Brisbane woman Beverley Hermann is part of a boom in chaplaincy services in Queensland communities. She is one of the first graduates of a Queensland-first pastoral care course offered by Brisbane based not-for-profit organisation Carinity. A women’s prison chaplain, Beverley is one of eight new Carinity chaplains who will serve in correctional centres and hospitals around the state.

“I grew up in a Christian home, but walked away from church as a young adult. After divorce and 30 years of searching for ‘spiritual truth’ elsewhere, I went to a church service and heard afresh the message of God’s love,” Beverley says. “I love to share Bible stories with the people in prison. I also love to share the gospel message and explain scripture passages.”

Chaplaincy is experiencing a growth surge, with Carinity seeing a 10 per cent increase in the take-up of chaplaincy positions over the past year, and strong engagement in chaplaincy training. Manager of Carinity Chaplaincy and Mission Services, Reverend Don McPherson, says the increasing demand for chaplains is being driven by growing realisation of the benefits of caring for people holistically and by increased social isolation and rising incarceration rates.

“When people think of chaplains they often think of school chaplains. But there is also increasing need for chaplains to support and guide people in the long-standing chaplaincy areas of prisons, hospitals and aged care communities.” Don says the need for more prison chaplains is increasing, with the number of adult prisoners in Queensland corrective services custody increasing by 6.6 per cent between February 2017 and February 2018. Carinity has more than 50 chaplains working multi-denominationally across Queensland in hospitals, aged care and retirement communities and correctional centres.

“Our chaplains provide encouragement, support and spiritual care to people in times of personal need. They provide a listening ear and assist people to access spiritual resources for living and for facing challenging times,” Don says. One of the few chaplaincy trainers in Queensland, Carinity’s Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care, offered through The Training Collaborative, is the first course of its type in the state.

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