The BCC Compass – Oct 2023
Chaplains are present in many intuitions such as Tysons Food, the US Military, Congress, hospitals, colleges, and the Board of Child Care. But what exactly is a chaplain? Some might think that they are not religious and there is no need for a chaplain. After all, there is a separation of church and state, right? Let us explore a few things:
Chaplain vs Pastor/Clergy
Chaplains are representatives of their faith traditions: Christians (of different denominations), Islam, Jewish, Humanists, Buddhists etc. who have received specialized training to minister in a pluralistic environment. Many chaplains are clergy people (pastors, priests, rabbis, imams) but – at their ministry setting – they are chaplains because they are available to all people and provide care to all regardless of faith or no faith tradition. Chaplains understand what it means to serve in a pluralistic setting.
Why does BCC and other institutions (including secular ones) have a chaplain?
Chaplains care for people, offer pastoral care, and provide religious services such as ordinances and sacraments. However, chaplains also have another unique role. They advise on topics such as religious freedom/accommodation, ethics, and morality.
With BCC’s history with Methodism, having the spiritual caretaker on staff is part of our heritage. Spiritual care is a broad perspective, not just of religion, but being spiritually ready to face whatever the next hurdle may be. At BCC, we also see this role as a tool for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion. The chaplain helps, along with the EDI committee, to ensure that practices, policies, celebrations within the organization possess an EDI perspective and celebrate people as they have been created. Along with that, the promotion of physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness is part of the culture we would like to embrace at BCC.
Chaplaincy is evolving, as the world is evolving, but the thing that remains consistent is that spiritual care and readiness, a sense of purpose, is important in maintaining a healthy individual. At BCC, the chaplain is used in many ways but the focus is still to care for our talent and caregivers and to ensure that there are avenues for EDI initiatives, to help change our communities through the family called the Board of Child Care.