Sunday, 24 January 2010

Visit to the Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex District

We started our visit to the Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex District at Bishop’s Stortford Methodist Church, just a few miles from the District manse where I’d spent the night at the home of the District Chair, Revd Anne Brown and her husband Andrew. The Church is fairly central to this relatively new District, and on Saturday morning it hosted a large number of circuit stewards and others who had been invited to come and meet us.

I spoke a little about the decisions of Conference and reflected again on my theme of “God calls us all”, talking about the importance of lay leadership, how working in teams can give new life to a church and how we should try to overcome any barriers that prevent anyone from fully engaging in the Church and being able to respond to God’s call to them.

David picked up on this theme, reflecting on experiences we had had over the last 7 months, and talking about “Church without walls”. We have both been impressed by the number of Churches we have visited reaching out beyond their walls, as well as the many work-place chaplains who are working well outside our buildings and traditional settings.

We had a good discussion with the circuit stewards who were also able to share their stories and experiences.

The day was to have a theme of team-work as after lunch we travelled to Broomfield Hospital at Chelmsford to visit the chaplaincy team led by Methodist minister Revd Guy Goodall. He leads a team of 5 employed and 95 volunteer chaplains who minister to the staff and patients across the sites of Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust. It is an inter-faith chaplaincy team and Guy reflected on how well they worked together.

They have around 27,000 contacts a year and clearly play an important role in the life of the hospital. This was underlined by the Trust Chief Executive, Graham Ramsay, who told us that despite the financial difficulties facing the NHS at the moment, and the £30 million worth of savings the Trust had to make in the coming year, the hospital would continue to invest in the chaplaincy because of the vital role it played. The fact that the Chief Executive gave us so much of his time confirmed this.

Broomfield Hospital is home to a major regional burns unit and we were able to meet some of the staff working on the unit that are supported by the hospital chaplains. It can be a very distressing job caring for those with serious burns, but there are also major psychological wounds that need healing as well as the physical, not only for the patient but also their relatives. We were impressed by the large team of professionals that were involved in the care of these patients, all having specialist skills and all supporting one another.

The theme of team working continued in to the evening, when Anne Brown graciously gave up her TV to allow us to watch Leeds United continue to triumph against the odds in the FA Cup! They clearly demonstrated what teamwork can achieve, this time achieving a well earned draw against Premiership club Tottenham.

1 comment:

peter_goble said...

A nice visit to Broomfield by these two "rolling stones", who expertly coaxed our awfully busy Chief executive into setting out his plan for the future growth of the Trust. As our CE is a senior surgeon, his explanation was succinct, straightforward, persuasive and - here's the clincher for me as a nurse - 100% in the interests of the health and welfare of the hospital, and eminently practical and strategic. I'd say to the two Holy Rollers, " Visit again"!...and see how the patient is doing. No flowers, though, it's Trust policy.