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24 February 2023 | Chaplaincy

Hospital visits crucial to recovery – Lenten Appeal 2023

Hospital visit

When Dell Sippel packed for her stay in hospital, she never expected a nine month stay. 

So when the friendly face of Lutheran Hospital Chaplain Graeme Huf appeared at her hospital door, the visit was more than welcome. 

“I left the farm and within two days I was admitted into the Mater Private. I had to adjust so quickly,” she said. 

The year was 2005 and Dell was delivered a shock diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma . Dell and husband Wayne are members at Peace Lutheran Church, Gatton. 

“It is worth noting that it was such a sudden diagnoses. We were at the end of a 10-year drought, we were struggling. We owned an irrigation farm and within a few days we had to organise workers to keep what was left, growing on our Lockyer Valley farm,” she said.  

“(After about a week in hospital) Mr Huf knocked on the door and asked if I’d like a visit. It was really welcome! 

“Thereafter every Thursday he would pop in and we would chat and he would do a bible reading for me. He was never intrusive, the chat was great. If I ever needed to talk something over, something serious, he was there to listen.” 

Lutheran hospital chaplaincy ministry is run by Lutheran Services for the LCAQD. Unlike some other states, chaplaincy in hospitals receive no financial support from Queensland Health.

The important work is supported by Lenten Appeal donations.

Donations go towards the ongoing training and support of chaplains in any Queensland hospital where we have Lutheran volunteers.

There are ten volunteer Lutheran Hospital Chaplains in service in various south-east Queensland hospitals. 

Because of Dell’s chemotherapy treatment, it was often difficult to have visitors. 

“It’s like you’re on a merry go-round away from family, friends and support networks,” she said. 

“The rigid schedule of the chemo meant visitors had to be limited, it was very restrictive. Often, the only person who could visit was Mr Huf. I don’t think I would have made it through those nine months without those Chaplain visits.” 

With her ill health firmly in the rear-view mirror, Dell has some thoughts on the reassuring Hospital Chaplain visits.  

“I think what made the Chaplain’s approach so successful is that he stood for my church, as a representative of God, a friend and community. The conversations we had were never intrusive, they were just comforting.  

“It was unknown how long I was going to stay there. Imagine if I’d said ‘no thanks’ to that first visit, or if someone wasn’t available, I would never have had that support and comfort. For me it was perfect, the perfect person to come and see me and it proved crucial to my spiritual and psychological wellbeing. 

“Great is thy faithfulness Lord unto me!” (Lamentations 3: 22-23) 

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