Saint Francis Hospice welcomes all ethnicities, cultures and social status

The Rev Paula Graham is an ordained Interfaith Minister. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice

The Rev Paula Graham is an ordained Interfaith Minister. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice - Credit: Archant

The Rev Paula Graham explains that Saint Francis Hospice welcomes people of all faiths, and none

Although the inspiration for our name came from the Prayer of Saint Francis, that was many years ago. We’ve always cared for people of all faiths, including those with no faith.

Our supporters, staff, volunteers and individuals we support come from different walks of life, reflecting the catchment area’s rich diversity. We welcome everyone regardless of ethnicity, culture or social status to use our services.

The notion that you need to be religious to be part of our hospice is a myth everyone here is eager to correct, including myself as the new pastoral care team co-ordinator. While many may associate my title Reverend with the Christian faith, I am an ordained Interfaith Minister so I serve people of all faith traditions or none. I love exploring all faiths, and welcoming people without a faith. I’m immersed in all, but committed to none. I find that the more I explore different religions, the less I see the boundaries between them.

My role at the hospice isn’t about my beliefs, it’s about other people’s. I’m here to support ideas people already have — not change them or impose mine. Part of my role involves connecting with diverse local groups to find out how we can best serve their needs. I’m also here to ensure that the hospice’s chapel/quiet space develops whilst remaining a place that anyone can use to enjoy peace and their own reflections or prayers.

My days involve visiting patients and relatives in the hospice, contacting patients at home, creating and holding services and interfaith reflection groups, contacting faith leaders, and supporting our wonderful staff and volunteers too.

Whether in previous roles as natural therapist or businesswoman, or in my role here, I learned that one of the most important things anyone can do is to deeply listen. It is a large part of what the pastoral care team offer here at Saint Francis Hospice.

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I became drawn to end of life care while looking after people with life limiting illnesses, including my mum. Since caring for her, people began to ask if I could journey with them during their end of life. It’s a deep privilege to support someone during that very sacred time. Although I’ve often been invited to attend to people at their end of life, I do get invited to parties too! (Socially distanced of course!)