For the past 6 years Professor Andrew Parker from the School of Sport and Exercise at the University of Gloucestershire (UoG) has been researching and training students in sports chaplaincy from all around the globe. He recently launched the latest MA sports chaplaincy program out of Cardiff University.

“We’ve transferred the MA sports chaplaincy course from the University of Gloucestershire to Cardiff University.” The difference is that we’ll be running it as a specialist ‘Sports’ pathway as part of our broader Masters in Theology (MTh) Chaplaincy Studies at St Padarn’s Institute.” See http://www.stpadarns.ac.uk/

The new course will still be based around a part-time residential basis. However, Andrew will continue to coordinate the course as the designated tutor despite, in his words, “Still being full-time at Gloucester.”

He added, “The exact details of the sports chaplaincy specialism have yet to appear on the St Padarn’s web site, however, recruitment is now open for the 2017/18 academic year.” Saying, “Everyone is welcome to apply.”

In line with the increasing popularity of chaplaincy in contemporary society, sports chaplaincy has become a burgeoning area of interest both in terms of academic debate and practitioner experience.

As part of the wider world of sports ministry, sports chaplaincy began in the 1970s and in recent years has established itself as a niche provider of care in a range of sports settings from amateur/grassroots to the elite/professional level.

A particularly significant development, has been the increasing recognition of chaplaincy at major sporting events. Major event chaplaincy effectively began in 1988, at the summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea and at the winter Games in Calgary, Canada. The initial focus was on the competitors themselves, along with those who came to watch the event live. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, various national and international sports chaplaincy agencies have emerged to provide governance and safeguarding structures for practitioners in the field. Part of this scenario has been the establishment of accreditation pathways and bespoke qualifications.

Organisations such as Sports Chaplaincy Australia and Sports Chaplaincy UK regularly host education and training courses which not only serve as quality assurance mechanisms but also as opportunities for continuing professional development.

In 2011, the University of Gloucestershire, UK established the first postgraduate qualification in this area, a Master of Arts (MA) in Sports Chaplaincy and this has now been developed as part of the Master of Theology (MTh) (with specialism in sports chaplaincy) program at the University of Cardiff, UK.

In turn, a plethora of similar courses are now being planned by other universities.

For more information Professor Andrew Parker can be contacted at,

School of Sport and Exercise
University of Gloucestershire

Oxstalls Campus
Oxstalls Lane
Gloucester, UK
GL2 9HW

Tel: +44 (0) 1242 715387
Fax: +44 (0) 1242 715222
aparker@glos.ac.uk