Hospital Chaplaincy - ministry in the Covid-19 pandemic: Reverend Sonya Ratten

In a series we will be running over the next week, we talk to healthcare chaplains serving the University Hospitals of Leicester and gain a snapshot into their lives and their everyday faith, working under the constraints of coronavirus…

Reverend Sonya Wratten

Although I continue to support patients and relatives as much as I can as a healthcare chaplain based at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, Covid-19 has emphasised for me, the need to support hospital staff at this time.

I have been coordinating a message board with my colleagues ensuring that messages of support from people outside our hospitals are present on the corridors, chapel and prayer rooms so staff can read on a daily basis how much they are valued by the outside world.

My role also includes the simplest of tasks such as creating a place of sanctuary and peace in the chapel that staff can retreat to. I liaise with staff members from other faiths to ensure the prayer rooms are places that can be safely used and staff can find comfort in.

I think many people would say this crisis has encouraged us to care for one another more and prompted us to consider life in greater depth. God is in the midst of this moment in time in our support of one another, in our appreciation and application of scientific knowledge and perhaps also, in the quiet moments in which we recognise our interconnectedness with life itself and glance something of the eternal.

I’m currently balancing working at the LRI as well as writing a research proposal for my doctorate. Like many people at this time, sometimes I feel purposeful and sometimes I recognise my inadequacy living through such a huge global event.

But, I believe in a God who is with us in our vulnerability and that we can be purposeful in our stillness and contemplation as well as in business and action.

I am helped by the words Julian of Norwich, a Christian mystic and theologian who lived through periods of the Black Death in Medieval England. She struggled with questions of life, death, doubt and faith at a time of great anxiety in her world. I look around to see that God is present in our extended compassion for one another and also in our thirst for conversations of deeper meaning.

First published on: 30th April 2020
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