It was the chance to utilise her skills and experience which inspired Revd Stella Green to come and lead the chaplaincy service at QEH.
After seven years as a chaplain at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital it was just the right opportunity, enabling her to spread her wings a little while remaining within the county she grew up in and loves.
“I’d like to explore the chance to develop a really up-to-date chaplaincy service for the people of King’s Lynn, West Norfolk and all the other areas which the hospital serves,” said Revd Green, who has been with Team QEH as Lead Chaplain since mid-April.
“Having started in church-based ministry, I decided to move into chaplaincy because I wanted to spend less time on administration and more time with people. It’s important for me to be able to be alongside people when they are going through difficult times – accompanying them on their journey and giving them a safe space to deal with an emotional issue or make a difficult decision.”
As part of the fresh look, both the 10.30am Sunday Service and the Bereavement Support Group will be reintroduced in the near future.
Revd Green is keen to emphasise that the chaplaincy service is available to all, including those for whom faith has either very little or no part in their lives. It also acts as a vital support for people, particularly the elderly, who may suddenly find themselves miles away from their family and friends, and feeling anxious or lonely.
“We don’t only do religious care, and we don’t only look after the dying,” she said. “Sometimes people who are admitted to hospital experience fairly life-changing events, such as a change in their lifestyle or the loss of something they have been used to doing. And that can be difficult for people.
“We offer the chance, without preconceptions or judgement, to listen to people, to understand how such an event will affect them, to offer them support and perhaps help them come to terms with what’s happening to them.
“And of course, we’re here to support hard-pressed NHS staff, many of whom selflessly support their patients through distressing events, and who don’t have a lot of time to care for themselves too.”
The service is open to people of any belief or none, and is confidential.
Revd Green, a Church of England minister, was ordained in London 14 years ago but returned to her native Norfolk after her curacy in the capital.
Her team at QEH also comprises part-time chaplain Sandro Dallas, who is non-denominational, and Revd Lee Gilbert, who is a Baptist minister.
Revd Gilbert joined in September last year, having moved to the area from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire with his wife Helen and their six-year-old daughter Sarah.
He too left church-based ministry to pursue chaplaincy.
“I just like listening to people and that’s a fundamental part of the role,” he said.
Mr Dallas has been at QEH for just over a year, having gained a Master’s Degree in pastoral care.
Also chaplain at The Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House, he described his love of the role as: “Supporting people in the most difficult time of their lives and being able to bring some comfort to them.”
Mr Dallas has been working hard to ensure that Team QEH members know that the Chaplaincy service and the Sacred Space are as much for them as they are for patients and their loved ones.
The Sacred Space is on the ground floor at QEH, near the corridor to main reception, and is open day and night as a quiet place where patients, relatives or staff can sit and reflect. The chaplaincy team is available Monday to Friday during office hours and is on-call at weekends.
Main photo caption: From left – Sandro Dallas, Revd Stella Green and Revd Lee Gilbert
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