Hayler_2016.pdf (2.02 MB)
Supporting and interpreting virtue: a chaplaincy narrative.
thesisposted on 2023-08-30, 14:40 authored by Peter Hayler
Pastoral care in the University of Cambridge has traditionally been identified with college-based Christian chaplaincies. As the University grows and becomes more diverse and more complex so do the challenges of pastoral care. In the face of these challenges the Chaplaincy to University Staff has been developed. This study is a reflexive exploration of its character; I am the current Chaplain to University Staff. I adopt virtue ethics as the methodological construct, drawing critically and creatively on the late twentieth century scholarship of Alasdair MacIntyre. Using the cardinal and theological virtues as a curriculum of themes I facilitate an intentional scheme of storytelling among six colleagues from secular disciplines with whom I collaborate in the promotion of staff wellbeing. The communal character of virtue ethics is focussed on this small community of colleagues but the storytelling process, in turn, illuminates the political landscape of the wider University as an institution. The participants demonstrate a humanistic diversity in their interpretation of the theological virtues, a similar diversity of understanding around their conception of justice and both passion and modesty in their subtly teleological commitment to the work of staff wellbeing. Special features emerge from the data set including Moments of Semantic Breakthrough, Narratives of Established Habitus and Discourses of Solidarity. The practice of virtue storytelling amongst colleagues with collaborative responsibility for the promotion of staff wellbeing across the University discloses the viability of narrative virtue ethics in this specific context as a way of enabling such people to understand and extend the nature of their work. It further demonstrates the viability of the Chaplain as a supporter and interpreter of virtue. The practice is commended by the participants for further development among wider circles of colleagues as a novel form of reflective practice. I identify a personal interpretative standpoint that stresses the importance of community and interdependence. The model is commended for the practice of chaplaincy in other contexts.
InstitutionAnglia Ruskin University
- Accepted version