GBHEM Launches 2018 Global Chaplaincy Training Series in Central Conferences

Published On: August 29, 2018

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, launched its 2018 Global Chaplaincy Training series with the first session in Maputo, Mozambique. The agency is supporting an expressed need from Central Conferences for contextual chaplaincy leadership training in specialized settings.

The Malhangalene Church young adult choir opened the event with a welcoming song of worship. Sarah Bollinger, Ph.D., director of Collegiate Ministry Leadership Development, and Rev. Dr. Soomee Kim, director of Clinical Pastoral Education led three days of comprehensive training sessions with 25 leaders identified and endorsed by Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala.

Speaking to the unique perspectives of the trainers and training modules, Bollinger said, “There was a wide range of knowledge and experience that came together to formulate the materials for the chaplaincy training which lends to its application and diversity.”

The objectives of the training are to:

  • expand the theological, theoretical and practical knowledge of chaplaincy to increase the effectiveness and impact of chaplains in ministry settings
  • train trainers by identifying leaders who can lead trainings and skill building in their area or service
  • provide an avenue for future resources to support chaplaincy

Training the leaders started with the basics, addressing the question, ‘what is chaplaincy?’ The modules formally defined chaplaincy and what it means to be a chaplain in various areas of service. The training modules explored the historical basis of chaplaincy, clarified the role of chaplains and outlined the “helping process.”

Kim stressed the importance of walking alongside people, saying, “chaplains meet the person at his or her perceived need.” Encapsulating the phases of the helping process: engagement, assessment, planning, implementation, goal attainment, evaluation and termination, Kim stated, “Chaplains love, listen and serve.”

Bollinger and Kim led discussions around the delicate, difficult challenge of balancing one’s calling, the needs of individuals and the needs of institutions. In addition, the training examined other important aspects of chaplaincy such as biblical foundations of pastoral care, how to care for people, values and ethics, human development and crisis/trauma ministry.

To demonstrate key learnings, participants took part in role play and practice exercises and, at the conclusion of the training, GBHEM presented certificates of completion. Participants shared feedback via evaluations to shape, expand and improve future trainings.

Rev. Jamisse Taimo, Ph.D., executive director of GBHEM’s Regional Hub for Leadership, Education and Development in eastern Africa, served as host of the training, leading all event worship and organizing logistics. Additional assistance and translation services were provided by Rev. Dr. Julio Andre Vilanculos, chancellor of the United Methodist University of Mozambique and Filipe Augusto Hoguane, director of Cambine Theological Seminary, allowing English and Portuguese speakers to participate.

The chaplaincy training ultimately equips clergy leaders with the skills to respond to needs of the communities they serve. In addition, some participants will be identified to serve as trainers to expand the training series around the world. The training is another way GBHEM is resourcing and strengthening leadership globally.

GBHEM will host three additional Global Chaplaincy Trainings in Cote D’Ivoire, South Africa and Zimbabwe this year. To learn more about GBHEM and its global resources, visit   

About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.

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