What does a Chaplain do at Durham Cathedral?

Chaplains offer support and are someone to share worries with in the cathedral. The cathedral is a place of tranquillity and reflection, where many people escape the bustle of everyday life, in the form of prayer, visits and services.

We asked Margaret Devine, a volunteer chaplain here at Durham Cathedral, what a chaplain does and how they can help members of the public.

How can a chaplain help me?

“Chaplains support people to express their worries and dilemmas, for those with religious beliefs and without. The usual process starts by the guest expressing their worries, and the chaplain supporting them, lighting a candle and offering a prayer. We are “the listening ear” and can lead, support prayer or simply listen, depending on your practice.”

How do I find a chaplain?

“Visitors can find chaplains on the church floor, or ask at the visitor desk, and you can spot them wearing the clerical collar. From 10am daily, we can listen to individuals’ problems in the Nave of the cathedral, or in the Gregory chapel if a more quiet place is preferred.”

How do I talk to a chaplain?

“Appointments are not needed to talk to a chaplain, members of the public can walk through the doors of the cathedral and speak to someone straight away. There is no cost involved in talking to a chaplain, but voluntary donations help support the running and conservation of the cathedral.”

Will my conversation be kept confidential?

“Yes, all conversations with chaplains are confidential, and are not passed on, unless further support is required.”

What is the most important part of being a chaplain?

“Chaplains are the listening ear, always there to talk through someone's worries. I always emphasise that a problem shared is a problem halved.”