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Chaplaincy in hospitals

Health chaplaincy photo shoot

Anglicare hospital chaplains generally work as a team with chaplains of other denominations and faiths.

They are available to support you and your loved ones during times of sickness or recuperation. And support the staff as they care for patients.

Marueen and Hayley

Maureen* went to the emergency department with abdominal pain, after the doctors examined her, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The day she received her diagnosis, she went to the chapel to pray. Maureen picked up a Gospel of John booklet, and the next day she came back to talk with Anglicare chaplain, Hayley*.

Maureen's diagnosis brought up lots of grief, especially her hope of living a quiet life in her tiny flat and garden. She began regularly visiting Hayley during her admission at hospital. Together they would drink tea and talk about the people God had placed in her life. Hayley came to realise that she was taking her place in a long line of people that Maureen had sought out when life was tough, or she needed Christian encouragement. Hayley was honoured that she was one of the people God had chosen to be a part of Maureen’s journey.

Patrick and Ling

Patrick* is a 57-year-old man, who was admitted to hospital with kidney failure and needed to go onto dialysis. Ling*, the Anglicare chaplain, was asked to visit him as he was very distressed. When she talked with Patrick, she learned that he lived alone, and because of an intellectual disability, he was on the NDIS. What he was most distressed about was not his illness or the dialysis, but that he’d just been told his 15-year-old cat had died of a heart attack while he was in the hospital.

Patrick was inconsolable at first, and when asked what had helped him in the past when he was very sad, he said his mother used to read to him.

Together, Ling and Patrick read the Bible together. Ling also gave him a book about grieving the loss of a pet with instructions of how to make a memory box, to save all the beautiful memories of his cat. They read both books, on many occasions, talking about grief, planning the memory box and about what might go into it. Together, they remembered God’s love and comfort.

James and Ana

Anglicare Chaplain, Ana*, was home one evening when she got an unusual phone call. The person on the line said, “I’m the ICU nurse and there’s a gentleman here in his mid-60s who’s had a heart transplant with lots of complications. Now he has COVID. He’s currently on oxygen but has asked to be taken off all interventions tonight as he has had enough”.

Ana soon found out that this man, James*, was actually at a hospital she no longer worked at. Still, she offered to speak with him over the phone. In the moments before the call, the Lord put three verses on her heart – Psalm 130, John 14:1-3 and Revelation 21:1-5.

Ana introduced herself to James over the phone. James responded with something she didn’t quite understand, and it was clear that he

was out of breath. She knew that she needed to ask James simple “yes” or “no” questions. Ana asked, “Are you a Christian James? Can I read you three Bible passages?”

“Yes,” he replied.

Ana read the first passage, personalising it to James. “O James, put your hope in the Lord, for the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem you from all your sins.”

She asked if James believed that Jesus had forgiven his sins.

“Yes,” he responded.

Ana read the next passage and told James that he was not alone and that the Lord Jesus would take him to be where he is. She asked James if he believed this.

“Yes,” he said.

Turning to the final passage, Ana read from Revelation assuring James that the place he would go was one where all his tears would be wiped away and there would be no more death or mourning or sickness or pain.

Ana finished by praying for James, saying that though they had never met face-to-face, they would meet each other one day.


*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

Anglicare acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the original and ongoing custodians of the lands and waters on which we live and work.

Inspired by the gospel of reconciliation in Jesus Christ, Anglicare's vision for reconciliation is a nation in which Australia's First Peoples are restored in dignity, respect, empowerment and opportunity.