Nine members of the clergy – from the Church of England, United Reformed and Baptist churches locally – gathered at ellenor Gravesend on Saturday 22 October for an open morning. They were invited by ellenor’s Chaplain, Reverend Elizabeth Chapman, and came to discover what the role of chaplaincy means in a hospice setting and how ellenor provides care to families facing terminal illness.
The visitors also met Kate Barnes from ellenor’s fundraising team, who outlined how people can support the charity, while Revd Liz was joined on the day by three of her team of volunteer chaplains. It was a relaxed event, which included the opportunity for a tour round the hospice building and some networking over tea and cake.
A number of the clergy hadn’t been to ellenor Gravesend before and said: “It was a lovely informative morning, thank you” and “It was important for us to deepen our relationship with ellenor”.
Revd Liz said: “They were interested to hear how we encourage our patients and their families to live their life to the full and create precious memories together. The visit went really well and is another example of us reaching out into the local community. We certainly hope to run further sessions, as well as offering some additional teaching for ministers around working with people at the end of their lives.”
At ellenor, spiritual care is available for anybody and Revd Liz and her group of volunteer chaplains provide support to families about any spiritual matter, regardless of their background or beliefs. They are there to offer a listening ear, as well as to help discuss the big questions about life and death. A key part of the chaplaincy role at ellenor is to provide a place of support for staff, as well as patients and their families.
“My role involves meeting with and supporting patients and their families coping with life limiting illness,” says Revd Liz. “I spend time listening to people and finding out where they are at the present time and enabling them to prepare for the next stage of their journey.”
Read more about spiritual care at ellenor here: www.ellenor.org/spiritual-care