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Caring to death: Reflections on the experience of ministry to the dying

Jenkins, William (1997) Caring to death: Reflections on the experience of ministry to the dying. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis set out to explore the experience of ministry to those who are dying. Using a phenomenological approach, it has done so by asking a group of ecumenical hospice chaplains to reflect on this experience by responding to a set of questions about their motivation for this ministry, the establishment and the nature of their relationships with patients, their feelings about their ministry, their self image, how they see themselves and how they believe that they are seen by others, their perceptions of humankind, and their theological understanding of what they are doing when they are caring for fellow human beings who are dying.

Various issues emerged through these reflections that were recurrent and/or particularly significant. These included mutuality in relationship, with the centrality of allowing the patient to ‘set the agenda’; the needs of the chaplain and these in relationship to their ministry to others; the importance of being able to establish trust as a crucial element in a developing relationship; the distinction between the person of the chaplain and the role of chaplain, and the issue of stereotypes; the radical life changing nature of this particular ministry; intimacy and the elements of identification and emotional involvement; the issue of the ‘professional’ and the ‘personal’, and perceived limitations to ministry; the positive view of themselves and a balanced view of the qualities of humankind; their image of God and the relation between this image and their understanding of their ministry to those who are dying; and ‘being with’ as a concept, particularly in relation to exploring an understanding of both caring and dying.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Jackson, Michael
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