Non-Religious Pastoral Care

Humanists consider that everyone needs compassion, particularly when they are facing difficult circumstances. Being able to talk to a like-minded, empathic and non-judgmental person in a confidential way can be enormously beneficial to well-being.

So Humanists UK pioneered the development of a network of non-religious pastoral carers. These carers work alongside chaplains in hospitals, hospices, prisons, universities and other institutions.  Humanists in the network, provide pastoral care in hospitals/hospices, universities and the police. They find the role to be rewarding and fulfilling. Being trusted to support and help someone at a time of difficulty is an enormous privilege.

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Increasingly institutions are realising the need for non-religious pastoral carers as members of what have traditionally been wholly religious teams. Humanist pastoral carers want to respond to this growing demand and, at the same time, help reduce the significant inequality in provision which still exists.


The Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network (NRPSN) offers induction training for people with non-religious beliefs. This training is free to Humanist UK members. The core of the training takes place over a weekend, successful participants become accredited members of the Network, which also provides ongoing support for its members.

As a relatively new Humanist Group Reading does not yet have any members trained as pastoral carers. If you feel that a local hospice, hospital or prison would benefit from the empathic care and humanist values you can bring please contact Simon O’Donoghue on 020 7324 3069 or

To find out more about this work and how you can become one of our accredited pastoral support volunteers please see go to