I am afraid I can only offer an update from a distance because I am working from home as an assistant chaplain at Kingston Hospital. In happier days I work on site for 20 hours a week – my main responsibilities being the coordination of the “on call” chaplains and the chaplaincy volunteers as well as covering and supporting the lead chaplain in planning, teaching, strategy etc. I focus particularly on bereavement and supporting those at the end of life.
Fortunately, the Chaplaincy has 3 younger chaplains who are maintaining on “on-site” presence every day and the five “on call” who cover the nights do this by telephone – as you can imagine this is really quite challenging.
Kingston Hospital were very quick at responding to this pandemic and in the early weeks of lockdown the Hospital was very much geared to the Covid situation. This involved teams of doctors, nurses and support staff needing PPE much of the time and working round the clock to care for those who were affected by the virus. This was really gruelling work. There was a need to keep the footfall of the Hospital at a minimum to prevent the further transmission of the virus. Some departments were closed down and staff either worked from home (and over the telephone) or were transferred to the areas that needed more staff. My “on site” colleagues spent time in their PPE in intensive care or Covid wards.
Kingston was part of the South West London region – where there was significant combined planning and communication. The Chief Executive gave a daily bulletin on video and often had videoed conversations with key people throughout the Hospital. This was an excellent way of keeping in touch with everyone and allowing people to feel really connected. The boroughs of Kingston and Richmond accounted for far fewer deaths and infected patients than the other areas in the South west region.
At present there are very few patients in Intensive Care and the other wards are moving back towards their original specialisms and the Emergency Department which saw a huge slump in attendance is now have a more normal attendance. It is also now possible in some circumstances for a relative to be allowed on the ward to visit a family member at the end of life – often with the support of chaplaincy and followed up by the “on call” chaplains. We have managed to produce a monthly newsletter and regular phone calls to keep connected to our volunteers and we have been involved in a variety of funerals, with all the challenges and constraints that need to be in place.
Along with a huge number of other people I have felt very unsettled over the last weeks and finding working from home very difficult. I need to pay tribute to all the front line staff (chaplaincy included) who have worked fearlessly, professionally and compassionately over this pandemic and also to thank my colleagues who are working from home as well and all those in our families and communities who pray regularly for all our Hospitals and Care Homes. Kingston Hospital will remain on full alert for several more weeks but there is a gradual move back to the normal life of the hospital and there is an attempt to begin to face the backlog of thousands of missed operations and appointments.
But everyone has to really vigilant. It is very probable that with the necessity of social distancing I may not be back on-site til 2021 – there is no going backwards – much has been learnt about infection control – and how hospital staff can reform to face the complexities of a very dangerous virus which affects us all. I hope to update you again in a few months.
I hope you all remain well and in good spirits – please keep Kingston Hospital in your thoughts and prayers
The Revd Judith Roberts (Rev), Kingston Hospital chaplain and Associate priest at St. Michael’s Barnes
our Area Dean writes:
This current situation is serious, and I am sure that we are all responding as best we can, locally. Let’s be faithful in prayer for each other, and share across the deanery our joys and our sorrows.
Let’s use the media at our disposal to share our prayers, our concerns and our good practice. And let us rejoice in our God who loves eternally, heals and comforts our bodies and our souls and sends his Spirit to inspire in us creative and practical ways to demonstrate her presence in the world.
However we worship and pray together over the coming weeks and months, we start with the recognition that God is with us and binding us together, wherever we are, whatever we are doing, and whatever is going on. Christ’s Church will continue to gather, and Christ’s love will be shown in acts of generosity and care to those who live around us.
Say the Lord’s Prayer Twice Daily
It is so important in these difficult times that we are there to offer hope in the face of fear. As we hold onto hope whilst facing reality, I want to invite you to pray together for our nation and for all those affected by the coronavirus at 1pm each day. Please pause in whatever you are doing and say the Lord’s Prayer and again at 7pm. Where it is safe to do so perhaps you could light a candle in your window each evening as a symbol of Christ’s light in our world at this dark time.
The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun
Click here for some liturgy and prayer resources from the Church of England.
Online Resources to Help You and Your Children Worship at Home
Junior Church Online at St Anne’s Kew
St Anne’s have recognised that school closures, restrictions on travel and new work patterns will be causing real challenges for those who care for children. Wanting to support families, St Anne’s are aiming to provide Junior Church online! The new Junior Church YouTube Channel will share a Bible story, message, activity and prayer each week for families to watch together. Participating families can sign up for an email containing a suggested activity or two, along with the link to the week’s teaching.
They are also using Zoom to get the KS2 kids together for a chat and getting the parents together too.
Contact Emily Norman (email@example.com) to find out more and see above for her introductory video.
Singing God’s Praises at St Luke’s, Kew
The children of St Luke’s are still enjoying their regular singing sessions with Mary Noyes (St Luke’s Musical Director). See below for one of her songs and visit www.stlukeskew.org/sing-your-praises for more.
Visit www.stlukeskew.org/childrens-activities for a weekly activity sheet based on Sunday’s lesson. St Luke’s children are meeting via Zoom every Sunday at 10am.
Virtual Junior Church at the Barn Church, Kew
Children at the Barn Church are still gathering for Junior Church via Zoom at 10am every Sunday. They are saying hello, creating a prayer then finishing with coffee and biscuits.
Sunday Activities from Holy Trinity, Richmond
is a time to:-
L-isten to God’s voice and reflect.
O-bey His word and His teachings.
C-all on Jesus name and be calmed.
K-now what is the purpose of all this.
D-well in His presence. Do not panic.
O-ffer a prayer for everyone’s safety.
W-ait and be patient. This too shall passover.
N-uture our personal relationship with Him.
Family Home Worship from St Mary the Virgin, Mortlake
Visit stmarymortlake.org.uk/for-families for some worship ideas for children.
Online Junior Church from Richmond Team Ministry
Eaglets Toddler Group continues via Zoom
Worship from at St Luke’s and the Barn Church continues online.
Sunday Worship at Home
Holy Trinity are live-streaming a Sunday service at 10am each Sunday via YouTube and providing a weekly service sheet for people to follow along with at home, or use on its own if they want. This is updated regularly with suggested prayer points, children’s activities and a playlist. Click here for details.
Daily Encouragement Blogspot
They are also producing a daily encouragement each day (except Sunday), getting different people to write each week. You can find it at holytrinityrichmond.blogspot.com and you can sign up for that via email on there too.
Call To Prayer
They are also encouraging the church to pray at various points during the week: 7.30am on Tuesdays, midday on Wednesdays and 6pm on Thursdays. Reminders are sent out about this via Facebook and Twitter.
See www.htrichmond.org.uk/coronavirus for further details of what’s happening at Holy Trinity during the coronavirus crisis.
Just before the lockdown, St Mary Barnes had fortunately started photographing the church scrapbooks which go back more than 40 years. The scrapbooks were started in 1978 with the fire that devastated the church building. The books, which have been carefully compiled by members of the church, document the story from the aftermath of the fire, through it’s rebuilding to the present day.
To help deal with this period of being unable to come into church, they are going to feature some photos from one year per week at a time, on the History & Architecture page on the website and on social media.
St Mary the Virgin, Mortlake has been awarded the ECO Church bronze award. Well done to St Mary’s for demonstrating that “gospel is good news for God’s earth”.
To read more about the award, visit ecochurch.arocha.org.uk.