Gallup recently released the results of a survey that they conducted in the United States for the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab at Brandeis University. 1 out of 4 survey respondents said they had been served by a chaplain. Did the chaplain encounter leave a positive impression? 44% indicated very valuable and another 32% answered moderately valuable. Only 7% said it was not valuable at all.
Lydia Saad, the Director of U.S. Social Research at Gallup, wrote:
“The experience is also unique in that, occurring as it does outside of a religious setting, it often connects faith leaders with nonreligious people -- constituting 42% of those who have ever interacted with a chaplain. As such, chaplaincy provides an important mechanism for people from diverse religious orientations to receive spiritual care in a moment of need and reportedly in a way that, for most who’ve experienced it, is compassionate and helpful rather than unwelcome or uncomfortable.”
I experienced this interaction and care firsthand. Several weeks ago. I participated in a virtual visit with my wife Kristen’s palliative care doctor, as well as a chaplain from the Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health. After 30 years of providing pastoral care as a chaplain, it was so interesting to be on the receiving end. I was impressed how well the doctor and chaplain worked together to listen, assess, and provide care for Kristen. I found out later that the chaplain was a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) resident at UC San Diego Health. The world became smaller when I realized that the resident’s CPE educator had assisted in my CPE residency.
What my wife and I experienced that session, it was indeed care that was “compassionate and helpful rather than unwelcome or uncomfortable.” I want to thank our CPE/PCE educators for the work that they do for their students. I also want to thank all our chaplains for their willingness to work “outside of a religious setting” to provide compassionate spiritual care to those who associate with a specific religion and those who have no association. You indeed live out “Being There in Moments That Matter.”
Grace and Peace,
Director of Chaplaincy and Care