Would you like to bring life to your Humanist values in a professional or volunteer role? Are you interested in being a listening ear for those struggling with life’s challenges? Do you relish the opportunity to engage in community building? If you are passionate about helping others and about advancing secular values, you might be well suited to become a Humanist Chaplain.
To become a Humanist Chaplain you must be a member of Humanist Canada for a minimum of one year, and remain a member in good standing. You must also possess a relevant master’s-level degree or equivalent. Furthermore, you will need to be affiliated with a relevant institution that employs chaplains, either on a paid or volunteer basis.
The Humanist Canada Chaplaincy Committee evaluates applications according to a rigorous set of criteria to establish education and life experiences. Candidates must embody Humanist principles and have highly developed interpersonal, communication, and organization skills.
The requirements are summarized below, but if you are serious about this opportunity, you should become familiar with the official Humanist Chaplaincy Accreditation Program available here. If you already hold relevant a master’s-level degree, the steps are summarized below. If you are still pursuing your education, you can join as a Student Affiliate.
Step 1: Join Humanist Canada
The first step to becoming a Humanist Chaplain is to be a member of Humanist Canada.
If you’re not already a member, you can enrol right here on our website.
Step 2: One Year Period of Self-Assessment and Evaluation
During your first year as a member, you are encouraged to:
- Join a national, regional or local Humanist group and attend their meetings or events; if no group exists in your area, you can start one (it doesn’t have to be a formal group—social groups are fine) or join an online group (e.g. Humanists of Vancouver, Humanist Association of Ottawa, etc.).
- Read about Humanism and determine whether there is a worldview/philosophical fit for you.
- Watch videos or presentations on Humanism or Humanist-related topics on the Humanist Canada website or elsewhere.
- Network with humanists and Chaplains from a wide range of traditions. Discover if this is a career path for you!
Reach out to the Chaplaincy Committee at email@example.com to discuss your interest.
Step 3: Identify Your Desired Institution
Contact your desired institution (e.g. hospital, university, prison, or the Canadian Armed Forces) and determine your eligibility for their Chaplain selection process. Humanist Chaplaincy, which falls outside of traditional faith groups, may be a new concept for some and may not be readily accepted. Humanist Canada will advocate with you to break down potential barriers, but applicants should have the tenacity and will to be a trailblazer.
Step 4: Apply for Humanist Canada Chaplaincy Accreditation
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of our application package. These forms include questions about your interest in Humanism, education, employment, and volunteer work.
When you are ready to submit your application you must pay the $100 application fee via our website, and submit the application package along with substantiating documents (three reference letters and degrees with transcripts) to email@example.com. Once your payment is received, your application will be reviewed by the Chaplaincy Committee.
Step 5: Screening & Independent Study Module
If your application is deemed suitable and all required initial criteria are met, you will be asked to complete Independent Study Module I, which can be done at your own pace and is provided with the initial application package.
Step 6: Interview
If the independent study module is deemed to reflect the work of a suitable potential candidate, you will be invited for an interview, preferably via Zoom.
Two Humanist Chaplains will interview you, one of which is an accredited Chaplain.
If your interview is deemed successful and the entirety of your application is found to meet all the requirements of the Humanist Chaplaincy Accreditation Program, you will be invited to attend Chaplaincy and Officiant training.
Step 7: Training
Training will be scheduled as soon as possible and will consist of a Chaplain Training module and an Officiant Training module, both of which can be attended remotely.
Step 8: Accreditation
Once training is duly completed, the HCCC will issue a Certificate of Accreditation as a Humanist Chaplain.
Step 9: Mentorship
After you receive your Humanist Canada Chaplaincy accreditation, you will be assigned a mentor. Your mentor will be an accredited Humanist Chaplain who has volunteered to help and guide you in your Chaplaincy journey.