When God calls one to serve in a different way, unexpected doors open revealing where God wants one to minister. This door opened for me in palliative care needs in our local hospital.
I was ordained Deacon on 1st December 2007. My Rector was Reverend David Ruthven who had ministered with our well-loved and always remembered Deacon Reverend Mary Thorn. David encouraged me to become the Honorary Chaplain for Cootamundra Hospital. I served in that capacity until 2011. This allowed me to become a ‘Journey Companion’ in many different circumstances.
Patients in need of prayer or company when suffering illness or distress and others who were diagnosed as palliative became my daily callings, moving from one ward and/or bed to another. I found a ‘passion’ for palliative care and was called often to patients and/or families requesting my presence; a God-given privilege.
In 2011, another unexpected door opened. I was offered the position of Pastoral Care Team Leader for Southern Cross Care Aged Care Facilities in Cootamundra and the nearby town of Harden Murrumburrah.
After prayer and consultation with my Rector Reverend Rob Donald I made the difficult decision to become less involved at the hospital and become a Deacon in the Workplace four days a week.
A new journey experience with the elderly in our local communities and with staff who had never experienced the presence of God in their midst became a huge challenge. ‘Jesus on the Emmaus Road’ (Luke 24:13 – 35) was my ministry focus. I was blessed with the most amazing Christian teams. Together we walked journeys of life experiences with residents and staff.
Reminiscences of Life, Prayer Services and Memorial Services for residents who died were frequent parts of the days/weeks. Residents love someone to come and sit a while with them, listen to their concerns, advocate for their needs and be there when they were palliative.
Born out of the deep and lasting relationships developed, I conducted funerals for residents, staff members and their families.
I resigned/retired in January this year after almost 10 years. Cootamundra SCC Management asked me to stay. I offered instead an Honorary Chaplaincy, which was accepted, and residents are very happy to continue having pastoral/palliative care and prayers each week.
As a Deacon in Christ Church Cootamundra I work collegially with my Rector Reverend Yvonne Gunning, serving in the Traditional Liturgy each second Sunday, as well as assisting in the Contemporary Family Service by leading and praying for parishioners. I am part of the Mainly Music Team and lead Women’s Bible Study and Prayer Meetings.
Since ‘retirement’ I am ministering pastorally in our wider community. Calls are being received for prayer and consultations. ‘I was meant to see you today!’ are familiar words. SCC have asked for a ‘zoom’ prayer service for the Residents.
Future plans or transitions? ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, and I want to follow wherever He leads me, wherever He goes.’