years in Hungarian hospitals. After 1990, when the hospital doors opened up again to church services, numbers gave a warm welcome. At that time parish leaders reorganized hospital worship all over the country. Later full and part time chaplains started their counselling and service. Their number has been increasing ever since... Establishing pastoral care and counselling in the health care system is not an easy and rapid process. Pastoral psychological education, training programs for chaplains and supervision successfully helped our "construction”. Recently as the whole health care system has been changing in Hungary - there are 33 Reformed (Calvinist) chaplains in 26 cities. We try to work in ecumenical teams. 
Hospital Chaplaincy belongs to the Reformed Mission Centre, which coordinates the different church services in the society.


The present structure of our services:

There are 3 types of chaplaincy in our church, depending on the financial supporter of the position.

The status is run by the hospital – professional pastoral care and counselling is supported and accepted by the institution and available for everybody.

The regional church runs the status – pastoral care is offered mainly for the members of different Calvinist congregations – but is it available for others, too, if they need help.

The status is run by the local church – the chaplain organises devotions and gives help on request.


Pastoral care in our health care system means:

  • Spiritual care, counselling patients, family members and staff.
  • Participation in institutional work as an ethical and spiritual care provider. 
  • Cooperation with other churches, as well as civil organisations.
  • Our plan for the future
  • Improving professional pastoral care – we would like to demonstrate and emphasise its effect on care giving in hospitals and the congregations.
  • Pastoral care for hospital staff as an essential part of the institution (for example: burn out prevention)
  • Strengthen the volunteers’ work for visiting the sick – in hospitals and congregations
  • Raising interest of theological students for chaplaincy


Judit Gál

Judit Gál is a Reformed Church minister. Since 1993 she has worked as a chaplain in a state hospital. She studied Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in Atlanta, USA (1995-97) and graduated in Pastoral phsychology at the University of Debrecen.
In 2000 she received a commission from her church Synod to be the coordinator, leader of the hospital chaplaincy in her church. Her tasks include: organising meetings, helping to establish new positions, joining forces with chaplains, increasing collaboration with the Hungarian chaplains in the Carpathian basin. She has supervised students of theology in hospital practice and is an active volunteer group work organiser.
She is also involved in the work of the Reformed Mission Centre since 2009.
She lives with her husband and her daughter.
Judit first attended the 11th Consultation in London in 2010

[November 2012]


Tünde Édes

My name is Tünde Édes and I was born on 1 March 1951. Since 1989, I have worked as a clinical chaplain with the Calvinist Church of Baranya County in Pécs



Calvinist Theological University Budapest, 1984-1989. (Diploma obtained: chaplain) 

Gereformeerde Universiteit Kampen, The Netherlands (postgraduate training, 1992-1995) 

Free University, Amsterdam 
(training for clinical chaplaincy 1995)


Language skills 

Hungarian, Dutch, German, English and Russian Membership of Professional Bodies: 

Hungarian Hospice Society

Hungarian Psychodrama Society

Hospital Ethical Board, Pécs Key Qualifications

Pastoral psychology (supervisor to-be)

Psychodrama assistant

Trained tutor of palliative care education


Professional activities: 

Religious service in the university clinics

Spiritual counselling in different clinics and hospitals for the patients of the university clinics: mainly cancer patients, children with chronic illnesses, etc.

Teaching (occasionally) of hospice nurses

Teaching in the Menthalhygiene Department of Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church

Specialized professional activities:

Working as a member of the Mobil Team of Hospice in Pécs (there are 3 different Hospice teams) and connected to this

I teach as a trainer the volunteers by the “Good Word” Foundation. 3 groups have been trained, looking for sponsors to every team.

Looking tenders to the training works.


Visions for the future

Development of clinical chaplain practice: teamwork, permanent education

Training of volunteers, involving them into the team

To be not the only clinical chaplain in our city.


Rev Tünde Édes 
Clinical Chaplain with the Calvinist Church of Baranya County 
Pécs, Hungary

[May 2008]


Reformed Church, Hungary


Rev Judit Gál

Reformed Mission Centre
Health Care Chaplaincy
1151 Budapest
Alag u.3.


Rev Drs Tünde Édes 
Hospital Chaplain 
H-7621 Pécs
Gábor u. 4. 11/7





Health Care Chaplaincy in Iceland

Sigfinnur Þorleifsson

For the last seventeen years I have been serving as a hospital chaplain in Reykjavík. When I started working we had three hospitals in Reykjavík and I was the only chaplain. From that time on the chaplaincy has been steadily growing and at the same time the hospitals have become fewer and larger. Now we have only one big general hospital in Reykjavík (Landspítali Háskólasjúkrahús, The University Hospital of Iceland) and we are eight working there in the chaplaincy team: seven pastors and one deaconess. There are about 1000 beds in the hospital, so the standards are rather high. All of us are employees of the hospital, but the bishop of the Lutheran Church (the national church to which 90% of the population belongs) is our bishop and we are responsible to him in regards to our teaching. When the board of hospital advertises for a new chaplain there is a committee of three set up to interview the candidates, with one member from the hospital, one from the bishop and one from the professional field of chaplaincy. They list them in respect of their professional ability and the bishop gives his advice and recommendation, but the board of the hospital makes the final decision and ensures that the professional standards are fulfilled.

In the hospital setting a chaplain works mainly with the patients, but also with the relatives and staff. He/she supports those who have severe difficulties because of losses, due to failing health, accidents, dying, sudden death etc. He/she offers spiritual support to people (patients, families and staff) who are dealing with crises, stress and agony. He/she conducts services, gives lectures (for the staff), participates in different committees, like on ethical matters etc. The hospital chaplain is on-call and he/she is present at the death bed of a patients, when serious accident happens and when people get bad news etc. For the last two years we have tried at the University Hospital to make an accurate record of our work load - which is impossible, but an important task anyway. To do so we have counted the counselling dialogues, the calls we have had when off duty (from 17.00 to 0800 hours and at weekends), the Sunday and midweek services, services at the death bed, hours spent in meetings and so on. What we have showed with these figures has been the strongest argument when we have asked for increased financial support from the hospital board.

In the field of pastoral care and counselling most of us have got our theological training (the degree of cand. Theol.) from the University of Iceland. We have then taken CPE either in the States or in Sweden and Norway. We have three deaconesses working at a nursing home in Reykjavík (Sóltún). In the rural area of Iceland there is only one chaplain (at the Hospital in Akureyri), but the local ministers take care of the pastoral care and counselling in other places. The Lutheran Church of Iceland is also providing chaplaincy to prisoners, handicapped and mute people (three chaplains). So all together there are fifteen pastors/deaconesses working full-time in the field of chaplaincy in Iceland.


Sigfinnur Þorleifsson 
Hospital Chaplain, Landspítala Háskólasjúkrahús, Reykjavík,

[May 2002]

Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland


Sigfinnur Þorleifsson
Hospital Chaplain 
Landspítali University Hospital
108 Reykjavík






Pat O’Donovan and Maureen Mc Cabe


Health Care Chaplaincy in Ireland

Healthcare Chaplaincy Board

A Council for Healthcare, which is a Council of the Irish’s Bishop’s Conference, was established in Ireland in September, 2013. The Healthcare Chaplaincy Board is now a sub-committee of the Council for Healthcare. Ms. Maureen Mc Cabe is the Chairperson of the Healthcare Chaplaincy Board (HCB). She is Co-ordinator of Chaplaincy for Saint John of God Hospitaller Services in Ireland. Sr. Pat O’Donovan is a member of the Council for Healthcare and also acts as secretary to the Healthcare Chaplaincy Board (HCB).



Pat O'Donovan, RSM
CORI Secretariat (AMRI)
Missionaries of Africa
Cypress Grove
Dublin 6W




Maureen Mc Cabe

Healthcare Chaplain
Saint John of God Hospital
Co. Dublin



Pat O'Donovan, RSM
CORI Secretariat (AMRI)
Missionaries of Africa
Cypress Grove
Dublin 6W



[June 2016]


Chaplaincy Accreditation Board

The Chaplaincy Accreditation Board (CAB) is a professional accreditation body for Healthcare Chaplains operating in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It provides healthcare chaplaincy accreditation, registration and ongoing training and support for healthcare chaplains. The Chaplaincy Accreditation Board was established by the House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland and accredits eligible chaplaincy candidates from the Church of Ireland (Anglican/Episcopalian) and other faith/ philosophical groups following appropriate endorsement by the applicant’s faith/ philosophical group. Chaplaincy Accreditation standards can be accessed here:


The Chaplaincy Accreditation Board may be contacted by emailing:


Bruce Pierce, Chairperson




Daniel Nuzum, Secretary


Postal address: Northridge House, St Luke’s Home, Mahon, Cork, Ireland


National Association of Healthcare Chaplains


Danielle Browne
PO Box 10858






Margaret Mulcaire
15 Griffeen Glen Drive
Co. Dublin


[February 2016]




Dina Herz


Association for Spiritual Care in Israel

The profession of spiritual care in Israel has only recently begun, yet it is developing quickly with a strong professional ethos.

Today (2016) there are 60 certified spiritual caregivers (in a country with over 8 million citizens). Four training programs have been accredited to train new spiritual caregivers. The profession is not yet officially recognized by the government, and we are far from full integration of spiritual care into hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, and other relevant institutions. Given that reality, the Association was established with a mandate for advancing the profession, promoting more widespread public awareness of spiritual care, ensuring a high professional standard for training in spiritual care, and examining graduates to determine if they should receive professional certification. Our vision is to bring about a new reality, one in which patients in every hospital and residents in every nursing home can receive spiritual care from certified professionals, throughout the country. We are working to advance legal recognition and regulation of the profession on the governmental level, to further the integration of spiritual care within relevant institutions, to grow the employment opportunities for spiritual caregivers, and to reach those people who could use spiritual care in different periods of their lives.

The Association is manned by volunteers, including the executive board, and a paid director. The association has several standing committees to advance key areas, including the Profession committee, Ethics, and Continuing Education.

The Association hold professional seminars for its members several times a year, and their first conference was entitled "Spirituality: An Element of Health." (21.3.2017)

Association goals

The association endeavors:

o To leverage the development and expansion of spiritual care services in Israel, and to ensure that those services are available, accessible, and high-quality.

o To develop the foundation for joint efforts with relevant government bodies, health funds, hospitals, nursing facilities, educational facilities, welfare services, and others.

o To raise awareness of spiritual care among health care and welfare professionals, and to expand the integration of spiritual caregivers into the multidisciplinary staff.

o To oversee and develop the infrastructure for training spiritual caregivers and to ensure continuous quality improvement in training and continuing education.

o To raise public awareness of the service and of their right to receive it.

o To expand research efforts and apply research findings in the field.

Dina Herz (representative)

She was borne in Basel, Switzerland, and moved to Israel 34 years ago. For the last 25 years she has been working as a simultaneous interpreter in German, Hebrew and English, working mostly with German dignitaries visiting Israel. In 2011 she decided to be trained in spiritual care, a very new field in Israel, which always interested her and became available as professional training around 2007. Since then she has worked in an Old age home, a geriatric department in a hospital, and for the last 2 years in the Bone Marrow Transplant unit at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel, where she works with people of all ages, religions, backgrounds and languages.
She is completing her first year of being trained as an educator in the field of spiritual care in order to teach students being trained in the field and serve as supervisor.
In addition she works in a joint program of the Israeli Ministry of Welfare and the Joint Distribution Committee giving support to people who have lost a close relative through a violent death, which includes murder, suicide and car accidents. She also lectures in conferences,such as "Healing Hatred, Spiritual inter-faith Challenges in a environment of political conflict", organized by the "International Association of Spiritual Care", and the "Rossing Center for Education and Dialogue", July 2017, and she recently published a chapter about spiritual care in Israel in a book called "Accompanying the Sick und Dying in Judaism", which was published 2017 in German as part of a conference, where she lectured.
She is married and she has three children and she and her family live in Jerusalem.




Fr Germano Policante (Mennorode 2012)


Health Care Chaplancy in Italy

My name is Angelo Brusco. I am a catholic priest, belonging to a religious Order, The Servants of the Sick, which is present in 34 countries. I have spent 10 years in Canada (Québec) and 2 in the USA. In Canada and in the USA I had the opportunity to receive my education, earning degrees in psychology, theology and becoming supervisor in clinical pastoral education (CPE). I also practiced pastoral ministry in a general hospital in Québec City for 9 years, teaching CPE.

Back to Italy, I founded a Pastoral Institute in Verona. In 1989 I was elected Superior General of my Order for 12 years.

After that, I returned to Verona, where I now direct the Pastoral Institute "Centro Camilliano di Formazione", continuing my teaching in Rome, as a professor of pastoral psychology in the International Institute of Healthcare Pastoral Theology, "Camillianum" and of Pastoral theology of health care in the Faculty of theology in Padova.

I am involved in the life and activity of the Association, AIPAS (Italian Association of Health Care Ministry), which gathers all those who are doing chaplaincy work in health care institutions and publishes the magazine, "Insieme per servire".


Health Care chaplaincy in Italy

Health Care chaplaincy in Italy has a long and good tradition.
There is a very active National Office for the pastoral health care, in Rome, and an Italian Association of Health Care Ministry (AIPAS), started in 1987, which publishes a quarterly magazine: “Insieme per servire” (Together to serve).
The status of chaplain is recognized both by the Church and government. Chaplains – all priests - are authorised by the bishops and appointed by the administrations of the health care institutions. The economic treatment is satisfactory.
There is an effort to include deacons, sisters and lay people in chaplaincy; the results are good. In some regions and dioceses there are chaplaincy teams, formed by priests, sisters and lay people. In some of them, the sisters and lay people are paid by the administrations, in the others the non-ordained people work on a voluntary basis.
During the last 20 years, an important step forward has been taken in the area of formation. In Rome, there is an academic Institution, the "Camillianum", specialising in the area of health care ministry, with programmes at master and doctorate level. At a non-academic level there are many Pastoral Institutes.
A challenge – which is an opportunity of growth – is the ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.


Fr Dr Angelo Brusco 
Director of Centro Camilliano di Formazione, Verona

[May 2008]


Associazione Italiana di Pastorale della Salute


Fr Dr Angelo Brusco 
Director of Centro Camilliano di Formazione 
Via C C Bresciani 2 
37124 Verona 






Guntars Reboks (Mennorode 2012)


Health Care Chaplaincy in Latvia

Latvia (one of the three Baltic States) has a population of approx. two million (2,248,000 in 2010), half of which live in the capital city Riga. There are approximately 100 hospitals in our country, only 15 of them (the biggest hospitals) have chaplains.


Since 2005 there has been a professional organization for healthcare chaplaincy in Latvia – the Association of Professional Health Care Chaplaincy (LPVAKA).
Our mission is to develop an open system for interdenominational and interfaith dialogue, which educates, trains and certifies spiritual care-givers in different health care settings. From the beginning we have also taken the initiative to educate society and especially the medical community about relevant issues regarding spiritual dimension of health care, human rights, bioethics, end-of-life and palliative care, etc. organizing local and international conferences (2005, 2006, 2007).


All employed chaplains are paid by hospitals. Some denominations try to support their chaplains by symbolic stipends and opportunities to receive spiritual care and pastoral support as well as to participate in international conferences and workshops. Our Association has always tried to seek additional funding through local and foreign sponsorship to realize most of its projects.


At this moment there are 20 hospital chaplains in Latvia, two of them have successfully completed four units of CPE in USA (Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, USA). Not all working chaplains are members of the Association. The number of the membership of the Association has been constantly changing since its foundation, mainly because of the rather high requirements the Association demands from its members. We have four different member categories – professional chaplain, associate chaplain, affiliate and honorary member – all of these have different requirements, rights and obligations.


Approximately two thirds of all working chaplains have completed clinical training in Latvia based on principles of CPE in USA, however less in- and ex-tensive and much shorter. One of the main issues we feel as problematic now is lack of qualified supervision for working chaplains. We are trying to solve it through collegiate supervisions and holding monthly workshops where we analyse our own verbatims and prepare different relevant presentations ourselves as well as we can, also inviting experts from different disciplines – nurses, physicians, psychologists, theologians, etc.


The Association holds Annual Certification interviews and always invites experts from other countries to serve on the Certification Committee as we have no qualified supervisors in Latvia yet. Nevertheless we try to educate all those who have a vocation to work as chaplains in health care settings. All working chaplains - Association members, whether they are certified or not, have obligation to fulfil the educational programme each year and gather certain amount of points to maintain their member status.

The last couple of years have brought some difficulties, especially due to the economic recession which hit Latvia hard. But there have been successes too. Here are a few highlights:

  • Chaplaincy is weathering the economic storm, even though some chaplains have been laid off. This came as no surprise, since all hospitals have faced cutbacks. In some instances, entire hospitals have closed.
  • The National Patients’ Rights Law was finally enacted after years of lobbying by our association. At first our efforts seemed hopeless, as we met strong resistance from several groups of parliament deputies. Long discussions and petitions continued for five years. When the law was finally adopted, we were glad to see that a special paragraph was included which gives every patient the right to spiritual care provided by a health care chaplain
  • Another hurdle was recently overcome when the legislature adopted laws which sanctioned our trained and certified chaplains as full members of a medical team, same as registered nurses, social workers and physicians . This is a far cry from just a few years ago when no one even knew what a chaplain was! (Remember, no religious persons were allowed in any hospitals here for 50 years!)
  • Education continues to be our primary purpose as we train and certify new chaplains, and expect all our chaplains to participate in on-going training . In May we held our certification interviews and approved two more candidates. But there is a crying need for more supervisors. So we are open to form a joint project with European chaplaincies and beyond to share in this process.


Dana Kalnina-Zake
President of the Latvia Association of Professional Health Care Chaplaincy
Director of the Spiritual Care Department
Paul Stradins Clinical University Hospital, Riga, LATVIA

[September 2010]


Latvia Association of Professional Health Care Chaplaincy (LPVAKA)


Dana Kalnina-Zake
Lapu iela 15-13
Riga, LV 1002







Marc Hubert

Marc Hubert (Salzburg 2014)


Healthcare Chaplaincy in Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a small country; neighbour-country of France, Germany and Belgium.  Historically, Luxembourg has always been marked by its catholic traditions.  Today “tiny” Luxembourg has established an important economic role within Europe and has developed business connections all over the world. This is why we encounter numerous cultures and traditions in this small country; for example in one parish in the capital city you will find more than 70 different nationalities represented. 

Health Pastoral Care is a service provided by the Catholic Church of Luxembourg.  The ‘Health Pastoral Care Teams’ consist of priests, pastoral assistants and volunteers; and they are present in every Hospital and in most of the Care Homes for Senior Citizens in Luxembourg.  This service takes account of Luxembourg’s multicultural context and works in collaboration with the other confessions and religions in this community. 

A ‘Co-ordination Team’ of the “Diocesan Health Pastoral Care Service” organizes and supports the members of the different ‘Health Pastoral Care Teams’.  The ‘Co-ordination Team’ is responsible for the ongoing training and development for the pastoral assistants (chaplains) and organizing introductory programs for the volunteers as well as on the job supervision and support.  The Co-ordination team also participate in public debates concerning Health issues.


Rev Henri Hamus
Vicar Episcopal. Responsible for Health Pastoral Care in the Archdiocese of Luxembourg. (will not participate on the consultation in London)

Marie-France Bemtgen-Jost
married and mother of 3 children.
After 18 years experience in hospital pastoral care, she is the co-ordinator of ‘The Diocesan Health Pastoral Care Service’ in Luxembourg since 2004.

Laurent Dhaussy
Deacon, married with 1 child.
He has been a Pastoral Assistant (chaplain) at the ‘Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg’ since 2003, and is a Member of ‘The Co-ordination Team’ of ‘The Diocesan Health Pastoral Care Service’. 


[September 2010]


Marc Hubert






Fr John Vella (Lisbon 2006)


Health Care Chaplaincy in Malta

Fr. John Vella O.F.M. Cap Fr John Vella is a Capuchin Franciscan friar born in 1958. Before joining the Order in 1979, he worked as a diamond cutter in a factory. Fr. John was ordained a priest in 1986.
After his ordination he was sent to Rome to study at the ‘Camillianum’, from where he obtained successfully a Licentiate in Pastoral Theology in Healthcare (Teologia Pastorale Sanitaria) – S.Th.Lic. (Pastorale Sanitaria).
After he finished his studies, he worked in initial formation as the vice-director of the postulants and as the director of the postulants, as a spiritual director in youth centres and charismatic renewal groups, as a reliever at different hospitals, and as a hospital chaplain in a geriatric hospital, Zammit Clapp Hospital, and at St. Luke’s Hospital, the general hospital in Malta.
As a chaplain at the general hospital, he worked with the nurses and midwives at the maternity wards, in support of parents who had lost their babies or their offspring. Two different memorial masses are celebrated in November to help in the bereavement process of the parents and their relatives.
At the present moment, Fr John is a counsellor grade A O at the institute of Health Care (I.H.C.), which forms part of the University of Malta.
About two years ago, he was able to establish the Staff Support Group at the general hospital (St. Luke’s hospital) and launched the support service by providing counselling to the hospital staff with another three psychologists.
He also takes the opportunity to organize some seminars for his friars who serve as hospital chaplains, to help them in their on-going formation in the pastoral health care focussing more on the holistic approach to the patient.
Recently his religious Province chose him as one of the four counsellors with the Provincial, and is also serving as the Provincial Delegate of the Chaplaincy Network at all the State hospitals, the general one, the mental/psychiatric, the oncological, and the geriatric hospital and the clinics.
The Malta Hospice Movement has also asked for Fr. John's service as a regular chaplain.

[April 2006


Fr John Vella
Franciscan Capuchin Hospital Chaplaincy
Franciscan Capuchin Friary,
Lourdes Square,
San Gwann SGN 04.






Robert Koorneef and Simon Evers

Robert Koorneef and Simon Evers (Salzburg 2014)


Health Care Chaplaincy in the Netherlands

The Association of Spiritual Caregivers in Healthcare Institutions (Vereniging van Geestelijk Verzorgers in Zorginstellingen: de VGVZ) is a professional body for spiritual caregivers working in healthcare in the Netherlands.
Spiritual care/chaplaincy in healthcare institutions is the professional and ministerial support and help given to patients, by helping them to give meaning to their life, based on their belief or ideological conviction and by giving professional advice in ethical and/or ideological care and management.

The Association of Spiritual Caregivers was founded in 1971 when the Roman Catholic and the Protestant Hospital Associations joined into a National Council of Hospitals. In line with this development, being aware that chaplaincy services belong to all kinds of hospitals, the non-denominational as well as the denominational, the Roman Catholic and the Protestant Associations of Chaplains in Healthcare Institutes united into one association. Several years later the Humanist and the Jewish chaplains joined the association. A few years ago Imams and Pundits, active as spiritual caregivers in healthcare, also became members of the association. From the beginning the association worked on developing the quality of the profession of spiritual caregiver. The Association is in active contact with the government, employer-organizations, churches and other denominational-institutes, insurance-companies and patient organizations. Spiritual care has for many years been integrated into the central budget financing system of the national care insurance companies. In 1995 spiritual care was given legal status in the Quality Law for Healthcare Institutes. In 1995 and in 2002 the groups mentioned above agreed on The Professional Standards of Spiritual Care in Healthcare Organizations standards contain a profession profile, description of the tasks and the quality demands and the professional code. In 2007 a new registration system was developed.
The VGVZ counts about 945 members (April 2014). A spiritual caregiver can become a member

  • when he/she is working in a healthcare institute for a minimum of 8 hours per week;
  • when he/she has an master’s degree in theology, religious science or in humanistic science;
  • when he/she has a commitment to a church or an ideological society or an authorization bij the Council that verifies the spiritual competence.

The association consists of seven sections: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Humanist, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu and non-aligned; and seven working-fields: general hospitals, psychiatric institutes, nursing homes and homes for the elderly, institutions for the mentally disabled, rehabilitation centers, youth care and primary care. A member belongs to one section and one working-field. Each section and working-field has its own council and provides a delegate for the general board, which looks after the common interests of spiritual care (see Objectives). The sections and working-fields support the special interests related to the different churches, ideological organizations and working areas.
The most important objective of the VGVZ is to promote and support spiritual care in healthcare. Therefore the Association supports:

  • the integration of spiritual care in healthcare
  • the development of the quality of spiritual care
  • professional training for spiritual caregivers
  • problem solving in the field of labour relations
  • collective labour conditions

The VGVZ realizes its objectives through:

  • the organization of symposia and annual meetings;
  • enabling scientific research;
  • the development of standards and quality systems;
  • the development of models for mutual contact among colleagues;
  • installing committees for preparing policies on relevant issues;
  • the publication of the Journal for Spiritual Care;
  • enabling training for spiritual caregivers in contact with institutes for education;
  • solving problems concerning labor relations;
  • working on collective employment conditions together with the Union (FBZ).

The association is autonomous and maintains a wide field of relations. There are many contacts with other organizations in the specific groups (see History). There are contacts with academic and post-academic institutes for education. There are international contacts with the European Network of Health Care Chaplaincy and other professional associations for healthcare chaplaincy (England, USA).
Important issues for the future

  • to develop spiritual care in extramural healthcare settings;
  • to implement the Professional Register;
  • to further develop models for quality-testing systems and mutual contact;
  • to keep in touch with development of healthcare in the Netherlands on the national level in all its different aspects;
  • to improve the structure of our organization;
  • to evaluate the commitment to a church or an ideological society or the spiritual competence (see Structure) as prescribed for membership of the VGVZ;
  • to improve and research the financial position of spiritual caregivers in contact with the government;
  • integration in the primary care.

Simon Evers
Simon Evers has been the president of VGVZ since June 7th, 2010.
He was born in 1959 and active as chaplain in the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis (Amsterdam – ) since 1996. From 1979 until 2001 he was a Benedictine of the St Andrew's Abbey in Bruges (Belgium) and there he was ordained a priest in 1988. He is now a priest of the Diocese Haarlem-Amsterdam.
He studied theology in Bruges and Rome. His hobbies are organizing and conducting trips, especially to Rome and Italy, to go hiking and listening to classical music.
Robert Koorneef
Drs.Robert Koorneef was the council secretary of the VGVZ from 2006 until 2013.
He was born in 1956 and has a lat-relationship with his girlfriend. His two children are 24(daughter) and 22(son) years old. Robert writes, “I am a protestant and a member of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN). As a chaplain I am working in the Martini Hospital in Groningen ( In my free time I engage myself with collecting (skating)books, exercising yoga, skating and long distance walks, visiting art cinemas, reading literature."

[April 2014]





Håvard Ervik (Debrecen 2016)


Health Care Chaplaincy in Norway

Norwegian representation in ENHCC
Norwegian health care chaplains are employed and organized by the hospital or nursing home where they work. There is no coordinating instance apart from the “Norwegian Association of Clergy” (Presteforeningen) that works for better salary and working conditions and also has a strong focus on, and organize, study programs for the pastors. Most chaplains are organized in this union, but not all. A committee of five chaplains is elected by the members to represent them. This committee works with such as professional qualifications and best practice for health care chaplains apart from better salary and working conditions. The leader of this committee, who is elected for two years, is sent to represent at the ENHCC consultations.


Health Care Chaplaincy in Norway

The chaplains are almost exclusively ordained pastors in the Church of Norway (Lutheran). They are employed by the hospitals and are regarded as one of the hospitals’ many professional services to the patients, their families and the hospital staff. As ordained pastors in our church, they deliver pastoral care to the spiritual needs within the hospital setting. Employed by the hospital, they also work within the hospital organization with the same rights and duties as other employees. There are approximately 130 chaplains, full-time or part-time, working in hospitals. There are also some healthcare chaplains employed outside the hospitals, serving patients in nursing homes or in the home-care sector.
To be a chaplain you must fill the requirements for ordination in the Church of Norway. One must also have at least one unit of CPE (3 months clinical training and education under supervision) or a similar education. A speciality (after model of psychologists) for hospital chaplains has been established on a university level. Requirements (1 year of studies gives 60 study points):

1) CPE or a similar education (20 stps).

2) Pastoral studies connected to institutional work (20 stps) including 20 pages written. A special course for hospital chaplains is established to meet this requirement.

3) Studies in health-related subjects such as grief, psychiatry and addiction (30 stps).

4) Supervision on own job (minumum 120 hours). Specialization is central in specialist health care, and we see this program as strengthening our position in the healthcare system. There is little tradition for research among the health care chaplains, but some have done their PhD. The journal for pastoral care, “Tidsskrift for Sjelesorg”, is a good place to publicize scientific and other articles.
Our hospitals seem to recognize the importance of pastoral care, and health care chaplains have a natural place for example in palliative teams and ethical committees in all hospitals of a certain size. There is, however, a variety in how the hospitals provide this care. Some hospitals have only part-time chaplains, or they use ministers from the local church, while on the other hand there are medium-sized hospitals with several ministers employed.

[June 2014]

Present in Salzburg 2014: Ingebrigt Røen and Ståle Arne Vansvik

Present in Debrecen 2016: Håvard Ervik


Håvard Ervik
Molde Hospital, Parkvegen 84, 6412 Molde, Norway


Pastoral Union (Presteforeningen)
Web Site:







Rev Piotr Krakowiak


Health Care Chaplaincy in Poland


Catholic Chaplaincy for Health Care in Poland    

Since 1981 as a result of the Solidarity Movement in Poland and with political support from the Ministry of Health and Social Care, the work of Chaplaincy was accepted. Chaplains were officially recognised after many years and allowed to practice in Health Care institutions. From 1989 Catholic hospitals and other centres of Care have been returned to the Religious Orders and the national organisation Caritas Poland was founded. Subsequently, the entire structure of the Catholic pastoral service for Health Care institutions has been renewed and re-established.
The Catholic Chaplaincy for Health Care in Poland is the responsibility of the Bishop appointed as Head of the National Board for Health Care Chaplaincy. This organisation comprises of the appointed National Chaplains for Health Care and members from the Catholic Associations of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, chaplains and other medical professions as well as volunteers. Today there is more than 500 priests (diocesan and Religious) working full time in Health Care as hospital and hospice chaplains.  There are also many other priests who work on a voluntary basis. The involvement of women Religious and lay-people in Pastoral Teams is evident only  within a few leading Health Care centres. However, the number of dioceses which involve the lay extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist to visit the sick is increasing.
There are several different academic opportunities offering post-graduate university programmes for Chaplaincy Studies, these include: KUL University in Lublin (hospital, hospice chaplaincy); John Paul II University of Krakow (bioethics studies; post-graduate studies for Health Care and Social Care Chaplaincy) and USKW University in Warsaw (bioethics studies).
The structure of the National Chaplaincy for Health Care in Poland comprises of appointed priests responsible for this pastoral work across 44 dioceses. Their role is to co-ordinate chaplains working within the different Health Care and Social Service structures. As well as responding to, and meeting the  specific needs of patients and their families, some are also appointed as National chaplains to the handicapped; the deaf and dumb; the blind and for Hospice care. They are also responsible for Pastoral needs in Health Care including Health Care professionals and volunteers. Many of the pastoral activities of Health Care and Social care are supported by Caritas which co-ordinates the work of the charitable structures in every Catholic diocese.
Several events for promotion and awareness of Pastoral Care and Health Care have taken place, these include:  The Worldwide Day for the Sick (11.02); celebrating the feast of the Patron Saint of Health Care St. Luke (18.10).  Various initiatives have also been taken collaboratively within the Catholic Associations of Health Care workers for their colleagues in Health Care, for patients and for the wider society. In 2008 the Association of Catholic doctors organised and hosted the 11th European Conference for the Catholic Medical Associations.  This took place in Gdansk with more than 600 participants from all over Europe.
The Catholic Chaplaincy for Health Care services in Poland is founded on both a theoretical and practical philosophy. The academic and theoretical understanding is evidenced through the many conferences, lectures and publications available. The practical application of this philosophy is evidenced by those dedicated workers in the hospital wards and hospices throughout Poland.
Further information about the Catholic Chaplaincy for Health Care in Poland is available at:;;;


Rev. Piotr Krakowiak

I have beeninvolved with the Hospice Movement in Poland since 1990. I was a hospice volunteer and then the hospice chaplain after my ordination in 1993.
In 1994-1999 I was a post-graduate student in Rome Italy, working on the problems of interpersonal communication in the service of the Hospice Movement. I’ve studied also spiritual aspect of the Hospice and Palliative care.
In 1999-2000 I was doing doctoral research at Notre Dame University, South Bend, IN, USA. I was a voluntary chaplain in St. Joseph’s County Hospice and active participant in Grief & Bereavement Services in hospice in South Bend, IN.
In 2001 I concluded interdisciplinary doctoral research from psychology and theology: “The possibilities of application of CPE program for Hospice Movement and Health Care system in Poland”.
From 2002 I started the service as National Chaplain of Hospices in Poland – nomination by Catholic Bishop Conference of Poland (KEP), coordinating the non-medical and spiritual activities of more than 100 hospice-palliative care units in Poland.
I’m an author and co-author of scientific and popular publications regarding the end of life issues, and non-medical aspects of hospice and palliative care as well as social care at the end of life.

 Rev Piotr Krakowiak


[August 2010]


Rev Piotr Krakowiak

National Chaplain of Hospice Movement in Poland

Member of National Board for Health Care Chaplaincy in the Bishops' Conference in Poland






Pe Nuno (Tartu 2008)


Health Care Chaplaincy in Portugal

At this moment, the legislation concerning healthcare chaplaincy is being revised. In this process of dialogue between the Church and the Government, one of the references is the Standards for Healthcare Chaplaincy in Europe proposed by the ENHCC.

The National Coordination Board of the Hospital Chaplaincies is trying to guide the development of Healthcare Chaplaincies according to some fundamental guidelines:

  1. A distinction between spiritual and religious dimensions and the conviction that these two dimensions belong to an anthropologically based concept of health without which there is no integral praxis of human healthcare.

  2. The development of a new concept of Chaplaincy-Community, making the Church present near the patients.

  3. The priority of a Pastoral of Presence, before all sacramental pastoral.

  4. The search into ways of ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue and participation in the assistance of patients in the hospital.

  5. The involvement with Healthcare Professionals and Students and their education regarding the respect to the spiritual and religious identity of the patients.

  6. Integration and development of various expressions of voluntary service in pastoral work with the patients.

  7. Integration of the specific work of the Chaplaincies in the global dynamic of Healthcare Pastoral.

Rev. Fr. José Nuno Ferreira da Silva
priest of Oporto Diocese since July 1989. Chaplain of the largest hospital of Oporto, the Hospital de S. João. It has about 1400 beds and includes the Medical School.
In 2003 he was appointed by the Portuguese Episcopal Conference to be the National Coordinator of the Hospital Chaplaincies of Portugal; also Diocesan Coordinator of Oporto.
Answering the pastoral requests of this Hospital, he completed a Master in Theological Bioethics at the Portuguese Catholic University and the Pontifical Master in Pastoral Healthcare at the International Institute of Pastoral Theology of Health Care of Rome, known as the Camillianum. Currently he is developing his studies in Bioethics.
He’s director of Medical Anthropology department, in Oporto University Public Health Care Institute.

[May 2008]



Pe. José Nuno Ferreira da Silva
Coordenação Nacional Capelanias Hospitalares
Hospital S. João
Al. Professor Hernâni Monteiro
4202- 451 Porto






Gabriella Lakatosd

Gabriella-Ildikò Lakatos (Mennorode 2012)


Health Care Chaplaincy in Romania

My name is Gabriella, Lakatos, I represent the Transylvanian Reformed Chaplaincy work in Romania since 1998 when first time I meet the European Network of Health Care Chaplaincy Consultations. It was a starting point in my life being with this group and I got several starting issues for my new working field in a huge hospital at Targu Mures, Transylvania, Romania. I was the first full time hospital chaplain here and with so little experience. I was studying at Cluj, in the Protestant Theological Institute to become a pastor at 1990 first year after our revolution, and I finished at 1995. After two years of assistant pastoral work in my home city, Tg.Mures our church had a protocol agreement with the Romanian state that after one Orthodox priest our hospital must chose one other pastor from other confessions. So I was the first state employed hospital chaplain, appointed by our bishop Kaman,Csiha. The main low appeared just in 2000 when some other chaplains were coming for shorter or longer period. The Health Care Ministry at Bucharest was given for several chaplains the possibility to work in a specified hospital, but this employment depends on hospital vision and mentality about spiritual care services but mainly by their political visions.
Now we have a working team as Protestant (Reformed, Unitarian) and Catholic chaplains have a good dialog and friendship. In total we are around 20 chaplains in Romania. On this year we try to reach out our fellow chaplains from Hungary too.

My theological studies were not enough so I went to Belfast Bible College at 1996 and Oxford in the same year to study Pastoral Care and Counseling, and between 2002-2004 for 3 years I studied for a diploma at Semmelweis University at Budapest, Mental Hygiene Institute and KLOE /Ecumenical Health Care Association also 480 hours of Pastoral Psychology, Clinical and Family counseling studies.

I realized from the beginning that I need a working team from pastors and volunteers. I was praying years for this, and on these days I can say that in my hospital now we are 5 pastors and priests and three groups of volunteers. We also have the European Standards and ours too. From 2006 we can officially celebrating the 11 February, the official day for Sick people, accepted by our Synod too. We were asking for a Playing Room at our hospital, for children with hematological problems, and last year it was open.


  • Offering spiritual and religious services / Sunday worship, and one in each hospital per week/

  • Bible study and prayer meetings

  • Holy communion services / private and at holydays

  • Sunday/Bible school for children at Pediatric I. Cardiology and Hematology hospital with one of the volunteer’s group

  • Students prayer groups

  • Bible study and prayer group with addicts and homeless together with Bonus Pastor Foundation, and one healing week with them.

  • Funeral and baptizing services occasionally

  • Visiting the warden rooms each Sunday with a special volunteer group of ecumenical student’s group and also personal contact with people

  • Counselling those in need in our Pastoral Care cabinet room


We don’t want to make our own visions just by God, our Lord’s. We try to establish an association, but never work still now. The new chaplain's main goal is to study because our school was not providing enough information and practice. Just few years ago begun some courses at pastoral and counseling studies, leader was here Dr.Hezser Gabor protestant pastor and pastoral psychologist from Germany, who put some basement here in Hungarian Language.

- To have more detailed dialog between confessions
- We want to organize supporting groups for Mothers, people with cancer problems.
- Found rising for children with transplant operations
- Relationship with parishes, churches, deacons and home care givers.
- We are hoping and praying for a possibility to organize here, in Transylvania a Network Consultation in the future

Rev Gabriella Lakatos 
Transylvanian Protestant Reformed Health Care Chaplaincy


[May 2006]



At the end of 2003 about 185 priests, paid by the National Office of Health Security were registered in hospitals and in social care settlements in Romania. Along with them are another 108 priests paid by State Departments for Cults and by Dioceses. Together with those mentioned, priests from parishes support religious assistance in those institutions by answering all sorts of requests and organizing philanthropic events.

At that moment 218 chapels and churches are used or are in different building stages; even so, in many hospitals, services are held in conference halls, meeting halls or other spaces. Chapels were built under close supervision of local hierarchies, with consistent help from hospital managers and with material support of many generous donors.

Through all liturgical programs, by celebrating Holy Sacraments and other services, by providing hours of pastoral care, the presence of the priests in those institutions is very positive, both for suffering people and for personnel.

Even with such a large number of priests working full time in hospitals, there is a great need to increase their number. Unfortunately, there is no material possibility to do that now. The large amount of work is trying to be covered on a voluntary basis by local parish priests and church related organizations.
As an overall view, religious assistance in state institutions is carried out by 438 priests among whom 330 are paid from the state budget. All over the country there are about 282 churches or chapels designated for such special mission, and another 69 under construction.

Combining health assistance with spiritual care was very useful, both because of bringing again a sense of life in those assisted and keeping them safe from proselytism of different so-called religious movements.

Being aware of the necessity of extending religious assistance to every area of social life outside parish, we see the great need of intensifying all contacts between Church and all state institution and community representatives.

Fr. Gabriel Cazacu

[August 2004]



Reformed Church, Transylvanian District


Rev Gabriella-Ildikò Lakatos
Str. Mihai Viteazul nr.50-53



Archdiocese of Bucharest
Romanian Orthodox Church


Rev Gabriel Cazacu
Executive Director, "St. Macrina" Shelter
14 Ilarie Chendi, 
sect. II





Hegumen Seraphim (Lisbon 2006)


The Department for Church Charity and Social Service
of the Russian Orthodox Church

The Department on Church Charity and Social Service of the Moscow Patriarchate was set up by the decision of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. One of the main tasks of the DCCSS is to organize and develop diaconia service at a parish, diocesan and church level in general. The Department carries on its activity on the territory of the former Soviet Union (with the exception of Georgia).

The Department is actively involved in a number of programs and projects, such as:

1. Medical program:

1.1. Church hospital for 226 patients (till 2006 year);
1.2. Anti-alcoholic program worked out together with Trento diocese of the Catholic Church in Italy;
1.3. "Patronage service" (home visiting service for 180 aged people).
1.4. Project “Life” aimed at assisting women who refuse to have abortions.
1.5. “The Society of Orthodox Physicians of Russia” - a public organization established under the aegis of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2007 and consisting of orthodox physicians from 49 regions of the Russian Federation.
1.6. Support the church hospital in the city of Birobidzhan (2007) - USD5000.

2. Child care programs:

2.1. Boarding school for 80 children from difficult families;
2.2. Assistance to orphans and handicapped children through Charitable society of Saint Martyrs Kosma and Damian and International charitable center of Saint Serafim of Sarov;
2.3. Orthopedic workshop (ate Her) - production of artificial limbs and correction shoes for handicapped children;
2.4. Program "Chernobyl children" - diagnose and treatment of 837 children in Italy (1993-1998);
2.5. Project "Foot-wear for children" (shoes for orphans) in 11 regions of Russia (2000-2001) -USD24000;
2.6. Project "Hand of aid for children" (2004) - support of church orphanage and state Child Care homes in Saransk, Kostroma and Jaroslavl - USD17000;
2.7. Assistance to Children’s hospice in Saint Peterburg (2006) - USD10000.
2.8. Program “Children of Kola Peninsula” (the city of Murmansk) - support, professional training and teaching difficult teen-agers (2007) - USD30000.
2.9. Annual organization of Christmas and Easter parties in orphanages and Child Care homes.

3. Building of hospice for 24 persons.

4. Restoration of the church for handicapped persons.

5. Humanitarian aid to refugees, forced migrants and victims of natural disasters:

5.1 Joint project with International Orthodox Church Charities (IOCC) in Chechnya and
Ingushetia (1995-1997) of USD 1974000;
5.2 . Victims of the earthquake in Sakhalin island (1995);
5.3 Aid to forced migrants from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Moldova and Chechnya;
5.4. Aid to the victims of terrorist explosions in Moscow and Volgodonsk (1998) - USD3000;
5.5 Distribution of 60 tons of food among victims of the flood in Yakutia (2001) - USD67000;
5.6 Aid to the victims of the flood in Krasnodar region with the help of Renovabis(2002 r.) -
USD 25000;
5.7 Medical and material aid to the victims of the terroristic act in the Moscow subway (2004) -
5.8. Aid to victims of military actions in Lebanon (2006) - USD44900.
5.9. Project “Children of Beslan” (2006) - USD30000.

6. Distribution of the humanitarian aid - food, cloths, foot-wear, medicine.

Thus together with IOCC the following items were distributed:

6.1. 7500 tons of food in 11 regions of Russia among 1,5 million people (1993-1994);
6.2. 90 tons of goods in Chechnya (1995-1996);
6.3. 53000 tons of food in 19 regions of Russia (1999-2002).
Total cost of the projects 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3 is exceed USD60 millions.
6.4. Project "Winter 2002" - distribution of blankets in social organizations of Barnaul,
Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Vologda, Saransk, Kostroma, Moscow and Chita regions. Department plan to
continue this project in Birobijan, Khabarovsk, Murmansk, Vladivostok, Sahalin Petropavlovsk-
Kamchatski regions. Total cost - USD200000.
6.5. Annual distribution of humanitarian aid (goods) among needy people - USD50-60000.

7. Projects of development:

7.1 Delivery of the equipment for mini-bakeries in Moscow and Kostroma regions and Mordovia republic (2002-2003) - USD 25000.
7.2 Equipment for workshops and computer-classes in Astrakhan and Velikiy Novgorod (2007) - USD30000.

8. During 8 years, within the framework of these long-term projects, more than 90 people in 30 regions of the Russian Federation have been provided for working and stable salary (1993-1996;
Thus a number of the Department projects are supported by some Churches and ecumenical organizations from abroad - the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, International Orthodox Church Charities, Action Churches, Together Episcopal Church in the USA The Society of St. Apostle Paul (Denmark) and others.
Humanitarian aid received by the Department is distributed among needy people without any reference to their religion convictions.

Administration of the Department

Head of the Department on Church Charity and Social Service of the Russian Orthodox Church :  Sergei Metropolitan of Voronezh and Borisiglebsk.

Person in charge: 
Hegumen Seraphim (Kravchenko),
Executive Secretary
Department for Church Charity and Social Service
of the Russian Orthodox Church.

[May 2008]


Pastoral health care activity of the Russian Orthodox Church in medical institutions in Russia

Health care chaplaincy for in-patients is developed on a wide scale in the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia. This activity is represented in two forms.

The first form consists in the following - priests visit patients in the hospitals appertained to the state. There are many Orthodox churches at the hospitals; some of them are in hospital premises, some are near hospitals. All regular orthodox services including the central one - Divine Liturgy are conducted in such churches. Furthermore the Sacraments of Baptism, Chrismation, Extreme Unction, Confession and the Eucharist are conducted as well. Priests conduct molebens (prayer services) for health and perform funeral services.

There are chapels or prayer-rooms in some hospitals. If there is neither church nor chapel a sick believer can invite a priest to his home.

In concordance with a hospital administration a priest visits in-patients, talks to them, renders spiritual and psychological support.

Together with priests volunteers come to hospitals and help in-patients to be ready to take Sacraments. Orthodox sisterhoods of charity (community of sisters of charity) are set up at some hospitals. Under the guidance of a priest and in concordance with a hospital administration sisters visit in-patient believers, carry on catechetical and social work. In some hospitals sisters of charity act as hospital nurses.

Such activity is set up in the best way in big cities. Thus in Moscow, the capital of Russia, there are about 40 hospital churches, 20 chapels and prayer-rooms in hospitals, about 10 sisterhoods of charity. As a whole 673 health care institutions of 25 dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church are involved in such activity. Besides that priests have the wardship of 244 institutions for aged and invalids.

Pastoral care in hospitals embraces practically all medical spheres: therapy, surgery, oncology, neurology, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, hospice service and others.

It is characteristic for the first form of pastoral activity in hospitals that there is not enough finance to ensure this work, as it is been doing on a charitable basis and much depended on a hospital administration.

The second form of pastoral work with in-patients represents medical institutions established and financed by the Church. In Russia there are several church hospitals and the most large-scale of them are: The Central Clinic Hospital in the name of St. Alexiy, Metropolitan of Moscow, in Moscow and the Hospital in the name of Beatific Ksenia of Peterburg in the city of Saint Peterburg. These institutions are of a diversified type where believers (priests, monks and nuns among them) as well as non-believers (ordinary city-dwellers) can receive any free medical help. Obviously priests have more freedom in their pastoral activity with in-patients in such institutions.

Furthermore there are some orthodox institutions destined to give help to people with drug or alcohol addiction. They are usually named medical-social centers or brotherhoods of soberness.
Orthodox medical-educational centers aimed at prophylaxis of abortions work with women in a critical situation.

Charity societies, patronage service, alms-houses are set up by the Church to render assistance to aged and invalids. Among 537 church social institutions there are: 5 hospitals, 4 hospices, 21 social-medical stations, 21 alms-houses, 51 rehabilitation centers for addictions, 316 centers to help the deaf and blind, 15 centers to help AIDS infected, 70 medical advisory centers at some parishes, 34 charge nurse courses.

Thus, pastoral health care activity of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia is been carried on widely and intensive. It is presented in different practical forms but it has essentially common substance - effective spiritual, psychological and social aid to suffering people.

[May 2006]


Department of Church Charity and Social Service of the Moscow Patriarchate, Russian Orthodox Church




Hegumen Seraphim (Andrey Kravchenko)
Altayskata 5-9







  Mgr Miriam Prásilová and Mgr Lýdia Naďová (Lisbon 2006)


Health Care Chaplaincy in Slovakia

ThDr. Miriam Prasilova
Evangelic Lutheran Church of Augsburg Confession in Slovakia

Hospital chaplaincy has not been organized by the professional association of the country. Instead, pastoral care has been part of the church’s ministry and the pastoral visits are the duty of local pastors. Each church congregation has the responsibility of the pastoral care for their own people/ church members in hospital. The local churches also offer their spiritual and pastoral care for the hospitals and other social institutions in their area. There are some pastors, though, who minister mainly in the hospital.
There are ethical meetings in the hospitals where they also need to have a pastor or theologian as a member. This person should be someone who is not employed by the hospital. That means the pastor comes to the ethical meeting from outside the hospital setting.

Chaplaincy in Roman catholic Church
There are about thirty priests in the biggest Roman Catholic Church who were assigned for the pastoral care in hospitals. Bishop Secka who is responsible for “pastoral care in health care system” in the Roman Catholic Church from the eastern part of Slovakia meets these priests twice a year and takes care ofr their formation. As he said the spiritual care in the hospitals is mainly sacramental. There are masses and providing the sacraments as required. The pastoral support, talks and visits take place in the patient’s room or many times in the corridors, in the waiting rooms, cafeterias as there is no special place for privacy with the patient.
There is one special aspect that is developed only in majority Roman Catholic church and that is pastoral care and the spiritual formation of the nurses and medical doctors. There are spiritual exercises offered to them periodically by the hospital chaplain.
There are also ethical meetings of physicians, nurses and priests working in the hospital in some places. As Bishop Secka mentions, the aim is not only pastoral care for patients, but also spiritual care for relatives, care for social surrounding, the interest in rights, changes in the health care system and many ethical problems.

Chaplaincy in Lutheran Church
In the second largest church in Slovakia - The Lutheran (Evangelic) Church - hospital chaplaincy has been covered by Evangelic (Lutheran) Diaconia from 2002 tio2012. There were two female pastors as pioneers in this field (Miriam and Lydia). During the last five years we taught a lot of seminars and presentations for theology students, pastors in congregations, for medical staff and we attended a number of conferences. We led the pilot project in educating the volunteers for the spiritual accompanying of the sick and dying at the Lutheran Diaconia. Our volunteers wrote a report about their learning and experiences.

Lydia has carried out CPE training in Pennsylvania and started as the chaplain in the Children’s oncology hospital in Bratislava. There has been an excellent ministry in cooperation with the medical staff. At the request of the parents Lydia provided for their need of the sanctuary in the main foyer of the hospital. After some changes in the church and reorganization, Lydia resigned from hospital chaplaincy at the Oncology hospital and has been the minister in a church congregation since 2007.

The other pioneer, Miriam, has accomplished her CPE training in Canada and started as the hospital chaplain at the University Hospital in Bratislava in 2003. Since 2006 she has ministered as a hospital chaplain in The National Oncology Institute and since 2009 has had a part position at the same hospital. There was a close cooperation with the psychologist in this hospital and the main pastoral interest has been focused in the palliative care unit. Since June 2012 Miriam has been a member of the ethics committee in the hospital and this membership continues even through she has been on sabbatical from pastoral ministry since August 2012.

Neither the oncology hospital nor any other hospital recognize CPE training for pastors or priests yet. As the hospitals have many other economic problems, they haven’t yet paid special attention to pastoral care and the standards of the spiritual care.

The Association of hospice and palliative care
There has been an Association of hospice and palliative care in Slovakia since 1989. The Association works in the areas to:

  • cooperate on providing hospice and palliative care
  • promote the ideas of hospice movement
  • organize the meetings and seminars for providers of hospice care
  • cooperate with medical and nurse professional boards
  • support volunteers in the field of hospice and palliative care
  • cover international cooperation
  • work on legal codes and standards for providing hospital and palliative care

The association does a lot of work with standards for the providers of hospice and palliative care. The representatives of the association meet with those who provide pastoral care in the hospital at the conferences. We share ideas and visions.

Issues for the future
I see as an issue the need for making networks of all those who provide pastoral and spiritual care in the hospitals and share experiences, meet at seminars or conferences. The important thing is to encourage the discussion between church (or Evangelic Diaconia) and the hospital or the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Slovakia and The Ministry of Health for incorporating spiritual care in the treatment and the services in the hospitals.
From the notes of Roman Catholic Bishop Secka: "Celebrating the Day of the sick helps the understanding of the importance of pastoral care in the health care system. The hospital chaplaincy can not be only sacramental. We need to help broaden the understanding of this pastoral ministry in the hospital among priests and believers and emphasize the need for accompanying ill people. The sick person cannot stay alone. The important thing is to pay attention to families of patients and to motivate volunteers. It would be good to give information from the hospital chaplain to the local pastor about the discharged patient. There is the plan in the Roman Catholic. Church for further education and specialization in hospital chaplaincy."

There is the same goal to broaden understanding and supporting pastoral care in hospitals at the various levels. It is necessary to work more ecumenically and to motivate professionals for good cooperation.

[September 2010]



Lutheran Church of Augsburg Confession in Slovakia

GBU (Bishop's Office)
Lutheran Church of AC
Palisady 48
PO Box 289
811 06 Bratislava



Mgr Miriam Prásilová


Mgr Lýdia Naďová







Padre Miguel Angel Cruz Fernández (Lisbon 2006)


Health Care Chaplaincy in Spain

Religious Support Services in Spain
Drawing Closer to Reality

It is not an easy task to provide an overview of the current circumstances of Religious Support Services in Spain, given that it would involve determining the situation of a vast number of people working in a wide range of hospitals.

Hospitals are of great importance in the field of pastoral health care and, right from the beginning, pastoral work in this field has devoted its effort, imagination and time to carrying out a restructuring of these services in hospitals. An example of the importance of hospitals is embodied in the "Framework agreement on Catholic religious support in public hospitals" between the Spanish government and the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, dated 24 July 1985, and on which the agreements with the individual Autonomous Communities are based. This regulation has established the legal foundations of religious support for public sector hospitals, thereby facilitating the provision of said support in favourable conditions. In order to bring this legal grounding to life and to ensure uniformity a document entitled "Religious support in hospitals. Pastoral guidelines" was published in 1987. This document is a compulsory reference document for pastoral work in hospitals.

Hospital chaplains have been the driving force behind the reorganisation of pastoral health care in the health field in the Spanish Church and in our individual churches. There are currently 950 chaplains providing religious assistance in Spanish hospitals: 650 as full-time chaplains and 300 working part-time.

This group contains some that connect with their task and have managed to integrate into the hospital environment. Others – not a small number – find themselves lost, ignored, hemmed in, or maybe even adjusted to the situation but not content, in a world that turns out to be hostile to them, without any coordination with all the other chaplains. Currently, no special training is required to work as a hospital chaplain, though the Bishops’ Conference does continuously organise training courses and refresher courses. The average age of chaplains is very high, which can, on occasions, hinder adaptation to the rapidly changing medical world. Of note here, is the appointment of competent lay-persons to perform the same tasks as hospital chaplains.

Improving the Church’s evangelisation work in hospitals seems to me to be an important and urgent task. I don’t know if it forms part of the perspective, but it would be good to raise the awareness of and instruct seminarists to promote the idea of using competent lay-persons, to provide hospitals with people possessing a vocation and capable of working in the hospital environment, with the enthusiasm to feel that they are to be shepherds of the hospital community, ministers of the Word and the sacraments and providers of counsel and the peace of the Lord (RU no. 57).

Let this European meeting of chaplains vocalize a song of hope to those like us that provide pastoral care in these cathedrals of suffering.

Miguel Angel Cruz Fernández
Licenciado en teología
Experto en Pastoral de la Salud por la escuela de los Camilos en Madrid.
Capellán de hospital desde el año 1989
Coordinador del Servicio Religioso del hospital
Delegado regional de Pastoral de la Salud de 1999-2005
Miembro del Equipo Nacional de Pastoral de la Salud 1999-2005

May 2006]


Conferencia Episcopal Esañiola
Añastro 1



Padre Miguel Angel Cruz Fernández
Nuestra Señora del Rosario, 24
A Coruña, 34981229911
E-mail:  or







Swedish delegation at Debrecen in 2016


The Development of Hospital Chaplaincy in Sweden

There is much to be said about the history of Hospital Chaplaincy in Sweden. This description starts in the 1960s. From that time a number of clergymen in the Church of Sweden devoted themselves to Hospital Chaplaincy as a full time occupation.
There was no formal education for Chaplaincy. A few Chaplains went to USA to attend Clinical pastoral education (CPE) to some extent. A working group within the Svenska kyrkans Pastoratsförbund (an Alliance of the parishes in the Church of Sweden) started to organize conferences once a year from 1969 and onwards. Those conferences have been very important meetings for the hospital chaplaincy in Sweden over the years. In the last 25 years or so, these conferences have been organized by steering committees of the Association of Health Care Chaplains within the Church of Sweden and the Association of Free church Chaplains in Health Care.

In the 1970s there was an emergence of a new category of chaplains. Both deacons and non-ordained chaplains were employed by the local parishes, who determined the qualifications for the job.

In 1974 a governmental committee was appointed which should give proposals how to solve the new needs in Chaplaincy. At the same time there was a committee in the Church of Sweden which suggested a professional education. In 1979 the proposal was made and the main new feature was that the responsibility for Hospital Chaplaincy was to be shared between the Council of Free churches* and the Church of Sweden. The ecumenical base was and is still very important.
During the 1980s there was a consolidation of the new organization. A new professional education was created. Standards for co-operation in hospitals were adopted and have been updated in 2004 and 2012.
A central office for the Council of Free church chaplains and another for the Church of Sweden were set up. Through close cooperation it was possible for the two secretaries to establish a well-functioning ecumenical hospital chaplaincy.

Hospital Chaplaincy today

The chaplains of the Church of Sweden and the Council of Free churches work close together in teams in the hospitals. The Roman Catholic Church is represented in just a few teams, mostly in larger hospitals. In 2006 the first orthodox priest was assigned to the task of being a hospital chaplain on part time. Different orthodox churches are now represented in chaplaincy and today, summer 2016, seven priests work as chaplains on part time.
All together there are approx. 250 priests, pastors, deacons, catholic sisters, non-ordained chaplains, musicians etc working in hospital chaplaincy on a full time or part time basis. Most of them are organized in the Association of Health Care Chaplains within the Church of Sweden or in the Association of Free church Chaplains in Health Care.
During the last ten years Muslim and Buddhist organizations have started to develop hospital chaplaincy work. In most cases they have chosen a somewhat different form in order to get started. They have employed coordinators on part time, especially connected to larger hospitals, with the task of being the link between the hospital and imams, monks, religious leaders etc. appointed by their local congregation to be available to be called in to the hospital when needed. This makes it easier to call in persons, who for example speak the right language needed in a specific situation. However, in some over the larger cities the Muslims are about to employ imams on part time as hospital chaplains to become a complement to the coordinators.

* The members of the Council of Free churches of Sweden are Interact, the Pentecostal church, Seventh Day Adventist, Salvation Army, Swedish Alliance Mission, Uniting Church (a joint church between the Baptist Union of Sweden, the Methodist Church and the Swedish Covenant Church).

Professional education in Hospital Chaplaincy

In 1999 – 2000 the professional education in Hospital Chaplaincy was revised and it has recently been revised again. The curriculum for Pastoral Care and Counselling in the Public Health Care Service focuses on the following three targets:

• The chaplain himself/herself. This part of the training will invite reflection on what the professional in Pastoral Care and Counseling is.
• The patient/confidant. This part of the training will focus on the needs of the confidant. What does the confidant look for in the meeting with the chaplain and how can the situation of the confidant be made easier.
• The encounter.

During the last years health care in Sweden has undergone a great change. The number of beds in the hospitals as well as the nursing time has been cut down. The patients are more and more treated in their homes by nursing teams and by their relatives.
Those changes in health care must have an impact on how chaplaincy amongst sick is to be formed. The responsibility for the religious and spiritual care is not a question only for those who work with chaplaincy in hospitals but to an increasing extent a question for the local parishes, the clergy, pastors, deacons and lay persons.

[June 2016]

Rev Åsa Jonsson

My name is Åsa Jonsson and I am a minister in the Church of Sweden.
From 1978 to 2008 I was chaplain at the University hospital in Uppsala. Since April 2008 I work as Coordinator for Health Care Chaplaincy in the Church of Sweden. This is a half time occupation. My office is situated in Samariterhemmet, Uppsala, where I also work half time as chaplain. Samariterhemmet, “the Samaritan home”, is a foundation with its roots in the late 19th century. The founder, Ebba Boström, went to Mildmay hospital in London to get education and inspiration for assisting people in need. She started out in Uppsala with eduaction for deacons and nurses, set up a house for young women and children in need and so on.
Nowadays the education part is gone. Instead we have a nursing home for persons suffering from dementia, a hotel for persons getting treatment at the University hospital and other kinds of work with diaconal orientation. To continue the work of Ebba Boström the Uppsala City Mission started in 2006, from the beginning close to Samariterhemmet.
As a coordinator for Hospital and Health Care Chaplaincy in the Church of Sweden my main responsibility is to be, together with my Free church colleague, responsible for the training of hospital chaplains, to promote this field in the church and in the parishes and also in society, to supervise and encourage chaplains in their work, to keep myself and the chaplains updated in literature and research, to spread news that is important for chaplains to know about and so on. This might seem to be an impossible task to handle in a half time occupation, but still, it´s an important and very interesting challenge!

Rev Gunnel Andréasson

My name is Gunnel Andréasson. I was ordained as pastor in the Baptist Union of Sweden, now part of the Uniting church of Sweden. Since July 2004 I have been working as Coordinator for Health Care Chaplaincy within the Council of Free Church in Sweden. The Council of Free Church includes denominations of different confessional families such as Methodists, Baptists, Reformed and Pentecostals. Common for them all is that they have their roots in the 19th century revival movement in Sweden. They were counted as “free churches,” in relation to the Lutheran Church which until year 2000 was the state church of Sweden.
In cooperation with my colleague from the Church of Sweden, my task is to coordinate the work of hospital chaplaincy on national level in Sweden, including responsibility for the education program. The chaplains in Sweden are employed by local churches and my task is also to assist the local churches in recruiting hospital chaplains and to supervise and encourage both chaplains and their employers in their work in relation to the hospitals.
Since July 2014 my assignment within the Council of Free Churches is on part time. The major part of my work is done as an employee of the Commission for State Support to the Faith Communities, where my task is to work with hospital chaplaincy. This part of my work includes administrating state funds for hospital chaplaincy, to assist different religious denominations in developing their work within hospital chaplaincy, dialogue with hospital boards and administrations etc.

Church of Sweden

Rev Åsa Jonsson

Coordinator for Health care Chaplaincy within the Church of Sweden.
Diakonistiftelsen Samariterhemmet
Dragarbrunnsgatan 70
SE-753 20 Uppsala


The Free Church Council of Sweden

(Hosted by the Council of Churches in Sweden)

Rev Gunnel Andréasson

Coordinator for Health Care Chaplaincy within the Free Church Council of Sweden
Sveriges Kristna Råd (The council of Churches)
Ekumeniska Centret
Box 14038
SE-167 14 Bromma

The Swedish group in the 2016 Debrecen Consultation:

Birgitta Fält
Health care chaplain in mental health, Gothenburg for 20+ years, former Chair of SKAIS, the Association for Hospital Chaplains in Church of Sweden.
I have been engaged in our CPI-inspired education since 2002, as lecturer, supervisor and some years as leader for the education team. I work with both in-patients, out-patients and networks for workers in health care, social care, churches, case managers and NGO organizations.” Talk about film- talk about life” is one of the methods in discussion groups about existential /spiritual issues for psychiatric patients.

Christina Lindgren
Health care chaplain at Södersjukhuset in Stockholm City since 1999. I was ordained as pastor in the Swedish Covenant Church, now part of the Uniting church of Sweden. I work with both in-patients and out-patients, relatives and staff. I have been engaged in our professional education for hospital chaplains since last year (2015) as leader in the education team.

Eva Rubensson
Health care chaplain at Södersjukhuset in Stockholm City since 2015. I am a deacon and before I was employed by a congregation in the Lutheran Church of Sweden, in Stockholm. I work with both in-patients and out-patients, relatives and staff.

Gunnel Andréasson
See text above.

Ingegerd Slätteby
Health care chaplain at the University hospital in Lund since 2000, the last years as senior chaplain in the Chaplaincy team. Before that I was employed as a deacon and a minister in several congregations in the Lutheran church of Sweden. Since 2014 I participate as supervisor in the professional education for hospital chaplains.

Maria Hjortstorp
My profession is social worker and I was ordained deacon in the church of Sweden in 1999. I am also a psychotherapist (psychodynamic tradition). Since 2000 I work as a hospital deacon in central Stockholm.
My predominant task is to offer therapy and counselling to individuals. The majority of my confidents are out- patients sent to me from the psychiatric ward.

Åsa Jonsson
See text above.







Audrey Kaelin

Audrey Kaelin (Salzburg 2014)


Swiss-German Association of Catholic Hospital Chaplaincy

Catholic health care chaplaincy in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is organized, authorized and mostly also paid by the churches. “Lay” hospital chaplains – men and women – have become the majority, the few priests assigned mostly to parishes. The chaplains have an academic degree in theology and have completed a special training, e.g. in Clinical Pastoral Training (CPT). At regional level, the Catholic hospital chaplains have a good and close ecumenical cooperation with chaplains of the Protestant church. At national level – concerning the German-speaking part of Switzerland – the Catholic and Protestant representatives in charge of hospital chaplaincy meet on a regular basis to exchange experiences. (

Late developments
In the society the denominational influence has diminished, many patients have no link to the churches. Besides that we realize it is necessary to find ways of cooperation with other religious and cultural traditions, esp. the Muslims. This need has become apparent due to the large number of Muslim immigrants. In the organization “Palliative Care Switzerland” (, a new professional group “Health Care Chaplaincy” has been founded. There we, the Catholics and Protestants, work ecumenically. Within this professional group there is a task force for spiritual care, run by Mr. Simon Peng-Keller, Professor for Spiritual Care at the University Zurich.

Hans Niggeli, Deacon
Psychiatrische Klinik Königsfelden
Postfach 432
CH-5201 Brugg

Claudia Jaun
Betagtenheimseelsorge Luzern
Viva Luzern Eichhof
Steinhofstrasse 13
CH-6005 Luzern

Audrey Kaelin, MA, MTh
Universitätsspital Zürich
Rämistrasse 100
CH-8091 Zürich

Audrey Kaelin, MA, MTh
Hospital Chaplain, University Hospital Zurich

Audrey Kaelin is a Catholic theologian with Clinical Pastoral Training. After having been in public and private hospitals, Audrey has been working as a chaplain at the University Hospital Zurich since 2012. She is part of a team of Catholic and Protestant chaplains. They are all employed by their churches.
Before her studies in theology Audrey worked as a college teacher for English and History. Her background is bilingual – having grown up in the U.S.A. and Switzerland. English is her mother tongue.

Audrey’s main tasks are:
- spiritual and pastoral care of the Catholic patients as well as other patients in need; intensive care units
- courses for nurses and volunteer groups
- networking - attending the meetings with the hospital chaplains of the canton of Zurich

[May 2016]


Swiss-German Association of Protestant Hospital Chaplaincy

Our association has its beginnings in 1930, when the first “Konferenz Evangelischer Spitalpfarrer der deutschen Schweiz” took place. Today the association consists of about 150 members. Chaplains can join the association if they work in a health care institution. An academic degree in theology and additional training, e.g. Clinical Pastoral Training/Education (CPT/CPE), is required. Chaplains can work in general hospitals, psychiatric clinics, nursing homes and elderly homes, rehab hospitals and homes for handicapped people.

Health care chaplaincy in Switzerland is structured according to the regional and historical situation. The structures mostly depend on the different church organizations and their specific collaboration with the health care institutions. In some cases there are associations of parishes, single parishes as well as health care institutions themselves that pay and organize. The Protestant church consists of 25 independent Protestant churches due to the 26 political unities, called cantons.

• Integration of chaplaincy in health care institutions
• Exchange of information
• Active partner in discussions regarding ethical issues
• Lobbying in the churches and in political organizations

• Annual meetings
• Development of standards and quality systems
• Exchange between the Protestant and the Catholic representatives in charge of hospital chaplaincy (
• Promotion of health care chaplaincy in the public and in institutions
• Networking

Pfarrerin Susanna Meyer Kunz
Kantonsspital Graubünden
Loestrasse 99
CH-7000 Chur

Pfarrerin Ingrid Zürcher
Universitätsspital Bern
CH-3010 Bern

[May 2016]





Fr Volodymyr Lyupak (Lisbon 2006)


The Development of Healthcare Chaplaincy in Ukraine

After the fall of the USSR, the Ukraine Health Care System inherited all problems of the Soviet Health Care. A very serious problem was, and still remains medical chaplaincy that was forbidden in the time of the Soviet Union.

In November 2004 by special Decree of Lubomyr Huzar, the Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church ( there was established the Inter-diocesan Commission of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church for the Pastoral Health Care. The Commission was called to develop and provide the mission of the Church in the Health Care in Ukraine.

Tasks of the Commission

  • To establish cooperation with religious, state and public organizations which work in the Health Care;

  • To spread in Ukrainian society the Church teaching on life and health of man and the meaning of his suffering;

  • To affirm Christian values in medical social and educational institutions, and in the Ukrainian legislation;

  • To assist an education of the responsible and careful attitude towards every patient and the respect to his dignity;

  • To conduct monitoring of the Health Care problems, especially related to the quality and conditions of medical treatment.

Main fields of activity

1. Pastoral activity

  • Development of the pastoral programs, measures and actions in the Health Care;

  • Organization of the pastoral Health Care work in all UGCC’s dioceses in Ukraine.

2. Educational activity

  • Conducting of scientific-practical seminars, trainings and other educational measures;

  • Assistance to the specialized studies of clergy, medical workers, volunteers for the future work in the Pastoral Health Care.

3. Academic activity

  • Organization of conferences, round tables on present-day themes and questions;

  • Conducting of researches and monitoring of problems of the Health Care in Ukraine

4. Publishing activity

Translation and publication of research, practical handbooks, Church documents etc.

At the present time one of the main task of the Commission is to develop medical chaplaincy in the Church as well to bring an attention of the society to this issue. With this intension the Commission presented to the Bishop Conference of UGCC the project of the document “The Status of the Medical Chaplain”. At the same time the Commission makes research in order to present to the Bishop Conference possible initiatives for the legitimisation of  medical chaplaincy in Ukraine.

Rev Volodymyr Lyupak

[May 2008]


Metropolitan Commission of Health
Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church


Fr Volodymyr Lyupak
5, St. George's Square




United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Sebastian Mani, Austin Snowdon, Meg Burton, Mark Burleigh, Karen Murphy, Margery Collin & Ewan Kelly (Debrecen 2016)



Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains (UK)

[Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplaincy in the UK]




Judy Davies

Duchess of Kent House





What follows is a summary of the issues which the Executive of the AHPCC has in its current workload.

1. Support of members; our priority is the mutual support of one another through regional meetings, the website or conferences, from professional or institutional issues, through personal matters to practical solutions to every-day questions.
2. Communication : This summer we have remodeled our website,  and initiated a regular mailing to the membership in place of a newsletter. We hope the site becomes a much more responsive mode of communication, support and resource-sharing.
3. The AHPCC annual conference : Preparations are under way for next year’s conference on the 16 – 18 May at Swanwick, Derbyshire.
4. Networking : The AHPCC seeks to work closely and collaboratively with the several other bodies concerned with healthcare chaplaincy in the UK. Together we aim to establish chaplaincy as a nationally recognised professional healthcare discipline,

The main-office bearers can be contacted via the links on the website, and, for further information on the matters outlined above, you can make contact with the President at





The College of Health Care Chaplains

Rev Mark Burleigh


Rev William Sharpe
CHCC Registrar
128 Theobald's Road
London WC1X 8TN.
Twitter: @HealthChaplains



Rev Mark Burleigh


Leicester County Hospital

Gwendolen Road





The College of Health Care Chaplains (CHCC) is a multi-faith, interdenominational, professional organisation. It is open to all recognised healthcare Chaplaincy staff, both paid and voluntary, and to those with an interest in healthcare Chaplaincy.
The College exists to promote the professional standing of healthcare Chaplaincy and that of its members both nationally and within health and social care organisations, so as to ensure the best Spiritual Care.
The College is the largest professional body for chaplains working in the United Kingdom. It is a self-governing part of the trades union “Unite”. This enables its members to access support for all aspects of the their employment, for example in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The College also provides opportunities for members to meet locally and discuss a wide range of concerns relating to chaplaincy across the UK. It works closely with the “Scottish Association of Chaplains in Healthcare”, the “National Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains” and the England specific “Healthcare Chaplaincy Faith and Belief Group”. The College also supports the work of the “UK Board for Healthcare Chaplaincy” as it develops a national professional voluntary register of healthcare chaplains.
For more information see the CHCC website:


Rev Mark Burleigh

Mark first worked as a computer programmer, before training for ministry and being ordained as a Baptist minister in 1986. He served in two local church ministries and university chaplaincy before becoming a full-time hospital chaplain. He has been a healthcare chaplain in Leicester's hospitals since 1994, working there full-time since 1999. He now leads the team of chaplains from Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faiths and volunteers from these faiths as well as the Baha'i, Buddhist, Jewish faiths and Humanist outlook. He has been active in the life of the CHCC since 2002, serving on local and national committees - he has been president of the College since 2012. He also manages the hospitals' bereavement service and is also a proud grandfather!

[April 2016]



Health Care Chaplaincy in England and Wales

Health care Chaplaincy in England and Wales continues to meet the needs of patients in a variety of health care settings, from large acute NHS trusts to small general practice groups.
Since the last European network consultation in Estonia there have been a continuous stream of changes in terms of NHS structures and the on going cash flow problems. The new Government White Paper is set to bring yet more changes.
The Church of England continues to be at the fore front of Hospital Chaplaincy and is reviewing how it can best support both Chaplains and Chaplaincy. (
The Roman Catholic Church, through their Health Care Reference Group, has been seeking to support not only chaplains but also all who work in the NHS. On going research and the development of the ‘Care of the Catholic Patient’ have served to strengthen the care given to members of the Roman Catholic Church in times of sickness and hospitalisation. ( )
The Free Churches Group works with 24 Free Church Denominations to provide realistic and appropriate chaplaincy services in all areas of health care. A significant development has been the introduction of a new robust and transparent authorization process for chaplains from the Free Churches denominations. This process has been accepted by the Directors of Churches Together in England and it is hoped that it will give appropriate access to those from Christian denominations who are not in the Free Churches Group, from the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church. This work will be continued through the Churches Committee for Health care Chaplaincy
The Healthcare Chaplaincy Faith and Belief Group (HCFBG), formerly the Multi Faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy, aims to promote and support religious, spiritual and pastoral care in the NHS in England.
There continues to be a variety of courses for chaplains, before for those starting on their journey and those more established. The Center for Chaplaincy Studies in Cardiff offers both the Introductory Course for Chaplains  (both General and Mental Health) and an Masters programme in Chaplaincy studies that is shared with other chaplaincy disciplines. A foundation degree in health care chaplaincy run at St Mary’s University College Twickenham, along with opportunities to progress to undergraduate and masters programmes.
Rev Debbie Hodge

[September 2010]



Hospital / Health Care Chaplaincy (formerly the Hospital Chaplainces Council of the General Synod of the Church of England)

Hospital/Healthcare Chaplaincy
Mission and Public Affairs Division
Church House
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3AZ



Rev Dr Malcolm Brown



Free Churches Secretary for Health Care Chaplaincy (England and Wales)


Debbie Hodge (Mennorode 2012)


Revd Debbie Hodge

Revd Debbie Hodge is Free Church Secretary for Health Care Chaplaincy. Ordained as a minister in the United Reformed Church in 2000, Mrs Hodge has served at Leaside Methodist/ United Reformed Church in Ware and in a variety of Chaplaincy post in higher education and health care settings.
Debbie has a background in the National Health Service. She trained at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London and has worked as nurse, nursing tutor and as Principal Lecturer in Nursing at the University of Hertfordshire. She lectures at St Michael’s College, Cardiff Centre for Chaplaincy Studies. Her published work includes Family Witnessed Resuscitation and the role of the Chaplain: 'Model of Spiritual care' based on the translation of Nursing Theory to Chaplaincy Practice. Based at the Free Churches Group, she holds responsibilities for Health Care Chaplaincy in the Free Church Denominations in England and is Chief Officer for the Health Care Chaplaincy Faith and Belief Group. She is also project officer for the NHS Chaplaincy Project. Her research work this year is focused on community based health care chaplaincy, working across England and South Africa.


[Summer 2016]

Rev Meg Burton (2014)



Rev Meg Burton

Meg is Chair of the Free Church’s Health Care Chaplaincy Support Committee and the lead chaplain for End of Life Care for the College of Health Care Chaplains. She is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Health and Social Care Chaplaincy.


[August 2016]

Churches Together in England
27 Tavistock Square
London WC1 9HH




Healthcare Chaplaincy Faith and Belief Group


The Healthcare Chaplaincy Faith and Belief Group includes representatives of the nine World Faiths (Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian) and the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network.
The object of the group is the advancement of pastoral, spiritual, religious and non-religious care in healthcare in England and Wales. The Group seeks to further this object by facilitating a common understanding and support for pastoral, spiritual, religious and non-religious care chaplaincy amongst Faith and Belief Groups, chaplaincy bodies and users. It works in co-operation with healthcare and chaplaincy organizations, bodies and authorities.


[August 2016]



Healthcare Chaplaincy Faith and Belief Group

Chief Officer

Rev Debbie Hodge

27 Tavistock Square







Healthcare Chaplaincy in Scotland


NHS Education for Scotland


Ewan Kelly (Mennorode 2012)


At present in Scotland there are around 350 part time and just over 60 whole time chaplains employed by the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland. The majority of chaplains are appointed to look after the whole healthcare community where they are working. This includes patients, their carers and staff. They come from a variety of backgrounds and are expected to work across all denominations, and with those of different faiths and no faith. They are expected to provide spiritual care for all and to facilitate the religious care of those who require the administrations of someone from a specific faith community or belief group. If the chaplaincy team is not equipped to provide specific religious care they will do all they can to make appropriate arrangements.

The most significant change in recent times was a directive, a “Health Departmental Letter”, which went to all chief executives, containing guidance about spiritual care and chaplaincy. Since then they have developed Spiritual Care Committees in most Boards which are forums for staff, chaplains and local faith and belief groups to share and discuss the development of the spiritual care service and be aware of the needs of different groups. Because of the broad understanding of spiritual care the Scottish Humanist Society is often represented alongside the different faith communities.

This government guidance on spiritual care was updated in 2008. The new guidance further explains the role of the health service in spiritual and religious care and will be a guide to the future development of chaplaincy and spiritual care. Reference is made to the growing evidence base which supports the value of this type of care, issues surrounding the appointment and employment of chaplains are examined, difficulties such as Data Protection are aired, recent developments are noted and ways forward are recommended.   This documents makes reference to and values the work of ENHCC, including the standards agreed at the consultation in Turku in 2002.

New ways of doing chaplaincy are developing, moving from a crisis based one to one care model in institutions, to developing well being and resilience in community settings, working with other healthcare professionals, voluntary agencies and faith or  belief groups.  This is in line with Scottish Government policy and is vital in showing chaplaincy and spiritual care is value to money by saving on medical and pharmaceutical intervention and hospitalisation.  It also enhances community and individual wellbeing.  The Scottish Government has financed pilot community listening services manned by chaplains and volunteers selected, training and supervised by managers.

The Department of Health and Wellbeing within the devolved Scottish Government supports the development of chaplaincy and spiritual care through the work of Ewan Kelly, the Development Officer.  He is part of NHS Education for Scotland (NES), a Board which deals with the training and education of all healthcare staff. Chaplains are in many ways regarded as a health profession although they do not yet have that official registered status. Through NES we have been able to produce a “Multi Faith Resource for Healthcare Staff”, “Standards for NHS Scotland Chaplaincy Services”, and, “Spiritual and Religious Care Capabilities and Competences for Healthcare Chaplains”, a framework of competences, knowledge and awareness needed by chaplains, which is being used to develop education, principally a Postgraduate Certificate in Health Care Chaplaincy. The first group of students completed this course in the Spring of 2010.

There is still a huge need for staff to be better educated as to the full meaning of spiritual care. As the health service is being reminded of the need to be “patient focused”, so we hope the needs of individuals as whole people, hence their spiritual needs, are being better recognized.  To help in this area a much appreciated booklet has been published, call “Spiritual Care Matters.”   This is now widely used throughout the NHS in Scotland to encourage and promote the delivery of spiritual care.

The Development Officer is now encouraging chaplains to participate in reflective practice and to take part in action research.  Recently an audit of the activity of chaplains has been published and is being used to promote the work of spiritual care teams, as is the report on examples of spiritual care provision mapped against the Quality Dimensions of the NHS Scotland Quality Strategy:.  (The dimensions are that care should be: safe, effective, person centered, timely, efficient and equable.)
(The documents referred to here can be found on the NES website:
There is now close involvement with the UK Board of Healthcare Chaplaincy  ( as the profession moves towards registration and regularion with colleagues across the United Kingdom
The work of the chaplaincy associations to move towards a more professional understanding of chaplaincy is welcome and also very complicated. They are committed to working towards acceptance of chaplaincy as a registered health care profession, although this is still several years away. They are

  • AHPCC: Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains (Scottish Branch)
  • SACH: Scottish Association of Chaplains in Healthcare
  • CHCC: College of Healthcare Chaplains (Scotland Branch)

These associations are working closely with the Chaplaincy Development Officer and with colleagues elsewhere in the United Kingdom to develop the work and understanding of chaplaincy.

Chaplaincy in Scotland is not without its difficulties, however we feel it has a higher profile than before and we are committed to continuing to promote the work though the example, study, research, and development by all who are involved in spiritual care.

[September 2010]


Rev Dr Ewan Kelly
Programme Director for Healthcare Chaplaincy, NHS Education for Scotland

Ewan Kelly took up the post of Programme Director in 2009 after the retrial of Chris Levison who has participated in the Network since the Turku consultation in 2002.  Ewan had been a chaplain at St Columba's Hospice in Edinburgh but has had a wide ranging career which gives him an almost unique preparation for the Programme Director's post.  He trained first as a doctor, then as a minister of the Church of Scotland. He became a hospital chaplain in 1995 at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, moving 3 years later to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. From there his commitment to research and teaching were recognised when he was appointed as a lecturer in Practical Theology at New College in Edinburgh.
Ewan's PhD, which he completed while working as a hospital chaplain and latterly as a lecturer, is entitled: “The role of ritual co-constructed by parents and a chaplain following the death of a baby in-utero ”.  
Ewan is now developing the work, acting as a champion for the ongoing development of the provision of spiritual care, especially chaplaincy, within the NHS in Scotland.


[September 2010


Rev Ewan Kelly

Programme Director for Healthcare Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care
NHS Education for Scotland
West Port
102 West Port


Scottish Association of Chaplains in Healthcaare (SACH)

President: Paul Graham





Church of Scotland

John K Thomson
Ministries Officer
Church of Scotland
121 George Street



Northern Ireland Healthcare Chaplains' Association

Gerald Fox, JenniferMcWhirter & Derek Johnston (Mennorode 2012)


Northern Ireland Healthcare Chaplains Association


The Revd Jennifer McWhirter is Secretary of the Northern Ireland Healthcare Chaplains' Association, a role she assumed in March 2007. She is an Anglican Priest and Vicar of the United Parishes of Templepatrick and Donegore. Her background is in chaplaincy, first in America as a CPE resident and then in Belfast, and she works as part-time chaplain in Musgrave Park Hospital.

Fr Gerard Fox is currently President of the Northern Ireland Healthcare Chaplains’ Association (2011-2013). He is a Catholic Priest and Full Time Chaplain in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, based at Belfast City Hospital. Ordained in 2001, Gerard worked as curate in a Belfast parish before taking up ministry in healthcare. He is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast and the Pontifical University, Maynooth.

The Rev Derek Johnston is in his 23rd year as a Methodist Minister. He has been a hospital chaplain for 13 years in the Royal Hospitals, Belfast. For the past 8 years he has served as a full time chaplain. In 2008 he became Belfast Trust Lead Chaplain. Derek is also Director of Training of the NI Healthcare Chaplains' Association (NIHCA) and Convenor of the Methodist Church in Ireland Prison & Healthcare Chaplaincy Committee.

Chaplaincy in Northern Ireland is denominationally based. Chaplains work mostly on a part time basis, although the number of full time chaplains has increased in recent years. Chaplains are both funded by the hospital trusts and by their own denominations. The NIHCA exists to offer further training to chaplains, to improve their knowledge base in the area of chaplaincy, and to offer support and fellowship. Training days are run three times a year, two 2-day training events and one 1-day training event. The Association is run by an Executive Council made up of 13 elected members representing the four main Christian denominations in Northern Ireland - Church of Ireland, Methodist, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic.

[November 2012]


Fr Gerard Fox

President, Northern Ireland Healthcare Chaplains' Association

Chaplaincy Department

Belfast City Hospital

Lisburn Road




Rev Derek Johnston

Director of Training, Northern Ireland Healthcare Chaplains' Association

Chaplains' Department, East Wing

The Royal Victoria Hospital

274 Grosvenor Road


BT12 6BA



Rev Jennifer McWhirter
Secretary, Northern Ireland Healthcare Chaplains' Association






Honorary Members

Sten Lundgren

The first European Consultation for hospital chaplains took place in 1990 in Berlin. For it was then, under the inspiration of the Reverend Sten Lundgren, who was at that time, Secretary for Hospital Chaplaincy in the Commission on Congregational Life in the Church of Sweden, that eleven chaplains from Europe met together for the first time. Sten was made an honorary member for his initiative, vision and work towards the foundation of the Network.


Rune Forsbeck

Rune Forsbeck retired as coordinator for health care chaplaincy, employed by The Free Churches' Council of Sweden - which has been integrated into The Christian Council of Sweden. He is a minister of The Mission Covenant Church of Sweden and before taking up the coordinator's post in 1995 served as congregational pastor in Uppsala and Lidingö, as university chaplain in Uppsala and as general secretary of The Swedish Ecumenical Council. He was made an honorary member of ENHCC because of his contributions to the start of the Network.


Eirik Os

Reverend Eirik Os is a Norwegian hospital chaplain working in Lovisenberg Deaconal Hospital near Oslo, Norway. For 10 years he was a representative of Norwegian chaplains in the ENHCC. During that time Eirik had a remarkable presence and was chosen to be an honorary member because of his contributions to the development of the ENHCC.


Kirsti Aalto

Reverend Kirsti Aalto was one of the early pillars in the foundation of the ENHCC. She was responsible for healthcare chaplaincy in the Church in Finland and represented her country for many years in the Network. She took op the role of committee member for quite some years and was organizer of the consultation in Finland in Turku in 2002. She worked tirelessly for the development of chaplaincy in her own country and in the European Community. Her love for art, beauty and language was always integrated in her work.


Fred Coutts

Reverend Fred Coutts was a representative for the Scottish Association of Chaplains in Healthcare (SACH) for many years in the ENHCC. It is hard to imagine the development of the Network without the loyal contribution of Fred. Fred joined the Network in 2000 in Crete and became its always available webmaster, secretary and living memory. He served the Network for 12 years and was made an honorary member in 2012 in Mennorode.