Sydney Adventist Hospital hosts virtual chaplaincy symposium

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Australian TV and radio presenter Geraldine Doogue and conference committee chair Pastor Steve Stephenson.

More than 250 people attended a chaplaincy symposium organised by Sydney Adventist Hospital in partnership with Spiritual Care Australia.

“Roads Less Travelled—Spiritual Care in the 21st Century” was the theme of the June 20-23 conference held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. It was the first time the San had partnered with another organisation to run a conference for chaplaincy development in the South Pacific Division.

“We have received some excellent feedback so far,” said conference committee chair Pastor Steve Stephenson, who heads up the Spiritual Care Services team at the San.

“Many delegates commented that the conference this year has been more spiritual in nature than ever before. I feel it is certainly a credit to the San as an accomplishment of our mission ‘Christianity in Action’. Therefore, we can positively and proudly conclude that we have made our mark nationally and internationally. People have experienced the difference we make, the impact we create as Adventist HealthCare.

“The other outstanding feedback by the delegates was about the relevance of the theme and topics presented.”

The conference was held online.

Speakers included Australian television and radio presenter Geraldine Doogue, who spoke on the topic, “How does the community settle itself once again, post pandemic?” She shared about her faith and encouraged trust in God. Dr George Fitchett, professor and director of research at Rush University Medical Centre, presented on “Courage, Creativity and Compassion: Spiritual Care in the COVID-19 Pandemic”.

“The highlight of having Dr Fitchett as one of our key speakers is that the chaplains at the San and most chaplains in Australia, America and around the world, use the spiritual assessment model [he] created,” Pastor Stephenson explained. “This is a very important tool by which chaplains assess the patient and design the spiritual care plan.”

Pastor Stephenson said he worked with a diverse and inclusive group of individuals from all around the Pacific to organise the symposium.

“I am privileged to have had such a wonderful group of people who worked round the clock to make the conference a huge success,” he said.

The organisers are looking forward to the next conference being in person. It is scheduled to be held in 2023 at the Clinical Education Centre at the San.