The Multi-Faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy was launched formally at a small event in the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday 25th June 2003. The event was hosted by Peter Bottomley MP and the MFGHC was launched by Mrs Sarah Mullally, Chief Nursing Officer, Department of Health on behalf of the Minister of State (Health). Pictures of the event are carried on the MFGHC website.
MFGHC includes representatives of the nine World Faiths: Bahá'í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian Faiths.
Barney Leith OBE
A Bahá’í since the mid 1960s, Barney has been a member of the UK Bahá’í community's national governing council, the National Spiritual Assembly, since 1993. He has served at different times as its Secretary, Secretary for External Affairs, and Director for Diplomatic Relations. He is now semi-retired.
He has many years of experience representing the UK Bahá’í community in interfaith organisations, focusing on dialogue, collaborative action, and working with government, academia and faith communities on the role of religion in the public square and the importance of faith-based social action. He is a former trustee of the Inter Faith Network for the UK and is the long-standing Chair of the Faith Based Regeneration Network.
In 1998 he became the Bahá’í representative on the Multi Faith Group's predecessor body, the Joint National Working Party, and was the first Chair of the Multi Faith Group when it was inaugurated in 2003. He was deeply engaged in the process of drafting the 2003 DH guidelines, NHS Chaplaincy: Meeting the religious and spiritual needs of patients and staff. Ten years on, he has been 'recycled' and is happy to accept the challenge of working with others to support the faith communities in their vital work to recruit, train and authorise healthcare chaplains and spiritual care givers.
Barney is married, has three middle-aged offspring and four grandchildren. He has degrees in sociology, social psychology and philosophy. In 2010 he was appointed OBE for his services to the Bahá’í Faith and to interfaith relations.
Revd Debbie Hodge
Revd Debbie Hodge was appointed Free Church Secretary for Health Care Chaplaincy in February 2005. Ordained in the United Reformed Church in 2000 Mrs Hodge has served at Leaside Methodist/ United Reformed Church in Ware. During that time she served as University Chaplain and then as Free Church Chaplaincy at North and East Herts NHS Trust. On taking up the post at the Free Churches Group she continued her chaplaincy at The Royal Marsden Hospital Fulham Road, London.
Debbie has a background in the National Health Service. She trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London and has worked as nurse, nursing tutor and Principal Lecturer in Nursing at the University of Hertfordshire in critical care with specific interest in Day Surgery. She maintains her nursing links as a member of the National Steering Group for Parish Nursing.
Her commitment to working across denominational and faith boundaries has been highlighted in her work for the British Medical Association in the move to a more inclusive opening to their annual conference following the events of 7/7, and through her work with Rotary International.
The object of the MFGHC is the advancement of multi-faith healthcare chaplaincy in England and Wales. The Group seeks to further this object by facilitating a common understanding and support for healthcare chaplaincy amongst Faith Groups, chaplaincy bodies and users; providing a means of consultation between the Faiths about healthcare chaplaincy; and working in co-operation with healthcare and chaplaincy organisations, bodies and authorities.
In particular, the MFGHC seeks to provide advice to the Department of Health about multi-faith healthcare chaplaincy on behalf of all Faith Groups; to enable those Faith Groups engaged in healthcare chaplaincy to formulate, agree and promulgate policy on healthcare chaplaincy in consultation with other chaplaincy bodies; and to promote the highest quality of healthcare chaplaincy through the development of agreed standards across all Faith Groups and within healthcare organisations.
Full membership of the Multi-Faith Group shall be open to those Faith Groups in the United Kingdom which have agreed to participate as full members of the Multi-Faith Group, and also to chaplaincy bodies which are multi-faith in their purpose, membership, and governance. There are also categories of associate and observer membership
The Multi-Faith Group comprises the members of the nominating bodies for those Faith Groups and Bodies with membership of the Multi-Faith Group.
The Multi-Faith Group undertakes the majority of its work through the Council and the council's sub-groups, currently for Education and for Standards. The Education Committee advises on issues concerned with the education and training of healthcare chaplains and the Standards Committee advises on issues concerned with the setting and maintaining of healthcare chaplaincy standards.
The Council is lead by a Chair, Vice-Chair, Joint Chairs - Educatin Committee and Joint Chairs - Standards Committee. Management and administrative support is provided by a Chief Officer who manages resources on the Council's behalf.
The first Biennial Review (2003-2004) was published at a Review Conference held in London in June 2005.
- Biennial Review 2009-2010
- Biennial Review 2007-2008
- Biennial Review document 2003-2004
- Biennial Review 2005-2006
- Review Conference June 2005