The education and research activities of the chair group Humanist Chaplaincy Studies for a Plural Society focus on existential, moral and spiritual counselling, in the fields of chaplaincy (healthcare, justice, defence) as well as in newly emerging fields (e.g. independent chaplaincy in primary healthcare, spiritual counselling at the police and refugee centres, social-political work affecting education, organisations, communities and policy).
Humanist chaplaincy is changing significantly in the wake of globalisation and secularisation, resulting in the fragmentation of traditional religions and the emergence of various sorts of new and independent forms of spirituality. The meaning of humanism itself is subject to debate and negotiation, opening up possibilities for new meanings, images, practices and new alliances. Moreover, humanist chaplaincy is not limited to individual counselling and guidance, but increasingly focuses on support and education of professionals and leaders addressing moral and political issues within plural communities, organisations and society.
The challenges this research group addresses are threefold. Firstly, to develop insights into the current, transforming and new practices of chaplaincy, and to explore their unique value to individual persons, groups or organisations. Secondly, the question of how to collaborate with other professions to respond to the diverse existential, spiritual and moral needs of people in a swiftly changing world which offers them increasing options and opportunities, but also the confrontation with structural inequalities and limitations. Thirdly, to develop inclusive and dynamic perspectives of humanisms, faith and the pursuit of meaning in life in which dialogue is key and that support humanistic practices, including chaplaincy, for a plural society.
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