A chaplain is a member of the clergy and representative of a specific religion who works in a secular institution. In order to become a chaplain, individuals need to graduate with a bachelor's degree in theology and complete a seminary program. The International Fellowship of Chaplains offers certification in the field.
Chaplains conduct religious services in church hospitals, college campuses, prisons, hospices and military facilities. Services may take place once or several times a week, and chaplains are responsible for performing sermons, reading scripture and offering prayer requests. In some locations, chaplains may also choose music for the services. In addition to religious services, chaplains may also perform baptisms, weddings and funerals.
Provide Emotional Support
Another primary objective for chaplains is to provide emotional support to hospital patients, military personnel, prisoners and college students. Individuals may seek out advice and support for any number of situations, including depression, personal problems, health issues, stress and family separation. Chaplains use their education and training to offer guidance based on biblical readings in order to help individuals find peace and a resolution to their issues.
Counsel Terminally Ill Patients
Chaplains who work in hospitals and hospices may have to meet with terminally ill patients and prepare them to pass on. In order to assist patients with this process, chaplains may advise them about resolving any conflicts with family members and close friends and highlight the positive impact they have made on others. Chaplains also sit with patients during their last moments and perform last rites.
Some chaplains may lead activities in order to promote togetherness and community. These activities may include trips and games. On college campuses, chaplains may organize camping trips for students; while in hospitals and hospices, they may lead games, like Bingo. The activities provide individuals with a forum to meet others and develop relationships in a religious setting.