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Durham University

Centre for Spirituality, Theology & Health

Theology and Spiritual Care Beyond Story

by Revd Dr Chris Swift, Director of Chaplaincy and Spirituality at Methodist Homes (MHA)

Thursday 5 December 2019 (4.30-6pm)
Spirituality, Theology & Health seminar series (Durham University)

This seminar took place in Seminar Room B (D/TH004, Dept. of Theology & Religion, Abbey House, DH1 3RS, Durham).

To watch the Lecture, please click here.

Stories are central to our self-perception and engagement with the world. They are also essential for our sense of identity and the formation of communities. In the context of religion and belief, narrative accounts of identity and association are important elements of belonging and collective action. This raises significant questions when cognitive changes, such as those associated with dementia, begin to impact on the life of an individual. Drawing on evidence and the literature associated with social care this presentation will explore these issues both in terms of theology and with consideration of the practical implications for spiritual care in belief-based communities.

Chris is a director at Methodist Homes (MHA), providing leadership for the organisation’s 140 chaplains and developing the work of spiritual care for those in later life. As an Anglican Priest for over 25 years Chris spent twenty years working in the NHS, most recently as Head of Chaplaincy in the Leeds Teaching Hospitals. In 2005 Chris completed a PhD in contemporary health care chaplaincy and continues to teach on MA courses; conduct research; advise on PhD projects and write for publication. Chris served two terms as president of the College of Health Care Chaplain (2004-7) and was seconded to lead a project developing new national chaplaincy guidelines for NHS England in 2015. He is author of Hospital Chaplaincy in the Twenty-first Century (2014) published by Routledge. In 2019 Chris was awarded a Visiting Professorship at Staffordshire University in pastoral, religious and spiritual care.