Glimpses of Grace Donald Stoesz
Topics in Chaplaincy

Two topics in Chaplaincy that I have recently written about have to do with lawyer and religious studies professor Winnifred Sullivan's contribution to prison chaplaincy (11 pages) and The Role of Theology Regarding the Positive Use of Coercion (17 pages). Both articles are available as a pdf download. 

A Relationship and Co-Dependency Course that I have taught as part of my work in prison is included below.

Winnifred Sullivan's Contribution to Prison Chaplaincy


Winnifred Sullivan’s explanation of prison chaplaincy in terms of webs of authority, sui generis nature of the religious experience, surplus spiritual purpose to obligations of religious accommodation, legalization of spiritual care, ministry of presence, and role of volunteer prison ministries represents a tour de force.  Her multi-faceted religious, social, spiritual, and philosophical analysis ensures the place of chaplains alongside other staff and volunteers for some time to come.

Role of Theology Regarding
the Positive Use of Coercion


The purpose of this paper is to show how various theologies have something to offer regarding the use of coercion. Gordon Kaufman’s theology, the Catholic Catechism’s affirmation of a beatific vision, its reflection on original righteousness, its placement of the Ten Commandments within Life in Christ, Pierre Allard’s vision of reconciliation, and the teleological priorities of the Mission Statement of Correctional Service Canada are outlined in the first half of the paper.

The second half of the paper considers three examples of the positive use of coercion. The paper outlines how the above theological principles provide a  rationale within and beyond the use of force.

Relationship Course

Short Course Description of
Getting the Love You Want,
by Harville Hendrix

16 sessions of 2 hours each,
once-a-week sessions 
watching 3 movies and a graduation.

Harville Hendrix is a marriage therapist who uses Freudian theory and a variety of exercises to help couples work on their marriages. Hendrix believes that a long-term commitment to marriage has a variety of emotional, social, mental, spiritual, and health benefits. He asks couples who come to his weekend workshops to commit to staying in their relationship for three months before deciding to break up. He believes that the couple's willingness to work at their marriage will yield positive results.

Participants are given an assignment every week that is based on the chapter being considered. They answer three to five questions that pertain to themselves, their spouse, their parents, and the status of their relationship. Each participant is asked to analyze their (past) situation so that they can establish a pro-social relationship and/or deepen their current marriage.

The two hour sessions consist of a 30 minute presentation by the facilitator. This talk is followed by an hour and a half of sharing by participants in small groups of 3 - 4. The facilitator rotates through the groups to make sure the discussion stays on track. Discussion of the topics in a larger group is sometimes preferred to meeting in small groups.

Co-Dependency Course

Co-Dependency Course,
Based on Codependent No More,
by Melodie Beattie

12 Sessions of two hours each, once a week 
Two chapters per week, sharing in small groups

 Introduction: Definitions of Co-Dependency

  • Living through another person at the expense of your own life.
  • Putting another person's needs ahead of yourself in order to be liked, accepted, and have a sense of
  • Being pre-occupied with other people's issues.
  • Your happiness is dependent on whether another person is happy.
  • Finding self-esteem through another person's friendship.
  • Being controlled, hooked, and sensitive to what other people think of you.
  • People find it easy to "push" your buttons because they know that you will react easily to what they have to
  • Other people can use you to get things that they want because you are controlled by guilt and shame.
  • Becoming so enmeshed in other people's problems that one "loses oneself” in them.