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Mercury Viewpoint by Rev David Read

By the Rev David Read Retired Methodist Minister and chaplaincy visitor at the James Paget Healthcare NHS Trust.
After 38 busy years as a Methodist Minister, I retired in the summer of 2003. After considering how I viewpoints cross logo jpegshould use my time, I decided there was room in life to be a volunteer. I wrote to the chaplain of the James Paget Hospital offering some help. As a result I have been visiting patients in hospital wards on two mornings of the week. The experience has been rewarding for me, and I have learnt much from it. 
First, I have learnt to appreciate how important families are. I have always known this, of course, but contacts with patients in the hospital have underlined this truth. Every patient is different. Some come from different parts of the country, they are of all ages (although most are elderly), they have different life experiences and interests, yet almost all of them talk about their families. They look forward to visiting times when they will see members of their family; they look forward, above all, to being discharged and going home to be cared for by their families.
In the past two generations we have seen families change, but am coftheadernvinced they are as important to us now as ever they were. Secondly, I have realised how difficult it is for many patients to accept and come to terms with big changes in their lives.   Everyone comes into hospital hoping for a full recovery and for life to continue as before. But this does not always happen. There may be no return to full health and this often has consequences.
A loss of mobility, the car may have to go; help from carers may have to be accepted in the house. For some there may be the need to move into sheltered accommodation with a warden, for others there may be a move into a retirement/nursing home. Such changes often cause anxiety and fear; patients may feel they are no longer in charge of their lives. It is at such times that they need the support understanding and love of their families and friends – they need to know that they still count, that they are valued and cherished as full members of the family.
Then it has been my privilege to meet Christians from all kinds of churches, all of them united in their love and devotion to Jesus Christ. I have seen how the faith of these Christians brings to them inner strength, a real hope and a deep sense of peace.
As we celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, pray for those who will be in hospital on Christmas Day and the staff who will be caring for them. Please also pray for the chaplain and her helpers as they seek to bring spiritual help and comfort to those who are sick.