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Spiritual Care Week

Pastoral Care Week

Spiritual Care: Chaplains Beyond Religious Roles
October 20-26, 2024

Since 1985

Spiritual Care Week/Pastoral Care Week is hosted by The COMISS Network: The Network on Ministry in Specialized Settings.  The first Pastoral Care Week was held in October 1985. Since then it has grown beyond national to international proportions. The celebration of Spiritual Care Week provides an opportunity for chaplains and pastoral care counselors, educators and providers to share their story and to celebrate various ministries. More specifically, the established objectives of the Spiritual Care Week Committee outline the scope of Spiritual Care Week observance:

  • To celebrate the education for and practice of spiritual care through professional chaplaincy and pastoral counseling.

  • To interpret and promote pastoral care.

  • To honor and celebrate all practitioners of pastoral care.

  • To express appreciation to institutions and their staff who support pastoral care ministries.

  • To publicize the work of pastoral care organizations affiliated with COMISS.

  • To promote continuing education for clergy, laity, and institutional employees regarding the value of pastoral care. 

Each year a new theme brings to the light a certain aspect of spiritual care as a focus. A new theme invites us to new and creative ways to tell the story of spiritual care.

SINCE 1985

Celebrate This Week

Spiritual Care Week gives opportunities for organizations and institutions of all kinds and types to recognize the spiritual caregivers in their midst and the ministry which the caregivers provide.


This Year's Theme

Spiritual Care: 
Chaplains Beyond Religious Roles
Spiritual Care Week:  October 20-26, 2024
Theme Interpretation


Chaplains and other professional spiritual caregivers are often called to do much more than offer a prayer.


When thinking of chaplains, many people picture chaplains praying, and doing other religious activities, such as: providing sacred texts and devotional booklets, leading worship services, performing weddings and funerals, and providing spiritual guidance.


Chaplains are also highly trained in numerous roles in addition to their religious care:


Advance directive facilitator: know the end-of-life decision process, state forms for living wills, healthcare representative forms, and assist others with end-of-life wishes.


Advocate: they promote health and wellness, equality of services offered, access to resources, individual rights and care.


Celebrator of healing/new birth: not only do they comfort those who suffer, chaplains also lead or assist in celebrating the completion of medical treatments and the arrival of newborns.


Coach: they have skills in recognizing others’ gifts and knowing how to encourage others to become their best.


Crisis intervention: they are trained to provide leadership and support in times of crisis.


Diversity/inclusion supporter: they embrace cultural humility, and recognize the importance of meeting the needs of people of all cultures, languages, gender identity, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic diversities, etc.


Ethics consult: they are well versed in ethics and ethical thinking, and can provide important input when ethical conflicts arise.


Emotional comforter: for people who do not identify as religious, they are trained in providing non-religious compassionate comfort.


Family support: they are trained to provide support to families who face difficult times and provide assistance to families in conflict.


Grief counseling/bereavement support: in addition to spiritual comfort, chaplains provide professional-level support to those who are grieving.


Liaison: they often facilitate cooperation between many disciplines, as well as communicating and referring to outside clergy and resources as needed or requested.


Mediator: chaplains are trained to be mediators for patients, their families, and organizational staff to resolve conflicts peacefully.


Moral injury support: trained in supporting veterans (and others) who have endured personal moral injury while serving in war or other difficult situations.


Pre/post-surgery care: they have training in the cognitive and emotional needs of patients experiencing surgical and other procedures.


Navigators of systems: they often know of the ins and outs of complex medical and other systems, and can guide others to find the resources they need.


Suicide prevention counselors: they are trained in recognizing signs of suicidal ideation, assist in suicide prevention, and professional referral.


Supportive presence: when patients or clients have no one to turn to, the chaplain can be a non-judgmental and caring friend to those who feel alone.


Supporters for people with addiction issues: many chaplains specialize in giving support to those dealing with dependency on illicit drugs and/or prescription medicine.


Utilizers of telecare: a growing number of chaplains are now using Internet video connections to provide support to individuals and families in various chaplain care settings.



Chaplains and professional spiritual caregivers take on many different roles, like the ones above, based on the needs of those in their care.  Beyond their religious roles, they are trained and capable of giving support in a wide array of spiritual, emotional, social, and other needs.  When called upon, they are ready to serve in many ways.

2004 Pastoral Care Week

2004 Pastoral Care Week

2015 Pastoral Care Week

2015 Pastoral Care Week

2010 Pastoral Care Week

2010 Pastoral Care Week

2009 Pastoral Care Week

2009 Pastoral Care Week

2006 Pastoral Care Week

2006 Pastoral Care Week

2003 Pastoral Care Week

2003 Pastoral Care Week


This Year's Logo

Spiritual Care 2024_hats_Joe_no_words_a.jpg
Spiritual Care 2024_hats_Joe_no_words_a.jpg

The Spiritual/Pastoral Care Week Committee

For more information or to send feedback or comments please e-mail the

Spiritual Care Week Committee c/o 

Chaplain Tim Staker




Pastoral Care Week Committee:

Tim Staker:  Chair (First Term) - 2023-2026

George Akins - 2024

Clyde Angel - 2026

Kyle Christiansen - 2024

Carolyn Huff - 2024

Anissa Glaser-Bacon - 2023-2026


2013-Spiritual Care Week

2013-Spiritual Care Week

2008-Pastoral Care Week

2008-Pastoral Care Week

2016-Pastoral Care Week

2016-Pastoral Care Week

2012-Pastoral Care Week

2012-Pastoral Care Week

2007-Pastoral Care Week

2007-Pastoral Care Week

2005-Pastoral Care Week

2005-Pastoral Care Week


Spiritual Care Week is no longer offering Spiritual or Pastoral Care Week celebration merchandise.  If you desire to have items available to support your local Spiritual Care Week celebration, we encourage you to download one of the printable logo images above and take it to a local printer or merchandiser to create any desired celebration items.




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Are you going to celebrate Spiritual Care Week this year?

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