Chaplains are appointed by the Church and work beyond its walls in all kinds of places. Some are paid and ordained, but many are voluntary and lay offering their time, skills and experience to support and bless people in their ordinary, everyday working lives.
St Martin of Tours (316 – 397 AD), whose feast day is on 11 November, is often credited as the founder of Christian chaplaincy. St Martin was a Roman Army officer who encountered a destitute man near the gates of Amiens and cut his army cloak (capella) in half and became known as the ‘first capellainor chaplain’. Following his ordination, St Martin was commissioned to work away from the main church building in places where people were in special need. Buildings created for this special work were known as chapels.
Today, amongst many other places, there are chaplains ministering:
• in hospitals and hospices;
• alongside the elderly;
• in a variety of workplaces;
• in prisons;
• with the armed forces and cadets;
• in shopping centres and town centres;
• in schools and universities;
• in ports (Stella Maris, Mission to Seafarers and the Fishermen’s Mission and at Newcastle International Airport;
• with the emergency services
• and many more!