Atheist Appointed 'Head Chaplain' at Hospital

(Wikimedia Commons/Francis Tyers)

A regional section of the U.K.'s National Health Service has appointed an atheist as the head of its hospital chaplaincy service. Lindsay van Dijk will lead a team of three Christian chaplains along with a wider volunteer base, including a Catholic nun, a Buddhist and a Bahá'í, at the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS trust.

"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," Van Dijk, who identifies as a "humanist," told the Guardian. She insisted that both staff and volunteers have been hugely supportive of her appointment.

"There has been no hostility," she added.

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