The worldwide support network for non-religious chaplains

What is a humanist chaplain?

Humanism is the belief that you can lead a good life without god. It is the belief that we only have one life and that we should make the most of it, for ourselves and for our fellow human beings. Humanists make sense of the world by means of reason and evidence while rejecting superstition. Humanists have a positive outlook on life, guided by rational thought and focus on the importance of human cooperation and compassion for solving problems.

A Humanist Chaplain provides pastoral care based on Humanist principles. The Humanist Chaplain gives information, advice, and consultation about existential questions.

What is a humanist chaplain for?

Typically, a Humanist Chaplain works within an organisation, and within that organisation provides a Humanist perspective for those who want it. That can be anybody who just wants a friendly chat, education about Humanism, or discuss more difficult issues.

We believe that a Humanist Chaplain can increase the well being of individuals, but we would like to stress that a Humanist Chaplain - or any chaplain for that matter - are not health care professionals or professional counsellors. If you require counselling or help with mental health issues you should contact a health professional.

Who coordinates the network?

Gijsbert Stoet Dr. Gijsbert Stoet is originally from the Netherlands, where he grew up and studied for his undergraduate degree in Psychology. His first name matches the English equivalent Gilbert.

He received his summa cum laude doctoral degree in Psychology at the Munich Ludwig-Maximilians-University, was awarded the prestigious Otto-Hahn Medal for his work, and has published numerous articles about his research in psychology and neuroscience.

Dr. Stoet has lived and travelled in many countries, and he is familiar with cultural traditions of both the West and East. He is passionate about studying and understanding human nature, and has worked at a number of renowned research institutions and universities. At present, he works at the University of Leeds. At this university, he chairs the Ethics Committee of the Institute of Psychological Sciences, and he is member of a number of committees, including the University of Leeds Equality and Diversity committee. Last, but not least, he serves the university as a Humanist Chaplain.

Dr. Stoet is active in local Humanist, atheist, and secular groups, and serves as director and trustee on the Chris Worfolk Foundation, a Leeds based Humanist charity. He is also a member of the Chaplaincy Working Group of the British Humanist Association.


Download "About HCN" information booklet (PDF)