A new audit of chaplaincy in Cornwall has shown today’s chaplains are now to be found not just in their more traditional habitats, such as hospitals, schools, and the military, but in a variety of settings, including lifeboats and ballet companies, ambulances and airports.
The religion and society think tank Theos carried out the audit into the growth of what it calls the chaplaincy phenomenon.
The project included a detailed mapping of chaplains in Cornwall between November 2016 and April 2017.
It discovered are 198 chaplains operating in the county. They were working in 26 different fields including Penlee Lifeboat, Truro Agricultural Chaplaincy, Cornwall Airport Newquay and the College of the Bards of The Gorseth Kernow.
The vast majority are volunteers with only 9% working full-time, and only 11.5% of Cornwall’s chaplains receiving a salary or stipend for their work.
Christians dominate the chaplaincy scene in Cornwall (95% of the total), there being virtually no representation from other faith traditions. The study did reveal, however a small number of chaplains who identify as non-religious/humanists.
Their presence may signal a slow but steady expansion in non-religious chaplaincy, which would be consistent with the steady rise in the number of the ‘non-religious’ in Cornwall, and the UK more generally.
Theos said this confirms a changing chaplaincy landscape, with Christian chaplains still dominating, but minority faiths and belief groups having a growing chaplaincy involvement.