Anna Chaplaincy network member in Harborne, Birmingham, Catriona Foster has found a simple way of reaching out to residential homes in the coronavirus crisis:
'In the current situation of residents in care homes not being able to receive visitors, I have been keen to provide a few simple resources which care home staff can use with individual residents. Staff may be well-trained to meet a resident’s physical care needs but may feel ill-equipped to attend to spiritual needs, and many may not even give thought to this.
'So I have printed out some Bible verses and prayers on to card and laminated (and sanitised) these before sending them to some of the care homes where we have links. These include some verses and prayers which can be used when someone is at end of life.
'They are given with an accompanying letter explaining that they could be used by staff with individual residents as and when appropriate.
'In one of our local care homes where we have strong links, the manager is a Christian and I offered to produce other laminated cards with a simple prayer which could be said, perhaps daily, by the staff, for example:
Lord God, we thank you that you have promised to be with us always.
Thank you for your love and care to each one of us and to all our residents.
We pray for your protection on us and on them today.
Please keep us well and keep us from worry and fear.
We pray for your blessing of peace and joy to be in this house today. Amen
'Further copies of a similar prayer are for the residents, with the suggestion that they are handed out and the residents are led daily in saying together ‘their’ special communal prayer.
These have been well received by the manager. She prays for her residents and staff regularly and is doing a fantastic job to encourage them all at this difficult time. The prayer cards simply provide her with a resource which she wouldn’t have had time to do herself.'
Catriona Foster is the Pastor for Older People at St John's Church, Harborne, Birmingham.