12th October 2020
Stacey Shepherd’s Thought for the Day can be found at 2hrs 44m of the following link:
Here is the transcript:
The BBC’s ‘Pledge to Talk’ campaign reminds us of how therapeutic it can be to talk to someone understanding when times are tough. It’s for this very reason that pastoral carers and chaplains working in hospitals, hospices and prisons have been recognised as key workers during this current crisis.
Sadly, non-religious pastoral care is not yet widely available in many healthcare settings. This is partly due to some reluctance to accept non-religious people into traditional chaplaincy teams. The data, however, suggests that half of the UK population is non-religious and these sorts of discussions often work best with someone who shares a similar world view. Non-religious patients and staff are therefore unlikely to contact pastoral services if they are perceived to be exclusively religious yet of course they still have the same needs to discuss their worries and concerns, their existential questions, and their search for meaning and purpose.
In recognition of this, in 2016 Humanists UK set up the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network which aims to ensure that those in public institutions do have equal access to emotional, moral, and spiritual support regardless of their religion or beliefs. At a local level, two of the Bristol Humanists committee members have been offering pastoral care at St Peter’s Hospice and the Children’s Hospital and we have also recently set up our own Bristol Humanists ‘listening ear’ phone service for anyone feeling they’d like to talk to someone like-minded during these challenging times.