Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care in the Twenty-First Century

An Introduction

Edited by Wendy Cadge, Shelly Rambo

336 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 14 halftones, 1 table, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6760-7
    Published: June 2022
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6759-1
    Published: June 2022
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-6761-4
    Published: March 2022
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-5997-6
    Published: March 2022

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Wendy Cadge and Shelly Rambo demonstrate the urgent need, highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, to position the long history and practice of chaplaincy within the rapidly changing landscape of American religion and spirituality. This book provides a much-needed road map for training and renewing chaplains across a professional continuum that spans major sectors of American society, including hospitals, prisons, universities, the military, and nursing homes.

Written by a team of multidisciplinary experts and drawing on ongoing research at the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab at Brandeis University, Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care in the Twenty-First Century identifies three central competencies—individual, organizational, and meaning-making—that all chaplains must have, and it provides the resources for building those skills. Featuring profiles of working chaplains, the book positions intersectional issues of religious diversity, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and other markers of identity as central to the future of chaplaincy as a profession.

About the Authors

Wendy Cadge is the Barbara Mandel Professor of Humanistic Social Sciences at Brandeis University.
For more information about Wendy Cadge, visit the Author Page.

Shelly Rambo is associate professor of theology at Boston University.
For more information about Shelly Rambo, visit the Author Page.


“This timely book looks at the evolution of chaplaincy as a profession; the academic and clinical education that prepares chaplains for ministry within interfaith, multicultural contexts; and the diverse identities of today’s chaplains. It is an exceptional resource for anyone interested in understanding the unique role chaplains embrace as spiritual leaders.”—Chaplain Tahara Akmal, clinical pastoral education manager at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and ACPE certified educator

"This wonderful book provides perhaps the clearest picture yet of what it means to be a chaplain in the twenty-first century, how to be a chaplain, and why chaplaincy deserves a central place among the professions of caregiving. It should be essential reading for not only chaplains in training and in practice but any caregiver committed to healing and wholeness.”—Kenneth Pargament, author of Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy: Understanding and Addressing the Sacred

“A unique and excellent introduction to the work and training of professional chaplains, this textbook directly addresses contemporary issues, particularly with regard to changing demographics and the increasingly diverse contexts in which chaplains find need for their work in institutions and communities of all kinds. On a broader level, the authors shine a light on the ubiquity and significance of matters pertaining to the spiritual, religious, and meaning-making aspects of human experience.”—Joyce Mercer, Horace Bushnell Professor of Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, Yale Divinity School

“We are living in harrowing times. Increasingly, chaplains and spiritual care practitioners serve a first-responder role for those in crisis. This book is a must-read for those invested in understanding the nuances, strengths, and challenges facing this burgeoning ecosystem of care, including the wise, generous people who constitute it.”—Rev. Jennifer Bailey, author of To My Beloveds: Letters on Faith, Race, Loss and Radical Hope and founder and executive director of Faith Matters Network

“In identifying and explicating key core competencies shared by chaplains functioning across a variety of settings, this book is an excellent resource for a profession seeking to be responsive to the rapidly changing religious landscape of the twenty-first century and the accompanying shifts to the spiritual care needs of persons they serve.”—Jason Nieuwsma, Duke University School of Medicine and Vanderbilt University Divinity School

“What does a chaplain do? Seems a simple question, but the answer is far from it. Thanks to the careful and diligent work of Wendy Cadge, Shelly Rambo, and the volume contributors, Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care in the Twenty-First Century offers long-needed and comprehensive insight into this valuable vocation.”—Rear Admiral Margaret Grun Kibben, chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives