Foundations of Chaplaincy: A Practical GuideFebruary 27, 2022 2022-06-07 3:34
Foundations of Chaplaincy: A Practical Guide
Foundations of Chaplaincy
This is a tremendous and approachable overview of the nature, purpose, and functional roles of chaplaincy. This wonderful book will explain what a chaplain is and will help the reader learn how to be a chaplain.
Chaplaincy is unlike any other kind of ministry. It involves working outside a church, without a congregation, usually in a secular organization. It requires ministering to those with starkly different religious convictions, many of whom may never enter a house of worship. It is, as Alan Baker writes, “ministry in motion.”
Those who are embarking upon this unique and specialized call deserve equally unique and specialized guidance, and Foundations of Chaplaincy offers exactly that.
Baker surveys the biblical and theological foundations of chaplaincy before enumerating four specific responsibilities and skills that define chaplaincy’s “ministry of presence”: providing, facilitating, caring, and advising. Baker’s thorough guidance on these matters is supplemented in sidebars with practical advice and anecdotes from over thirty chaplains currently serving in a variety of settings and organizations.
Chaplains who serve in healthcare, the military, correctional institutions, police and fire departments, sports teams, college campuses, and corporations have essential roles to play in their respective organizations, but theirs is rarely an easy calling.
With Foundations of Chaplaincy as an introduction and an ongoing reference, those called to this important vocation may be assured of having the tools they need to cultivate a strong, mission-driven pastoral identity rooted in their own theological tradition while simultaneously participating in a multi-faith team.
Wisdom Forged In The Crucible of Experience
Alan imparts a wisdom he has forged in the crucible of experience. His wisdom has blessed me during my nearly eighteen years as Chaplain of the United States Senate.”
RADM Barry Black62nd Chaplain of The United States Senate, Former United States Navy Chief of Chaplains
A Much Needed Resource
This is a much-needed resource for a form of ministry of growing importance in our religiously plural world.”
Sondra WheelerWesley Theological Seminary
It Is Full of Wisdom
Thank God he has written this much-needed book on the subject. It is full of wisdom.”
Richard J. MouwFuller Theological Seminary
Applies to All Chaplains
His six chapters weave together four essential roles of chaplains with relevant vignettes illustrating ministry in action. He includes five appendices with tools of the trade for chaplains.
The footnotes and bibliography are helpful to students of chaplaincy, and the index makes for quick reference. Intentionally or coincidentally, Baker addresses what might be called a ‘battle for the soul of chaplaincy.’
For at least two decades, US military chaplaincy has struggled to hold on to a coherent conceptual framework and unifying values.
Baker revivifies essential constructs of chaplain practice and elevates religious support of (mostly young adults) in uniformed service. Serving others has been the historic raison d’etre for chaplaincy. These principles push against a separate strand of contemporary military chaplaincy: overt sectarianism focused on the nation’s culture wars.
Chaplain Baker makes the case: faithful military chaplains are not sectarian religionists, but agile, compassionate, and devoted spiritual and pastoral guides.
These same principles apply to ministers who aspire or now serve in multiple chaplaincy settings.”
An Accessible and Helpful Vision
I see this book being widely used as a resource, not least for my seminary students discerning their call to chaplaincy.”
Chuck DeGroatWestern Theological Seminary
An Indispensable Guide
As chaplaincy increases even as church attendance decreases, this book will become an indispensable guide. It distills Baker’s rich experience into the most thorough and helpful resource available for anyone considering this high and holy calling.”
Wesley Granberg-Michaelsonauthor of Without Oars: Casting Off into a Life of Pilgrimage
Unveils The Art of Chaplaincy
But the real insight is in the unveiling of the art of chaplaincy, that is, how to strike the precarious balance of serving the diverse spiritual needs of both the religious and unaffiliated, while remaining a fully functioning member of, and therefore completely within the boundaries of, a secular institution; all the while remaining faithful to the mandates of the chaplain’s own belief and faith tradition.
Foundations of Chaplaincy explores this dynamic and challenging undertaking with a deep appreciation for this essential vocation.”
RADM Margaret Grun Kibben61st Chaplain of The United States House of Representatives, former United States Navy Chief of Chaplains
Captured The Special Calling
Chaplains are called to be fluid and open in their approach to ministry to people from various backgrounds. Chaplain Baker captures this well in his writings.”
Chaplain Michael L. McCoyFormer National Director of Chaplaincy in the US Department of Veterans Affairs
A ‘How-To’ Course On The Professional World of Chaplains
Foundations of Chaplaincy is both a discourse on the chaplaincy field and a ‘how-to’ course on the professional world of chaplains, who live in the tension between allegiance to their own faith tradition and assuring the free exercise of all persons in a secular, pluralistic environment.
The four functional capabilities of chaplains to ‘provide, facilitate, advise, and care’ inform chaplains and management alike how this tension is lived out with integrity. Information and insight are peppered with practical stories and biblical examples.
Prospective through experienced chaplains can all benefit from absorbing the wisdom of this text.”
Jan McCormackDenver Seminary
The Essence of The Tasks of Chaplaincy
But what exactly is chaplaincy? What do chaplains do? Why should anyone care?
In this interesting and timely book Alan Baker lays out the essence of the tasks of chaplaincy in a way that is clear, accessible, and open to a broad range of people inside and outside of faith communities.
Anyone who wants to know about and understand the importance of chaplaincy should read this book.”
Professor John Swinton, BD, PhD, RMN, RMNMDUniversity of Aberdeen
Critical and Influential
It is obvious that Alan Baker’s book, Foundations of Chaplaincy, would have been a very helpful resource for all of us involved in these relationships. With great wisdom, Admiral Baker provides insight into the chaplaincy and ministry.
I am encouraging chaplains to read Foundations of Chaplaincy, along with lay leaders of local parishes, especially those in military communities. I thank Alan Baker for his distinguished service in the chaplaincy, and for sharing his knowledge of this critical and influential area of ministry.
I am sure that the men and women who have embraced this call will greatly benefit from the counsel found in Foundations of Chaplaincy.”
Dr. Jay CokerFormer Pastor, PCUSA
For an Enhanced Ministry of Presence
Lastly, Dr. Baker also incorporated discussion questions at the conclusion of each chapter in Foundations of Chaplaincy that helps assimilate a team’s group discussion on increasing their presence of ministry.”