The gospels are full of stories of Jesus healing those who are sick, and so care for those who are sick and dying has always been an integral part of Christian ministry. Annie Bolger and Neil Brunskill have spent the last four weeks on placement with George Spencer and the Chaplaincy Team at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust.
During our placement together we’ve been fortunate enough to absorb the ministry across the Trust, a ministry which is multilayered in its approach to support patients, families and staff. The role of the Chaplaincy is more than what one initially assumes. There is the journey that Chaplains take alongside those who are sick or dying and who wish to express their faith while they are in hospital. We have had opportunities to walk together with patients and their families.
There are also those who you meet just as you wander the wards. Some who have no faith, and many of different faiths too. Above all these people value the time to talk to somebody who is outside the medical team.
Beside all of this the Chaplaincy is involved in various projects such as bereavement cafes, baby funerals, and nurses inductions, to name just a few. There have been plenty of opportunities for learning while we’ve been here too. We spent a day at the local mosque in Halifax learning about Islamic perspectives on kidney transplants and organ donation. In addition we’ve spent time with various departments in the hospital learning about the amazing work they do, like the palliative care team and the mortuary team. We have loved seeing the exceptional work which brings to the forefront the pastoral and spiritual needs of patients.
On Sundays we have had the joy of worshipping alongside the hospital community. Several volunteers assist with the services in order to help patients attend. We have both had the opportunity to preach and assist at these services. The most rewarding aspect is seeing and hearing the stories of these patients and the value and joy that the service bought to them.
The role of Chaplaincy is unparalleled in the NHS. The care and support chaplains provide for patients is exceptional. For us it has been an honour to play a small part over the past four week in the life of this amazing