A NEW chaplain will help to meet the spiritual needs of patients at the Rowans Hospice.
After 14 years, Lance Blake is due to retire as a chaplain from the hospice on Tuesday.
As previously reported, his post at St James’ Hospital was made redundant earlier this month.
He is retiring to a hermitage he has created with his wife Sue in Lincolnshire.
He said: ‘It has been a huge and humbling privilege to work at the hospice.
‘Although it deals with the complexities of end-of-life care, it is paradoxically a very healing place. If you are told you have a terminal illness, it brings the things that really matter into focus.
‘The hospice has formed an important part of my life, for which I am grateful, and now my journey continues in a new place.
‘For me, being active and being contemplative are both vital, and having been very active, I’ll enjoy the chance for some contemplation.’
He is set to be replaced by the Rev Carol Gully, who has just finished working as a chaplain at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.
Earlier this month, Carol joined the hospice in its annual memorial service, and is now working alongside Lance until he steps down.
The chaplain’s role involves providing spiritual and pastoral care to patients of all faiths and their families, both in the hospice and in their own homes.
There is a small chapel in the hospice grounds, which provides a quiet space and hosts informal services, and the chaplain can also offer Communion and prayer at patients’ beds.
Carol said: ‘I’m really excited about this new role.
‘I also feel daunted, but the staff have made me incredibly welcome. To join the team at the cathedral service was a real privilege.
‘It was a packed service and you could sense the emotion, as everyone there had been through a similar sense of bereavement and community.
‘The Rowans Hospice has been described as a family, and I think you see that sense of community when you join the team.’
Carol will continue in her role as assistant curate at St Cuthbert’s Church, in Hayling Avenue, Copnor, leading worship and preaching.
Ruth White, chief executive of the hospice, said: ‘It’s a wonderful opportunity for Carol to build on the spiritual care legacy she has inherited.
‘We very much welcome Carol’s input to further our holistic and multi-faith approach to care in supporting the spiritual needs of all those who are part of our hospice community.’