AS the same with many of you, I have navigated my way around the corridors of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital many times.
And as I try to concentrate on not getting lost with my appalling sense of direction, I often find myself walking past the doors to the hospital’s Sacred Space.
I often wondered, ‘could anyone just walk in or do you have to have a faith?’
“We welcome anyone,” reassured lead chaplain, the Reverend Susan Hollins.
“Some people come in and pray, and others just want some space to think. The building is detached from the hospital, so it’s very quiet.”
As I glanced around this large and spacious room, which resembles a chapel, I began to see why patients, relatives and staff might find going in there comforting.
It is airy and spacious, and time seems to stand still compared to the busy corridors outside – an ideal place to gather your thoughts.
And it seems a very valuable service for the hospital community.
“I have just ordered a thousand tea-lights,” said Rev Hollins, who has worked at the hospital for two years. “We have just gone through 700 very quickly.”
As well as leading prayers and worship, Rev Hollins and members of the chaplaincy team can often be seen on the wards.
She said: “It’s important to be visible and present. We are here to support people and here to help – to listen very deeply, to help people find their own way through things.”
And it seems that no two days are the same for Rev Hollins – she may be called to a ward to lead prayers for a dying patient or help distraught parents who have lost their baby through stillbirth.
To help the bereaved further, the chaplaincy has also recently launched a bereavement service which runs fortnightly on the second and fourth Wednesday from 10.30am to 12.30pm. While Rev Hollins admits that dealing with death can be “exhausting” she tells me there are happy times such as assisting with weddings and witnessing patients becoming well.
“The best part of the job is being able to help people join the dots. For example, I was called by a prison chaplain to facilitate a prisoner to see a dying relative.
“To be able to be in the right place at the right time is a wonderful thing.”