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Christian - Free Church

These include Baptist, Church of Christ, Church of the Nazarene,Church of Scotland, Congregational, Free Church of England, Free Evangelical Churches, House Churches, Independent Churches and Missions, Independent Methodist, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterian, Salvation Army, Society of Friends (Quakers), The New Church, United Reformed Church.

As far as possible, ministry will be offered through their own ministers / leaders, but a Free Church Chaplain is available 24 hours a day.

Daily Prayer and Worship

Receiving Holy Communion

There will be a variety of responses dependent upon the patient's normal practice.

Prayer

Members are encouraged to develop their own pattern and discipline of prayer, which includes private devotions and going to church services for public congregational prayer.

In hospital this is not always possible, but staff can respect the patient's desire to find moments of peace for prayer, however brief. Prayer can contribute greatly to the healing process. Chaplains can help people with prayers in a wide variety of circumstances including:

  • Before or after surgery
  • On Sundays or at major festivals (Christmas / Easter)
  • When faced with any major decision, medical or not
  • When the patient's health deteriorates / preparing for death / after death
  • When confronted with bad news, medical or not
  • In bereavement
  • At the time of a funeral the patient would have attended if well enough
  • On anniversaries of family members

Other Sacraments

There will be a variety of responses dependant upon the patient's normal practice. Patients may require a Chaplain to attend in similar circumstances to the Anglican Chaplain who attends:

  • To celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism
  • To offer a Naming and Blessing Ceremony
  • To offer the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick at any time, not necessarily where death is imminent
  • To offer prayers of healing and / or laying on of hands

Holy Books

The Holy Book is the Bible, a combination of scriptures shared with the Jewish faith (Old Testament), and the collection of Gospels and Epistles specific to the Christian faith (New Testament). The Gideons provide Christian scriptures at every bedside (New Testament and Psalms).

Holy Days and Festivals

The Christian Holy Day is Sunday.

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from death. It is preceded by:

  • Holy Week: Seven days starting with Palm Sunday which commemorates the suffering and death of Jesus including:
    • Maundy Thursday (institution of Holy Communion)
    • Good Friday (death of Jesus)
    • Holy Saturday

These days are the culmination of six weeks of penitence, abstinence and self-examination known as Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

Pentecost: Six weeks after Easter, celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit.

All Saints Day: (November 1st) commemorates the faithful departed.

Christmas: celebrates the birth of Jesus. It is preceded by about four weeks of preparation and self-examination known as the Season of Advent.

Diet and Hygiene

There are no specific requirements

Gender Issues

There are no specific denominational issues, but there may be individual preferences. The majority of Christian traditions now ordain both men and women.

Visiting

Members of the chaplaincy team visit wards regularly but will also visit patients and relatives on request. Such visits can be a source of comfort to practising and non-practising patients alike.

Patients talk to Chaplains and members of the visiting team about a range of subjects, not only religious. Spiritual distress can be helped by talking with a Chaplain and the following indications of spiritual distress may help staff to involve a Chaplain appropriately:

  1. Sense of hopelessness / meaninglessness. The patient becomes apathetic or withdrawn.
  2. Intense suffering. The patient asks "Why me?"
  3. Sense of the absence of God / loss of faith / giving up on religion.
  4. Anger towards God / religion / clergy and the church.
  5. Sense of deep-seated guilt or shame.
  6. Unresolved feelings about death.

Birth

In cases where a newborn baby is seriously ill, the parents may wish a Chaplain to be called to bless and name the child in hospital, and / or to offer prayer. Alternatively, the parents may wish for Christening / Baptism of the child.

When a child dies, is stillborn or miscarried, a service of blessing and naming is offered.

Death

As death approaches, the patient or their relatives may ask for a Chaplain, or staff can suggest that a Chaplain visits. The Chaplain will listen and talk, pray as appropriate and, if requested, anoint with oil

If a patient has died, the Chaplain can still say prayers and help other staff with containing the variety of grief reactions which can be expected.

Chaplains

The Free Church Chaplain can be contacted through the duty chaplain on 01274 542200.