A service was held at ellenor Gravesend on the afternoon of Friday 20 May to commission Reverend Elizabeth Chapman as the chaplain of ellenor. The service was led by The Right Reverend James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, and attended by a number of other clergy and guests, as well as ellenor staff and volunteers.
At ellenor, spiritual care is available for anybody and Rev Liz and her group of volunteer chaplains provide support to families about any spiritual matter, regardless of their background or beliefs. They are there to offer a listening ear, as well as to help discuss the big questions about life and death.
The patient and family support team at ellenor offers counselling and various therapies, as well as spiritual and emotional care.
“At ellenor we don’t just treat the symptoms of an illness but we care for the whole person,” says Dr Russ Hargreaves, Head of Wellbeing at ellenor. “We know that a terminal diagnosis impacts every aspect of someone’s life – meaning they need care and support to deal with difficult and sometimes confusing emotions and to help them make sense of what is happening to them.”
A key part of the chaplaincy role at ellenor is to provide a place of support for staff, as well as patients and their families.
“Being a chaplain at somewhere like a hospice is about being ready and willing to be a ‘safe pair of ears’ and have those ‘big conversations’ with patients and their families, as well as staff members, in addition to providing specific religious duties if called upon to do so,” said The Bishop of Rochester. “Working at ellenor is very obviously the right shape of ministry for Liz. It was what she was called to do and I wish her well with her role."
Rev Liz has been an ordained Church of England Minister for seven years with three years previous end of life care experience working as chaplain to the Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury, and as part of the chaplaincy team at Maidstone Hospital. She has also served as curate at St Mary Magdalene Church, Gillingham.
Rev Liz originally trained as a nurse and has worked in an ambulance control room, in a bank and for a housing association.
“My role involves meeting with and supporting patients and their families coping with life limiting illness,” says Rev Liz. “I spend time listening to people and finding out where they are at the present time and enabling them to prepare for the next stage of their journey.”
Read more about spiritual care at ellenor here: www.ellenor.org/spiritual-care