European standards set for hospital chaplains

 A set of European guidelines for hospital chaplains was drawn up on Saturday by the European Network of Health Care Chaplaincy. Forty representatives from 21 nations met in Turku, Finland, to draw up the 'European Standards for Health Care Chaplaincy.' According to the new European Standards, chaplains provides pastoral services in a variety of health care settings. They minister to the existential, spiritual and religious needs of those who suffer and those who care for them, drawing on personal, faith, cultural and community resources. The standards describe the organization and development of chaplaincy services, the area and activity of chaplains, their education, formation and supervision. There is an emphasis on how faiths and chaplaincy services can be a vital resource in theological, pastoral, and ethical matters. Special focus is given to the areas of integrated spiritual development and bioethics. The Network is an ecumenical body which is composed of faiths, denominations and organizations which provide pastoral care in hospitals and various health care facilities. The network aims at mutual sharing and understanding both on a religious, cultural and organizational level. It brings together the various chaplaincy experiences of all the health care systems in Europe. Chaplaincy services are organized in different ways in different European countries. The new coordinator of the network is Fr Stavros Kofinas, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church. The network committee consists of representatives from Finland, Germany, Scotland, The Netherlands, Ireland and Switzerland. The next consultation will take place in Berlin, Germany, in September of 2004. For more information visit:

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