The NRPSN board is open to all suitably qualified and competent non-religious individuals who share the values of network. The board works to deliver against the network’s objectives within the bounds of its constitution.
Our board is made up of seven individuals selected for their expertise and skills. The Chair and Vice Chair are elected in line with the constitution policy by the other board members. The Humanists UK Head of Pastoral Support sits on the board and a dedicated Quality Assurance Officer (QAO) is selected based on expertise and professional background.
The board meets biannually (or more often if necessary) to discuss matters including the current progress of the network, quality assurance considerations, as well as to review our successes and key areas for development.
Chair – Amy Walden
Vice Chair – Lindsay Van Dijk
I obtained my BA and MA in humanist pastoral care at the University of Humanistic Studies (Netherlands) and I am currently following my PhD about the spiritual and pastoral needs of children in hospital. Currently I fulfil the role of lead chaplain at a NHS Trust where I manage and lead the spiritual & pastoral care department.
I additionally provide monthly supervision for accredited humanist pastoral carers in the UK and I am have recently been accredited as humanist celebrant.
I am a member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) and of the British Association for the Person-Centered Approach (BAPCA). I am also an accredited humanist pastoral carer by the NRPSN and by the UK Board of Healthcare Chaplaincy (UKBHC). I am passionate about expanding the profession of humanist pastoral care in the UK and is currently writing a book on the skills of a pastoral carer, which is supported by Humanists UK.
Quality Assurance Officer – David Savage
David was a Trustee of the British Humanist Association (now Humanists UK) with a special interest in Humanist Ceremonies. Seeing the benefits of providing funeral ceremonies in empathy with the non-religious beliefs and values of the bereaved led him to explore the provision of non-religious pastoral care in healthcare, prisons and further education. In 2014, he successfully completed a two-year training course in healthcare ‘chaplaincy’ at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, where he continues to provide non-religious pastoral care to patients and staff. He was appointed the first Head of Pastoral Support at the BHA and is currently the Chair of the Non-Religious Pastoral Care Network.
Earle Kessler was a practicing non religious volunteer chaplain working in an acute mental health unit in the West Country. Now retired, his background is in social work, welfare rights, advocacy, volunteer development and training. He was formerly a Regional Director of the mental health charity Mind.
Despite being a lifelong humanist, it is only in recent years I have really tied my colours to the mast. I find it more positive to declare myself as humanist rather than non-religious – what I am, rather than what I am not.
Easing myself out of a university career, I am genuinely excited to have fallen upon pastoral care and the NRPSN as a channel my energy, skills and expertise – it feels like a good fit. Other experiences that inform my work are residential social work, art therapy, Rape Crisis counselling, community development, and ESOL teaching.
I volunteer on the chaplaincy team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and am NRPSN coordinator for Yorkshire and Humber. This means I am close to the opportunities and challenges in achieving equality under the protected characteristic of religion and belief. I am keen to contribute to the evolution and growth of the Network not just in challenging the status quo, but also in carving out now practice areas and services.
Having recently been invited to join the NRPSN Board I am pleased to have the opportunity to introduce myself.
My wife and I have lived and worked in Milton Keynes for just over 30 years, but now divide our time between Milton Keynes and Northern Ireland.
Since retiring as a special school headteacher I have been working part time as an educational consultant and trainer specialising in providing training for professionals working with children and adults with autism.
I have also been engaged in voluntary community work including chair of governors at a local primary school and as a member of the board of governors at Milton Keynes University Hospital. I am currently a patient representative on the Hospital’s Patient Experience Board and a member of the Hospital’s Learning Disability Group.
I have two adult children, two grandchildren and another on the way! My wider interests include a love of travel, architecture, contemporary art, music and good food. I have a non-religious world view, a perspective that is expressed for me as an active Humanist with a desire to see a better future for all.
Carrie was one of four volunteers who piloted non-religious pastoral support in HMP Winchester in the early 2010s. Along with Amy Walden, she offered support to prisoners and staff in Winchester and asserted the need for non- religious pastoral support in the prison estate.
She spent another stretch supporting inmates and staff in HMPP Pentonville. She has worked with and shadowed chaplains in prisons and in hospitals to learn from and appreciate the provision offered by those with religious beliefs. Since its inception, she has been involved with the development and delivery of the non-religious pastoral support training programme.
Pastoral support is fundamental to her work as a humanist funeral celebrant.
Previously she has worked with women in prison, campaigned and delivered training on mental health issues and been a trustee for the Mental After Care Association (MACA), now Together: working for mental wellbeing.
With a twenty-year career in mental health and wellness in the United States, Asia and the United Kingdom, I came to pastoral support with many useful tools and experiences. Supporting pastoral carers who are supporting people as they move through life’s difficult situations is very important to me.
In addition to volunteering at my local trust within the Chaplaincy department, I hold multiple roles within Research & Development within the NHS.