Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226779751 Published August 2014
E-book $7.00 to $36.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226145594 Published August 2014

A Ministry of Presence

Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care, and the Law

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan

240 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226779751 Published August 2014
E-book $7.00 to $36.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226145594 Published August 2014
Most people in the United States today no longer live their lives under the guidance of local institutionalized religious leadership, such as rabbis, ministers, and priests; rather, liberals and conservatives alike have taken charge of their own religious or spiritual practices. This shift, along with other social and cultural changes, has opened up a perhaps surprising space for chaplains—spiritual professionals who usually work with the endorsement of a religious community but do that work away from its immediate hierarchy, ministering in a secular institution, such as a prison, the military, or an airport, to an ever-changing group of clients of widely varying faiths and beliefs.

In A Ministry of Presence, Winnifred Fallers Sullivan explores how chaplaincy works in the United States—and in particular how it sits uneasily at the intersection of law and religion, spiritual care, and government regulation. Responsible for ministering to the wandering souls of the globalized economy, the chaplain works with a clientele often unmarked by a specific religious identity, and does so on behalf of a secular institution, like a hospital. Sullivan's examination of the sometimes heroic but often deeply ambiguous work yields fascinating insights into contemporary spiritual life, the politics of religious freedom, and the never-ending negotiation of religion's place in American institutional life.
Benjamin L. Berger, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
“One of the most important voices in the contemporary study of law and religion, Sullivan shows how the chaplain has come to occupy a key role in the negotiation of law, politics, and religion in contemporary America.  With subtlety and erudition, Sullivan brings her reader to the illuminating realization that the chaplain is a figure that sits at the complicated confluence of church and state, an emblem not only of contemporary constitutionalism, but also of modern economic and political life in the United States.”
Courtney Bender, Columbia University
“Fantastic and provocative. Sullivan takes readers into new territory where we can consider American religion and social life from a new angle. Her strong authorial voice keeps the many moving parts together and makes A Ministry of Presence a pleasure to read.”
Robert Orsi, author of Between Heaven and Earth: The Religious Worlds People Make and the Scholars Who Study Them
“In this elegantly written and closely argued work, Sullivan shows that chaplains of all faiths in prisons, hospitals, and the military today find themselves at the nexus of forces that aim to make them into ‘priests of the secular,’ whose role it is to insure spiritually healthy and well adjusted prisoners, patients, and soldiers—as spiritual well-being is determined by the state and circumscribed by the courts. A Ministry of Presence is essential for understanding what has become—and what is becoming—of ‘religion’ in the United States today.”
Introduction: US Law and Religion Today
One / Spiritual Governance
Two / The Chaplain
Three / Credentialing Chaplains
Four / Chaplains and the Constitution
Five / A Ministry of Presence
Appendix: Armed Forces Chaplains Board Endorsers
Selected Bibliography
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