The main purpose of a chaplain is to listen, care and respond appropriately to a client’s needs.

This is according to Dr Hebert Moyo, Lecturer in Practical Theology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Dr Moyo was addressing students at a Chaplaincy expo organised to give students an appreciation of the ministry of chaplaincy.

“Chaplaincy is ministering where there is no church. It is when the church goes to the people, not the other way round,” Dr Moyo said.

He emphasised that ministers need training to be chaplains. He said, “The assumption is that if you are an ordained minister you automatically become a chaplain. It is more than responding to a job advert in the newspaper.” That is not the case.

Dr Moyo urged future chaplains to be ecumenical if they are to be effective chaplains.

“Chaplains are champions of ecumenical theology. They respond to the religious and moral needs of people from a variety of denominations and religions. Do not be a slave of your denomination. Be an interfaith specialist,” Dr Moyo advised the students.