Kirkwood, Neville A. 1927-

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KIRKWOOD, Neville A. 1927-


Born September 17, 1927; son of Harold Roy and Rose Alice (Dyer) Kirkwood; married Beryl May Peterson (divorced, 1992); married Vera Martha Duhs, June 15, 1995; children: Narelle Jennifer Kirkwood Bertling, Ian Peter, Dale Clynton, Sheryl Leigh Kirkwood Devine. Ethnicity: "Anglo/Celtic." Education: Queensland Baptist College, diploma in theology, 1952; Melbourne College of Divinity, L.Th., 1953, Dip.P.S., 1976; San Francisco Theological Seminary, D.Min., 1987. Politics: Conservative. Religion: Christian. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, reading, research.


Home—25 Sixth Ave., Woorim 4507, Queensland, Australia. E-mail—[email protected]


Ordained Baptist minister, 1951; Baptist Young Men's Missionary League, Queensland, Australia, foundation secretary, 1950-52; Australian Baptist Missionary Society, field secretary in East Pakistan and India, 1952-69, member of board of directors and executive member of Central Committee, 1970-80; Baptist Union of New South Wales, Australia, parish minister, 1970-77, senior chaplain at hospitals in Sydney and Gosford, New South Wales, Australia, 1977-93; writer and researcher, 1993—. North East India Christian Council, convenor of Economic Life Committee, 1961-68, member of executive board; director of a relief and rehabilitation program for refugees in the Garo Hills and Goalpara districts of Assam, India, 1964-65; Union Christian College, Assam, India, board member, 1964-69; Bengali Missionary Language School, board member, 1967-69; National Christian Council of India, member of Central Committee for Economic Life. Manly Youth Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, chair, 1971-74; Baptist Chaplaincy Care Service for New South Wales, foundation secretary, 1977-84; Civil Chaplaincies Advisory Committee of New South Wales, member, 1977-93, chair, 1990-93; Academy for Chaplaincy and Community Services, member of management board and lecturer. Lecturer at Kuringai College of Advanced Education and Milperra College of Advanced Education (both now universities) and at colleges for nursing education. Fresh Start (divorce recovery program), director and board member, 1994-99.


Australian College of Chaplains (honorary life member; formation and foundation secretary, 1985-89; president, 1991-93), National Association of Loss and Grief (foundation member for New South Wales and member of executive board, 1980-93), Palliative Care Association of New South Wales (foundation member).


Award for Australian Christian book of the year, Australian Christian Literature Society, 1996, for Pastoral Care in Hospitals.


Hospital Handbook on Multiculturalism and Religion, Millennium Press (Australia), 1993, Morehouse Publishing (Harrisburg, PA), 1998.

Pastoral Care in Hospitals, Millennium Press (Australia), 1995, Morehouse Publishing (Harrisburg, PA), 1998.

Independent India's Troubled Northeast, 1952-1969, Griffith University Press (Nathan, Queensland, Australia), 1996.

Pastoral Care to Muslims: Building Bridges, Haworth Press (Hazleton, PA), 2002.

Author of the booklets "Prayers for the Hospitalised" and "A Child's Questions about Death." Contributor to periodicals.


Where Is God? Confronting Illness and Dying; Just Who Is God? An Objective Enquiry; Recognising Shame's Companions: Hurtful and Harmful; research on personality disorders.


Neville A. Kirkwood told CA: "As one who has spent all his working life involved with and caring for people in the Third World as well as the First, I have endeavored to equip myself to be sensitive, understanding, and positive in my dealings with hurting people. To hone my skills in pastoral care and counseling has been an imperative priority. Ministry to several thousand dying people and their families has enabled me to appreciate the trauma and emotions experienced by the dying and the grieving.

"It is wrong to consider oneself to be a one-man band. Therefore it is necessary to impart knowledge and skills so that the empathetic caring role may be undertaken efficiently by as many as possible. Hence, my involvement in loss, bereavement, and death education (divorcees are among the bereaved) and pastoral care training became a priority, alongside and in tandem with my hospital and community ministries. My experience of seventeen years living in Asia equipped me to face such issues in a multicultural setting.

"Just prior to my retirement I was able to start on my first two books. The first, Hospital Handbook on Multiculturalism and Religion, sets out to assist hospital staff in understanding the special requirements of patients from various faith groups. The number of requests that the Civil Chaplaincies Advisory Committee was receiving about the needs of migrant settlers who were patients stirred up the motivation for this. As convenor of the health services subcommittee, I had nothing to pass on to them. This was my initial inspiration.

"My second book was the result of my lectures to students in the pastoral care training programs that I ran. Pastoral Care in Hospitals consists of my lecture material put into readable form. It is consequently used in many pastoral training programs in both Australia and North America.

"My third book was prepared as a result of the invitation of Griffith University to contribute to their 'Australians in Asia' series. Independent India's Troubled Northeast, 1952-1969 is a record of my involvement in and appraisal of the situation there during a very difficult period just after independence.

"After being awarded my doctorate of ministry, it was my desire to put the results of my research into print for wider use. At the time it was realized that there would be possibly 100 people in Australia who would be interested in it; it was not a worthwhile proposition. When my first two books took off in North America and my name was becoming known in pastoral care circles overseas, the decision was made to produce Pastoral Care to Muslims: Building Bridges. After about fifteen rejections from normal Christian publishers who saw the proposal and manuscript, Haworth Press quickly saw its value and accepted it. The present anti-Muslim feeling in the West has perhaps reduced the forecasted book sales.

"A suggestion was once made that I contribute a one-page devotional on facing death for a publication. When it was produced it did not meet the needs of the organization. However, it set my mind in motion, which resulted in a manuscript titled Where Is God? Confronting Illness and Dying. This consists of forty-four vignettes using reflections from Job and thirty from Luke's gospel with contemporary illustrations in each. The purpose was to be able to put them in the hands of the terminally ill and their relatives. Each vignette was made only one short page so that, with the patients' limited concentration ability, it would be possible for them to read one or two at a time to receive some comfort and perhaps relieve some of their perplexities. So far the Christian publishers I have tried have not shown interest. Others who have seen the manuscript comment that it is well written and would be helpful in filling a great need.

"My contact with people of most religious persuasions has made me realize just how little each group knows about the others. Most harbor falsehoods and fantasies about others' beliefs. The manuscript Just Who Is God? An Objective Enquiry was written to fill the need for ordinary people to understand what others believe about God and man's relationship to God. The Anglican primate of Australia wrote the foreword, and the book's contents have been perused by scholars from other religions.

"In my dealing with people for over fifty years I have observed that events in people's lives often fill them with shame. This shame can stir up emotions already simmering or attract others to this shame. A combination of shame and other strong emotions can lead to some horrendous situations, such as suicide, or else it can have positive results. I have identified a number of combinations and their possible consequences and illustrated them with case histories. The manuscript, Recognising Shame's Companions: Hurtful and Harmful is intended to assist troubled folk to seek help to relieve their tormented minds.

"Being involved with divorce recovery programs has made it possible for me to perceive that many marital breakdowns may be credited to personality disorders in one or both partners. The number of people presenting with personality disorders is increasing. I believe that this is due in large measure to one-parent families or both parents working. In such circumstances children are not getting balanced parenting. Personality disorders develop from birth through childhood years because of trauma and lack of filial affection. Such children may have to endure separation and fear anxieties. Current research is being undertaken to set out the problem in a popular readable form.

"All of my research, experience, and writing are used to fill needs in the lives of hurting people. My motivation stems from seeing these people groping around and often refusing professional help and denying they have a problem.

"I have found as an author that it does not pay to be discouraged by rejections. Publishers are restricted to their own forecast of sales and budgets with certain time frameworks. There often is an editor who can see the value in a manuscript and be prepared to take the risk."

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Kirkwood, Neville A. 1927-

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