Chaplaincy is becoming more and more central to the religious/spiritual experiences of individuals and communities in the world. Shifts in religious leadership, religious/spiritual affiliation, and theological education are all occurring at a rapid pace; this unit helps shape AAR as the primary academic home of these discussions. This unit is not only academic in nature; its work is consonant with the AAR’s commitment to the public application of scholarship taking place within the Academy.
This unit gathers researchers, educators, and broad-minded practitioners to extend and make permanent the conversation begun through an exploratory session held at the AAR in November 2018. Innovations in Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care breaks down the barriers between these siloed communities and draws them into a common conversation on how best to meet individuals’ and communities’ spiritual needs today. Doing so requires:
• translating the research needed to support the work of accompanying individuals through growth, change, and struggle;
• investigating how chaplaincy provision is shaped by the people it is offered to and the institutions within which it is provided;
• asking how chaplains can be more effectively present in settings currently lacking spiritual care providers for those in need and how those chaplains can respond most effectively to the increasingly diverse religious landscape.
The mission of Innovations in Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care is to improve how chaplains are trained, how they work with diverse individuals (including those with no religious or spiritual backgrounds), and how chaplaincy and spiritual care coheres as a professional field.