John Templeton Foundation

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John Swinton, professor in practical theology and pastoral care at the University of Aberdeen, is an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland who for more than a decade worked as a registered nurse specializing in psychiatry and learning disabilities. He also has been a hospital chaplain. Trained in nursing at the Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen, Dr. Swinton began his career as a staff nurse at Woodlands Hospital, Aberdeen, in 1983 and became charge nurse two years later. He undertook studies in divinity at Aberdeen University in 1990, earning his bachelor’s degree with first class honors in 1994 and his Ph.D. in 1997. Appointed a lecturer in practical theology first at the University of Glasgow and then at Aberdeen, he was named to his present position in 2003. He also serves as an honorary professor and researcher at Aberdeen’s Centre for Advanced Studies in Nursing. In 2004, he founded the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability. His work, which has a dual focus on the relationship between spirituality and health and the theology of disability, has been funded by the British Academy, the John Templeton Foundation, the Scottish Executive, the Mental Health Foundation, and the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (FPLD). His published research reports for the FPLD, entitled A Space to Listen (2000) and Why Are We Here? (2004), examine the meaning of spirituality in the lives of cognitively impaired persons. The founding editor of the Scottish Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy and the former editor of Contact: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Pastoral Studies, Dr. Swinton continues to serve on the editorial board of both journals, as well as on the boards of the American Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, the Journal of Religion, Disability and Health, and The Oates Journal. He has published widely in his major fields of interest, and he edited Critical Reflections on Stanley Hauerwas’ Essays on Disability: Disabling Society, Enabling Theology (2004). Among his other books are Resurrecting the Person: Friendship and the Care of People with Mental Health Problems (2000), Spirituality in Mental Health Care: Rediscovering a “Forgotten” Dimension (2001), and (with Harriet Mowat) Practical Theology and Qualitative Research: Seeking Truth in the World (2006). His most recent books are Raging With Compassion: Pastoral Responses to the Problem of Evil, which was published in January by Wm. B. Eerdmans, and two new volumes he has edited (with Brian Brock), Theology, Disability and the New Genetics: Why Science Needs the Church, which will be published later this year by T & T Clark, and the forthcoming Disability in the Christian Tradition: A Reader.