Move over Christians, there’s now a demand for pagan priests to help Wiccans and Druids behind bars.
The British government is now taking out advertisements looking for seven pagan chaplains to minister across the nation.
The part-time job pays the equivalent of up to $40,000 per year.
“This is a chaplaincy job in an establishment which provides pastoral and faith specific care to prisoners and staff,” the ad on the government website says.
“The job holder will provide for the religious care of prisoners and staff in the Pagan faith tradition and appropriate pastoral care for all irrespective of faith or tradition.”
The right person must also “possess the confidence and expertise to lead open ritual, officiate in Rites of Passage, and run workshops for mixed Pagan traditions within the prison system.”
Paganism is a belief system that does not focus on the God of the Bible, but rather a wide variety of heathen traditions including witchcraft and ecology.
Besides Wiccans and Druids, others in the umbrella include Shamans, Heathens, Odinists and Sacred Ecologists.
Some of the listed responsibilities for the chaplain position include:
- Act as faith advisor in the establishment providing advice, pastoral care and spiritual welfare to prisoners, staff and their families as requested
- Facilitate and deliver opportunities for worship study and religious programs
- Provide mentoring and personal support for other chaplains and volunteers including following incidents
- Be part of the provision of available and accessible chaplaincy care at all times
- Plan and lead worship and prayer / faith specific meetings
- Provide pastoral care to prisoners and help to provide support and bring resolution to crisis situations where required
But not all pagans are enthusiastic about the job offer.
Ralph Harrison, director of the Odinist Fellowship, told the Britain’s Daily Telegraph that his group ministers to half a dozen Odinists, who worship Germanic and Nordic gods, in prison separately.
“There is a tendency to lump together historic pagan beliefs with modern traditions and witchcraft-based beliefs, which obviously will help simplify things for the prison services, but is not really in keeping with our religious outlook,” Harrison told the paper.
“We do offer a limited chaplaincy service, or a support service, for a small number of Odinists who are in prison or who have become Odinists while in prison.
“We have concentrated on making sure that they have Odinist literature, especially the Eddas, which are equivalent to the Bible or the Koran which are made available to Christian or Muslim prisoners and are not always available in prisons to Odinists.”