A 28-year-old humanist who says she doesn’t believe in God has been appointed by the U.K.’s National Health Service to lead a team of Christian chaplains.
The Times reported on Monday that Lindsay van Dijk will lead a team of three priests at the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which has prompted concern from some Christian groups.
“People of different faiths or none should be able to choose which chaplaincy service they would like. Putting a humanist in charge of the chaplaincy team shows how far we have come from the Christian roots of the NHS,” said Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern.
Van Dijk has explained that she does not believe in God, but identifies as a humanist rather than specifically as an atheist or an agnostic.
Speaking about her new role leading priests from the Church of England, Baptist and evangelical denominations at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, she said: “Anyone within the chaplaincy team goes to patients to lend a listening ear, to provide spiritual and emotional support, and doesn’t specifically say ‘I’m from this faith’ as it’s not important. We’re not there to proselytize our own beliefs.”
She added in a separate interview with The Guardian: “A lot of people don’t have an organized faith, but still have spiritual and emotional needs at difficult times. Often people are trying to make sense of their lives and the situations they find themselves in.”
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Source: Christian Post