Rev. Scott MacIsaac has been appointed to Canada’s Interfaith Committee on Chaplaincy (IFC). He is the national representative of community chaplains on the ecumenical interfaith agency. The group represents all chaplains working within the criminal justice system of Canada. MacIsaac is also is the current president of the Maritime Area of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada and is involved in the leadership of a new church plant in Prince Edward Island.
The role of the IFC is to encourage committed religous leaders to participate in providing chaplaincy services within Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) institutions and in the community setting.
MacIsaac brings to his new role more than a decade of experience in chaplaincy. He is currently the provincial chaplain with Island Chaplaincy (IC), a non-profit ecumenical organization. Island IC has worked inside the Island’s correctional centers for almost 30 years and is the community chaplaincy designated by the Correctional Service of Canada. It works with male and female offenders and ex-offenders across the Island.
An important goal of the IFC is to stimulate involvement by churches and other faith communities in correctional ministry by promoting education and awareness of the needs of inmates, ex-inmates, victims, staff and families. The IFC also meets with senior CSC managers to encourage them to maintain a high standard of spiritual care services in their institutions and in the community.
In relecting upon significant changes in correctional services and criminal justice in Canada, MacIsaac feesl that those changes have radically impacted on how chaplains deliver their spiritual and religious services.
“Often, the community chaplain is the most vital link between the offender and the community when that person leaves prison,” he said, adding that it’s a pivotal time for chaplaincy and that he’s enthused about contributing to the IFC.
“The work of community chaplains, even though it differs from province to province, deals with many of the same realities across the country,” he said.
Among the common challenges, MacIsaac lists new laws, increased social needs and the role of churches in restorative justice.
“The interfaith committee on chaplaincy responds to all of those issues,” says MacIsaac.
“I look forward to the challenge.”