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19 February 2021 | Aged Care

What is Hospital Chaplaincy?

By Hospital Chaplain Cathy Brown

In essence hospital chaplaincy is being a compassionate, listening presence.

Patients may be struggling with fears of dying, remembering past hurts or regrets, worrying about the person/pet/garden at home who they can’t care for whilst in hospital and amongst other things, wondering where God is in their situation.

They may also be celebrating a new birth, recovery from sickness, eagerly anticipating their improved life with a new hip/knee or any one of a multitude of things.

A chaplain needs to approach each person without assumptions, listening for what the patient raises as their significant concern or joy they wish to discuss.

Prayer and talk of God may or may not be part of the visit. However, even in visiting as an LCAQD Chaplain, you are a physical manifestation of where God’s love comes to life.

You show the patient through your listening and compassionate care that God loves them and cares for them.

They are not forgotten or abandoned by the God of their baptism.

God has created us to be in relationship with God and with other people.

Secular research is overwhelmingly affirming that connection with others is essential for good mental health and human flourishing.

I have found the deep connection I have experienced with those in hospital has epitomised these words from St Francis’ prayer: “it is in giving that we receive.” I frequently complete a day of visiting feeling as though I have been ministered to also.

I would encourage anyone who has a passion for hearing other people’s stories and holding those stories with compassion and respect to consider becoming a hospital chaplain.

You may find that you are blessed beyond belief as you walk alongside another in this time of hospitalisation.

Cathy Brown is the Lead Chaplain of LCAQD Volunteer Hospital Chaplains for Lutheran Services. To find out more about hospital chaplaincy please contact her on 3858 3000 or email

Donate to the LCAQD Lutheran Service Lenten appeal – Hospital Chaplains here Hospital Chaplaincy | LCA Donations & Payments.

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