What chaplains do
Chaplains provide spiritual care, emotional support and religious accommodation to those in need, regardless of faith, community affiliation or none at all.
At poignant moments in life, we may question the meaning and purpose of life, the legacy we will leave or why these events are happening to us. This is the time for spiritual care, which encourages us to talk about our experiences in such a way that it may lead to strengthening bonds with our family, friends, community, God and that which is sacred and meaningful. The Chaplain can help people make that connection, and help them develop their spiritual life.
Sometimes we just need someone to talk to, to share our story, to be heard and affirmed that we are of value and not just a medical condition or case file. Sometimes we need a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, a sounding board to vent against or a hug of reassurance. This is the time for emotional support which encourages individuals to share their feelings in a calm, safe and trusting environment.
For those who have a strong faith connection or see this time at Baycrest as an opportunity to grow in faith or explore faith, chaplains can provide religious support and accommodations that enable the free exercise of religion. As a Jewish faith-based institution, Baycrest offers faith-specific religious care and support, including ritual observance, kashrut (dietary laws) and prayer for those of the Jewish faith within the various expressions of Judaism. Chaplains at Baycrest also facilitate the free exercise of religion for all religious beliefs of faiths other than Judaism, including provision of ritual items, sacred texts and a place for worship. The Spiritual Care Department maintains an on-call list of religious leaders of many faiths who will visit patients desiring specific pastoral care from their faith group.
Chaplaincy focuses on relationships
In a hospital setting such as Baycrest, the Chaplain meets with people who are involved in the experience of illness and aging, including patients, their families, staff, and volunteers, or through outreach and education to the community. Chaplaincy does not necessarily involve religious discussion or the use of religious terms, but rather has a multi-faith thrust with a focus on relationships and counselling, which strives to put people in touch with their faith.
Essentially, the chaplain helps individuals reach a point of satisfaction with their own value system and encourages them to seek peace with their circumstances. The service is offered to anyone, regardless of who they are, what they believe or how they view their life.