Adapting to care home ministry- from a distance
Ministry - but not as we've known it
An Anna Chaplain writes poignantly of how she is gradually helping residents become accustomed to her presence on screen rather than in person:
'Things are slowly moving on in the country, but not so far in care homes, and who knows when that will be..... so we do what we can in the mean time.
I wanted to share with you that I have now conducted three Skype services with the residents of one of the care homes where I am the Anna Chaplain. I am so pleased that this has happened and although it is clearly not the same as before, I believe the residents... and myself.... are getting used to this new, different way of worshipping together.
The number of residents attending is growing, from four to begin with, to nine today, several of them being new to the service being offered.
What is evident for me is the feeling of space and distance between myself and the residents. Hopefully as we persevere with this the distance will begin to feel less.
My other care home is not geared up to offering this type of technology, but I keep in telephone contact with them. Sadly, there were seven deaths early on in the pandemic in this relatively small care home, but thankfully things seem to have stabilised now.
Help for activities coordinator
I was able to encourage the activities coordinator who seems now to be feeling much better about things. We are working together to make gradual improvements to what we offer in the hope that it will slowly begin to resemble what residents have been used to.
I have usually made the altar table a focal point with, in addition to the elements for Home Communion, added flowers, plants and various items relating to the Bible passage, so that if the residents find themselves drifting off as they hear, perhaps, too many words... they at least have something to focus on.
The coordinator asked me for advice on doing this, and as I am not able to do so myself, she will do what she can to offer a point of focus. She is very creative and will, I’m sure, do this really well.
Thank you for your encouragement to me and to all the Anna Chaplains as we continue offering spiritual care at this difficult time.'