The title of ‘The Chaplaincy’ at UHNM has recently been changed to SPARC to reflect the wider brief that it has fulfilled for a long time which is…
“To give Spiritual, Pastoral And Religious Care to patients, their visitors and staff, whether they have or do not have a particular faith.”
Following this change a training day was held last month at Christ Church Centre, which is ideally situated being midway between Royal Stoke and County Hospitals. This was attended by about 30 of the team volunteers.
I found the time to be very worthwhile. We had expert input from a Palliative Care Consultant, reflected on the most appropriate response to different scenarios we might encounter in our work as well as other input and discussion. It was also good to be able to talk with other volunteers during the breaks.
As you might imagine certain elements are common to all visits (listening to what is said, not said and offering to pray) but also every visit is different because each person has their own circumstances, needs, anxieties, hopes and fears to which we aim to respond in the best possible way.
Let me give you examples of some of the situations I have encountered over the last few weeks by quoting a phrase from a number of different conversations…
“Can I pray in tongues while you pray for me?”
“I was homeless until six months ago and am just getting on my feet now”
“Can I come and stay at your house tonight because I’ve nowhere to go?” (Not correct, by the way!)
“Do you know the gospel inside out?”
As volunteers we certainly need the wisdom of God to help us as we come into such varied situations during our time at the hospitals.