Coronavirus: ‘We have had to dig deep into our spiritual resources to keep going,’ says King’s College Hospital chaplain

Katherine Johnston (23 April, 2020)

Reverend Alfred Banya and his team of 'spiritual volunteers' are supporting patients and their families throughout the crisis

1356King's College Hospital. Pic: C Ford

King’s College Hospital chaplain  says his team of spiritual volunteers chaplains are here to support COVID-19 patients and their families. 

Reverend Alfred Banya

Reverend Alfred Banya’s team gives multi-faith spiritual and emotional support across the hospital’s sites in Denmark Hill and at Princess Royal and Orpington. 

Many of his volunteers and other faith leaders in the community are self-isolating and, due to visitation restrictions for infection control, they have had to adapt their way of working. 

Some support is given over the phone but the team still coordinates visits with ward staff so patients can be visited where possible, and – if visits are not possible – arranges prayer times so he is praying for a patient in the hospital as the family pray at home. 

“COVID-19 is the kind of experience that heightens spiritual distress and can challenge one’s world view, belief, and faith, however I stay hopeful and positive,” he says. 

“For me, and I believe the same would be for my colleagues in the chaplaincy team, we have had to dig deep into our spiritual resources to keep going. 

“We begin each day with prayer and reflection, which prepares us to face the day ahead. 

“Moreover, we try to celebrate any little success that we make in overcoming barriers supporting patients, relatives, and staff that COVID-19 presents to us. Most of all, we check on each other to ensure everyone is okay.

“To everyone reading this message, let us keep our spirits up. Let us be mindful that we are each other’s keeper during this time, and it is okay to cry on each other’s shoulder as we face this unprecedented challenge.”

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