Intentional Friendship {Section B:1}

"Intentional Friendship"

A Philosophy Developed by David Oliphant

In Australia, chaplaincy and pastoral care has traditionally been an initiative within individual Christian denominations seeking to keep in touch with members of their own church or group within hospitals, nursing homes, jails and schools. It is now becoming a professional caring modality in its own right, apart from but including churches and religious organizations, working in both stipendiary and voluntary capacities in the general life of the community. It is gaining a unique place within our secular society alongside other caring modalities such as social work, community work, and general counselling, specifically to help 'meet the religious, spiritual, emotional and pastoral needs' of the general community

The general community however is no longer largely Christian. It is multicultural and multifaith within a broadly secular society. This is the context within which modern pastoral care in the community is seeking to establish itself as a profession in its own right. There is a growing recognition that to be fully accepted as a caring modality within the broader community, and to be in the position to be supported by Government and funding bodies generally, the profession of pastoral care needs a theoretical base that is inclusive of our different traditions, including secularity and atheism.

Some would say such a theory of multifaith pastoral care is inevitable, even desirable and necessary, if the profession is to fully complete the transition it is in and take its place in society alongside other caring modalities.

This then is the challenge my thesis is addressing. How can people from different faith and spiritual backgrounds, admittedly united in a commitment to care for others emotionally, spiritually and religiously, work and train together in paid and volunteer capacities as the 'profession' of pastoral care and chaplaincy?Able to accommodate and include the various empirical traditions.

My thesis is that such a challenge cannot be met without a common philosophical basis that makes clear the nature of pastoral care and its relationship to human nature and community, and is able to accommodate and include the various empirical traditions that make up our multifaith and secular Australian society.

Intentional Friendship, A Philosophy of Pastoral Care, seeks to fulfill this theoretical need. The framework offered also lays the foundation for a reframing of the most widely used training method for chaplaincy and pastoral care, Clinical Pastoral Education.


» Next: {Section B:2} "The Basis of Relationships": A Philosophy of Pastoral Care