John Swinton appointed as Queen's chaplain

May 30, 2022
(Courtesy of the University of Aberdeen)

John Swinton, one of Scotland’s most influential theologians, will become one of the Queen of England’s royal chap­lains. Swinton, who was a nurse for 16 years, is currently the chair of divinity and religious studies at the University of Aberdeen, where he has worked to develop a theology of disability.

In a statement, Swinton joked that because, historically, some of the royal chaplains were singers who traveled with the monarch, he—a singer and songwriter—could perhaps revive that aspect of the position.

“But joking aside, I am very much looking forward to representing God and the church in this way,” he said. “In these difficult times the role of chaplaincy and ministry is vital, and it will be a pleasure to be a part of this aspect of God’s work.”

Swinton is perhaps best known for his work in developing a person-centered model of care that takes seriously the role of theology and spirituality in the healing process.

In 2004, he founded the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability. In 2016, his book Dementia: Living in the Memories of God, won the Michael Ramsey Prize for most promising contemporary theological writing.