Monthly Meeting – Tuesday 10th November 2015 Talk by Rev Maria Hooper (retired) - "Hospital Chaplaincy"

Rev Maria Hooper (retired) - Hospital Chaplain for 13 years gave us a real insight into her work at Winchester Hospital as well as at Andover and Basingstoke.

She explained the word "hospital" came from the word "hospice" meaning to care for people in pain, and the word "chaplain" from the word "cloak", to share support to people in need. The work involves visiting the sick on wards, to listen, deal with relatives of the bereaved, conducting bedside services, and sometimes dealing with staff under pressure.

The services in the hospital chapel are multi faith by law.

Maria carried a bleeper and 2 mobile phones, being continually contacted to attend something, e.g. to baptise a baby, posssibly in theatre. She also conducted a wedding arranged in only 2 hours as the bride was so ill. A cake was made by the chef and a Bishop came to do confirmation. Even a bed for the bride and groom was put in place. So much was done but unfortunately the lady died 2 days later. She baptised a baby weighing 2lbs at 3 am but he is alive today, 8 years old. Other duties were to deal with overseas staff with language and cultural problems. She didn't always enjoy her work but felt priviledged to do the job.

To qualify, one must be ordained and be a health care professional. Maria was a United Reformed Church Minister. There is a shortage of Hospital Chaplains at present. It certainly involves much work and very emotional.



Hazel Booth