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‘Facing death can be a time of heightened emotion and extreme vulnerability. It is also a space in which sensitive and experienced chaplains can do their best work of connection, compassion and care’, Helen McNicol says.
‘We stay with people as fellow travellers on this path.’
Helen is Assistant Chaplain at Tanunda Lutheran Home in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. She says chaplaincy is about striving to connect in a meaningful, spiritual way. Spiritual care focuses on helping people connect with what is sacred or important to them. It improves the quality of life, supports family, respects religious views and helps to relieve burdens and affirm faith.
‘The spiritual care offered in our chaplaincy role calls upon our deepest resources. It is vital for us to have a deep pool of inner resources … so we have something to give to those in need’, Helen says. ‘Words are not all we have to give in this space. The presence of an understanding and empathic person who is able to walk and to talk as a witness to God’s saving love, and the hope that this brings, is also deeply meaningful.’
Helen says that chaplains are the people who support others, but chaplains too will need support at various points in their lives.
‘We walk as witnesses with one another and, in the end, we are all walking one another home.’
Helen is a recipient of a scholarship provided by the Committee for Ministry with the Ageing funded by a generous grant from the LLL.
For more information about Ministry with the Ageing scholarships, visit www.lca.org.au/ministry-with-ageing
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