New Perspectives: A Quiet Strength – Rev. Heather McCarrel

When visitors couldn’t visit; the Chaplains did.  When the nurses, Doctors and all other clinical staff were run off their feet; so were the chaplains. When working meant donning goggles, N-95 masks, face shields, gloves, and gowns the Chaplains dutifully did so.  When the paid hours were completed but need for visiting continued; the Chaplains remained.

It isn’t the hours of training, most having completed 1800 clinical hours and years of post-graduate studies, which set Chaplains apart.  It is their quiet yet humble presence that speaks the loudest.  They are the ones who pull up a chair and sit by the beds of the dying, ill, or scared, gently crafting meaning, peace and companionship. They are the ones who step in when all others have left.

To listen deeply to the needs of others; listening not only for what is spoken but for that which is left unspoken takes time, patience and a trained ear.  To understand the importance of stillness, quietude and presence is to know that healing happens in various and unseen ways.

There is a gross miscalculation of the necessity for Chaplains by many in positions of authority in healthcare settings today.  We know this to be true with the elimination of most Chaplain Positions across Grey-Bruce.  These cuts happened without any conversation, consultation or public awareness.  Some healthcare settings eliminated Chaplains entirely while others have kept Chaplains with just enough hours to fringe on tokenism; fulfilling minimum Accreditation requirements.

If you have ever been blessed by the presence and care of a Chaplain in a local healthcare setting, then offer a prayer of gratitude for what they offered.  It has been a difficult time for local Chaplains and all prayers would be appreciated.