Respite Plan for Rescuers Takes Shape | Main
| Helping Two and One-Half to Six Year Old Children Cope with the Terrorists Attacks »
September 17, 2001
Department of Chaplaincy at the Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto, Canada, Responds
by Norman Headley
The Chaplaincy Department
The Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto, Canada, is one of the leading pediatric health-science centres in North America.
For over four years the Chaplaincy Department has worked determinedly toward the vision of a multi-faith, multi-racial staff and CPE programme, which would accurately reflect the needs of patients, families and staff. Toronto is known as the most culturally and ethnically diverse city on the continent.
In 1999, CPSP Canada was incorporated. The Hospital for Sick Children became the first solely CPSP certified and accredited centre in Canada.
We received much encouragement and support as we proceeded toward our goals. The Administration of the Hospital stood by us through formative and difficult times. The Ontario Council on Spiritual and Religious Care recognized our ability to mentor Chaplains for work within the Civil Service. We have placed Chaplains in major civil service positions and medical centres within the Province of Ontario.
Little did we know how far our resources would be tested on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Within minutes of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, our staff was immersed in all aspects of institutional pastoral care. Families were distraught. Hospital colleagues had relatives and friends in the targeted areas. Administration needed to assure continuing services and manage potential racist backlash amidst such intense emotion. Everyone felt the deep dread and shock of what had happened. We were on alert as a treatment facility, if required.
On Wednesday, Chaplaincy sent out a memo as a "broadcast message", approved by Administration, to the entire Hospital. The responses to this memo indicated success in meeting the need for leadership and solidarity within our own Hospital community. It provided solace, comfort and the offer of pastoral care to any in need.
At the end of the week, we had a request for a Prayer Service. On Friday, September 14th, we held a service in the Main Auditorium, coinciding with the National Day of Mourning and the two minutes of silence at noon. The Auditorium filled to overflowing. Another large room was wired for sound and pressed into use. Hundreds of people came together to share their shock, horror, sorrow and disbelief. I heard tears, sobs and soft crying as people shared their grief.
All of the Chaplains listed on this memo form a selected and experienced team. They are not token representatives. All are regular staff members. They worked ceaselessly, often on little rest, through the week, and I would like to thank them publicly.
Norman E. Headley
The Pastoral Letter
To: Executive Office, Fetal Centre, Finance, Gastroenterology & Nutrition, General Paediatric Clinic, General Surgery, Genetics and Genomic Biology, Graphic Centre, Gynaecology Clinic, Haematology & Oncology
It is with great sadness and heaviness of heart that we appeal to all staff of The Hospital for Sick Children.
The members of the Chaplaincy Department join together in solidarity today with each one of you across the boundaries of religious conviction to offer a prayer for all those who have been touched by the horrific disaster which occurred in The United States of America yesterday.
Particular caution is given to news coverage being available to the children in The Hospital. It can be very difficult for them to understand without appropriate guidance and support being available to aid in their comprehension of these terrible events.
Response to Pastoral Letter
To: Norman Headley/ProfServ/HSC@HSC
May I commend you all for your email, it is wonderful to see such an ecumenical response , crossing all borders and reaching out to many. Walking through the corridors yesterday I was very struck at the depth of anguish of many of the staff. Your recognition of this, and the need for careful evaluation of the information coming through the media is so true. I am very concerned that reaction in haste and anger / hatred will generate further atrocities.
I want to thank you for the very comforting and calming message. It has indeed been a very difficult time for all. We can only keep all those in our hearts and prayers.
To: Norman Headley/ProfServ/HSC@HSC
A Heartfelt thank you.
I don't think it is very often that we see a general message from your department. With all the mass e-mail some get overlooked. I'm glad I found yours. I greatly appreciated your message. I hope, as you do, that we will all be cautious in our interpretation of the events, and may draw strength from each other.
perhaps a chapel service or prayer service would be in order?
Ann Spry - O.R.
I very much appreciated the concerted response of the chaplaincy in their very human and spiritual reaction to the events of 11 September. I am currently working at the HSC Foundation and would like offer my services in whatever form they may be needed to your work there. If there is anything I can do to help you out let me know, now or at some point in the future.
I would like to thank you, I wanted you to know that your message has helped me.
Thanks. It is comforting to feel some unity at this time of sadness
Norm, Gittie: thank you for responding on such short notice today and your leadership at the memorial service. It was sensitive, thoughtful and I know, firsthand how much it was appreciated. I am greatful for your leadership The feedback has been very positive. Regards, Mary Jo
Dear Gittie & Norm:
Thank you all.
Please email your response to Norman Headley and/or the Editor of the Pastoral Report.
Norman Headley, a CPSP Diplomate, is the Director of the Department of Chaplaincy at the Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto, Canada.Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at September 17, 2001 12:50 PM
Post a comment