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Authored by Kevin Dowling with contributions by Will Yetvin and Connor Jansen
In the United States, chaplains serve very important roles in many public institutions. Traditionally, the field of chaplaincy has largely been dominated by Protestant ministers and Catholic priests. Today, however, chaplains face more religiously diverse populations and must become conversant in such diversity in order to do their jobs effectively. Chaplains serve everywhere from hospitals, prisons, and colleges to the military, legislatures, and police and fire departments. This exhibit focuses primarily on hospital chaplaincy, with information about prison, military, and college chaplains as well. Hospital chaplains play a crucial role in modern patient care. Their position between medicine and religion creates both challenges and opportunities for their work. While the complex and complelling stories of the hospital chaplains interviewed for this exhibit are included in the pages on hospital chaplaincy, please visit the 'Chaplain Profiles' section for a deeper look into their rich personal histories and work.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotations and other information come from interviews conducted by Kevin Dowling during the fall of 2013. Wendy Cadge's ethnography of hospital chaplains, Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine, served as an extremely important resource and is a fantastic book for further information about religion in medicine. Winnifred Fallers Sullivan's A Ministry of Presence: Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care, and the Law is a another key resource.