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PAST216 Current Perspectives on Pastoral Care

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Pastoral care as the caring, nurturing and compassionate work of the church as a whole, increasingly viewed as outward-facing, lay-centred, and attentive to communal, societal and cross-cultural dynamics.

The word 'pastoral' in pastoral care conjures up images of pastors - ministers, priests, clergy. Instead, this paper will present pastoral care as the work of the church as a whole. Thus, this paper will provide opportunities to explore pastoral care as missional, involving all Christians in a variety of settings.

Paper title Current Perspectives on Pastoral Care
Paper code PAST216
Subject Pastoral Studies
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2021 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $913.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,073.40

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36 100-level points
PAST 316
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
May not be credited together with PASX 207 or PASX 307 passed in 2013.
Any student can study Theology, whether they are of the Christian faith, another faith or of no religious faith at all. Theology is an examination of the scriptures, history, content and relevance of the Christian faith, but it presupposes or requires no Christian commitment from students. All it requires is an inquiring mind and an interest in those skills that can be gained through the study of any subject in the Humanities.

Teaching staff

Lecturer: Dr. Lynne Taylor

Paper Structure


  • Introduction to Pastoral Care
  • Theological and Historical Underpinnings of Pastoral Care
  • The 20th Century Pastoral Care Paradigm and its Post-modern Critique
  • Wisdom From Beyond the West
  • Pastoral Care Today, Setting 1: The Congregation
  • Pastoral Care Today, Setting 2: Contexts Beyond the Local Church
  • Pastoral Care Today, Setting 3: An Unjust World


  • Two essays - 30% each
  • One essay - 25%
  • Online discussion - 15%
Teaching Arrangements

Five 1-hour videoconferences and one teaching day via Zoom


Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Course outline
View the course outline for PAST 216
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to

  • Understand the biblical and theological foundations of the church’s ministry of pastoral care. 

  • Grasp the basic elements of the 20th century therapeutic paradigm of pastoral care, and the reasons for its critique. 

  • Have a clear understanding of the late 20th century shift toward the communal- context and intercultural paradigms of pastoral care. 

  • Recognise the core components of today’s congregational setting of pastoral care (lay involvement, pastoral care with families/couples, visitation ministries with the sick, the ageing, the dying and the bereaved). 
 Be aware of key underlying principles and examples of pastoral care in the community setting, including pastoral care with prisoners, the homeless, and the mentally ill. 

  • Understand the basics of what is entailed in intercultural pastoral care, with a particular focus on ministries with immigrants and refugees. 

  • Comprehend the essence of the theological foundations and practical
expressions of pastoral care in the context of global injustice, particularly pastoral care ministries with the poor. 

  • Design a pastoral care programme for your church or community which incorporates relevant insights from your reading and research.

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Not offered in 2021

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system