Before coming to work with Careworks, I served as a Pastoral Care Co-ordinator in the Health & Hospitals division of Hammond Care. Here I mostly ministered to people experiencing the palliative care journey. Additionally, I led a team of Pastoral Care Co-ordinators situated in three hospitals and three community palliative care services.
The wonderful thing about chaplaincy is the opportunity it gives to walk alongside people as they go through the challenges that life presents. Hearing people’s stories and helping them to discover for themselves the meaning and value of the life they have lived is a big component of chaplaincy in aged care. Chaplains bring to each encounter with another person their presence, empathy, attentive listening and the rare gift of time. As Christian Chaplains we believe that God is always present with us as we sit in company with someone. This is true even if the things being discussed are not ‘spiritual’ or ‘religious’.
Recently a resident confided to me that she was disturbed by anger she felt towards God. As we talked at length later this dear lady told me she had lost all power in her legs and was now confined to a wheelchair. This was a great loss to her as she had previously enjoyed an active life and loved being able to move about freely and relate to others. She was experiencing the grief of this significant loss, was feeling angry about this, and was directing her anger at God whom she felt should have shielded her from this suffering. She was helped by my taking time to listen to her without judging her emotional response. We talked about how we, even when we have faith in God, are not shielded from loss and grief in this life. And she came to understand that God remains faithful in the midst of all our life experiences. She was then able to move through her anger which had created a large barrier between her and her Heavenly Father. The next time we met she excitedly shared with me that after our conversation and prayer the anger had dissipated and now she was free to pray and enter again into a relationship with God.
Astrid, Fiona and I each have our separate areas of responsibility at Pendle Hill. However, when someone has an immediate need for chaplaincy support whichever one of us is available at the time will seek to meet that need. Now with chaplaincy coverage for the residential units, retirement living and community clients receiving home care, we are able to far better meet the spiritual needs of the wide range of people who access Living Care services. As we grow and pray together as a small team we believe we will see our Heavenly Father do wonderful things in the lives of those for whom we seek to contribute to their spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
Senior Chaplain – Pendle Hill