According to the 2011 Census, there are at least 54,000 Pagans in England and Wales. The true numbers of Pagans are likely to be significantly larger than this due to many not wishing their beliefs to be registered and known. This is in no small part due to the both the historic and the present day prejudice and discrimination that Pagans are subjected to within society.
Founded in 1971, the Pagan Federation’s main purpose was to advocate for the rights of Pagans in all areas of their lives and as such has been endorsing chaplains in prisons for more than 30 years. We are often consulted on a wide variety of issues that Pagans face in their day to day lives such as health, illness, disability, gender identity, life and death rites of passage and general advice around practising their beliefs. One of our roles as an organisation is to support our community in practising their beliefs and we work with the whole range of human experience whether they’re individuals, groups or families and their respective support systems. We have had volunteers going into hospitals for a long time but finally, and largely thanks to the efforts of our then brand new Hospital Ministry Manager, formalised our endorsement process in healthcare settings in 2019. It is thanks to their in depth knowledge of working within hospitals, hospices and the community that we were able to put in place the requirements of ongoing training and supervision for our volunteers.
Our procedures for hospital chaplains now includes regular formal and informal training as well as supervision and each endorsement we issue is reviewed on a yearly basis along with the chaplain’s membership with us. Chaplain’s are also required to carry out regular CPD and reflection upon the Five Chaplaincy Principles.