The intense, one-on-one spiritual care provided by Anglican health-care chaplains “can be personally fulfilling and challenging, but is also very difficult and stressful,” says the Rev. Dr. Eileen Scully, director of Faith, Worship and Ministry for the Anglican Church of Canada.
The chaplains (both clergy and lay) provide spiritual care, often on call in urgent care centres, rehabilitation hospitals, oncology floors, ICUs, gerontology units and long-term care facilities.
The church has taken great strides in building a network with these chaplains, who often feel isolated, Dr. Scully notes. A poll last year found the group’s top priorities were in strengthening their relationship with the church, sharing experiences around medically assisted dying, and self-care.
The poll findings led to a four-day national consultation attracting 36 participants, who “hailed the gathering” for providing a way for them to meet, and to “share their stories, tears and joys with others in the same ministries,” Dr. Scully says. Integral to the consultation were worship and prayers for healing, and celebration through music—a talent in plentiful supply among the participants.
With 60 members now regularly in touch via email, resources and plans are in place for a second gathering in 2021.