An unusual blog from me.
Below you will see the full text of a Press Release that has just been sent out to UK media by Will Gethin of Conscious Frontiers.
I am hoping, as you read it, you will understand its significance. There will be follow-up eLetters from me about the UK Register of Spiritual Caregivers and the Compassion Dialogues.
The biggest and most useful support you can give is through sharing the news with friends and colleagues 🙏
PRESS RELEASE – FOR PUBLICATION
UK’s first Register of Spiritual Caregivers is now available
A focussed resource for the ‘Spiritual Not Religious’ community, the new Register denotes a quiet revolution in the UK’s religious-spiritual landscape
Launch of monthly ‘Compassion Dialogue’ webinars begins 9 November, featuring Dr Robert Holden
The growing community of people who identify as spiritual-not-religious now has its own register of spiritual caregivers.
Initiated by the Spiritual Companions Trust, the new UK Register of Spiritual Caregivers – launched today on Tuesday 26 October – represents a formal step to achieve parity with traditional faith communities, whose carers can work voluntarily or professionally in healthcare, education, prisons and other relevant sectors.
Dr William Bloom, CEO of the Spiritual Companions Trust, says: ‘Our intention is for our new Register of Spiritual Caregivers to provide a complementary service to the compassionate care already given by the carers and chaplains belonging to traditional religious communities. We admire and respect the provision of traditional religious carers and will work cooperatively with them in all situations where people are in distress, suffering or seeking spiritual support.’
Just how many people in Britain are in the spiritual-not-religious community is difficult to estimate. The most recent research conducted by the Pew Foundation in the United States indicates that 27% of the US population aligns with that identity.* The World Values Survey indicates similar numbers for all societies where there is a high degree of education and political freedom.** Research in 2013 indicated that about a fifth of people in the UK fitted into this category and, according to Professor Michael King of University College London, were more prone to mental health challenges.*** Indications from the recent UK Census indicate that increasing numbers are leaving traditional religions but are not identifying as agnostic or atheist.****
There will of course be people who dispute the research, but it is certainly clear that “spiritual but not religious” represents a major strand of belief across the West.
The UKRSC will give this community access to spiritual carers who are aligned with their beliefs. At the same time, it gives providers of care and education, such as hospitals and universities, a reliable register of skilled people who can step into voluntary and professional roles associated with pastoral care and chaplaincy.
The UKRSC already has 70 members on its register, who can be found here: https://spiritualcompanions.org/find-an-sc/
According to the UKRSC the core skill needed by a spiritual carer is to be an impeccable and compassionate listener.
“The heart of spiritual care,” says Dr Bloom, “is to be a quiet and benevolent presence, always engaged and listening.” The first requirement therefore for members of the Register is that they have received a full training and achieved a qualification that includes rigorous and compassionate listening skills. This will include qualified counsellors, psychotherapists, medics, nurses and social workers. The second crucial requirement of the UKRSC is that their members have an open-hearted and open-minded approach to spirituality and are always willing to support any client in exploring their own person-centred approach to spirituality.
The UKRSC is a project of the Spiritual Companions Trust, an educational charity that pioneered the first mainstream vocational qualification in spirituality and health (Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Practical Spirituality & Wellness – Ofqual Register Qual No: 601/8673/2 Sector Subject Area: Health and Social Care).
Applications to be registered on the UKRSC are open now and can be submitted here: https://spiritualcompanions.org/join-ukrsc/
The Compassion Dialogues
To complement the launch of the register and provide relevant support, the UKRSC is hosting a monthly webinar, The Compassion Dialogues. Each webinar will feature a guest specialising in a particular field of care, who will be interviewed by Spiritual Companions Trust CEO, Dr William Bloom. Each conversation will explore how the guest first became interested in spiritual care, and their best insights and practices for delivering it.
Dr Robert Holden — Compassion & Forgiveness in Everyday Life — 9 November
Lisa Anthony — Caring for Students, Teachers, Patients and Clients — 14 December
Simon Stedman — Mainstream Business, Utopian Communities & Suicide Help Lines — 11 January
Kate Spohrer — End of Life and Green Funerals — 8 February
Prof Paul Gilbert — The Compassionate Mind — 8 March
These webinars are open to the public and are being held by donation.
More information about this series and the speakers can be found here: https://spiritualcompanions.org/compassiondialogues
William Bloom is available for interview. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For other media enquiries and to request press images, please contact Diana Brown, the Spiritual Companions Trust administrator: email@example.com
Resources for Editors
This press release and relevant photographs can be found in a Dropbox folder here:
Notes to Editors
Asterisked are the links to evidence for the size of the spiritual not religious community.
More information: spiritualcompanions.org