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Meet One of Our Chaplains

July 25, 2023

Following our merger with The ME Trust in February 2022, we are now able to offer a variety of Healthcare Services.

As part of this, we offer a Chaplaincy service where our team of experienced and understanding Chaplains provide pastoral care and spiritual accompaniment to people of all faiths, and those who are uncertain or have none.

Our Chaplains support people with M.E. and their carers.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Ruth Lampard, one of our experienced Chaplains, about her role in supporting people with M.E.


How long have you been a chaplain?

I have been an Anglican priest for a while, I was ordained in 2000 and served in parish and Chaplaincy contexts. I have had the privilege of being a Chaplain supporting people with M.E. with Action for M.E. since February 2022, and before then with The ME Trust (since 2017). Before that, I was a Chaplain with a charity supporting people who were homeless.

What got you interested in working with people with M.E./chronic illness?

I have my personal experience of long-term chronic illness – I have had M.E. since 1990.I know how much reflecting on the challenges of life with M.E., exploring new meaning and purpose when there are so many limits on what I can do, makes a difference.

What does your day look like/involve when you’re working at Action for M.E.?

I am a sessional Chaplain, so I see people online or in conversation on the phone, usually for half an hour: whatever suits the person best. I do try and create a still space and light a candle as a way of preparing to listen. I’m usually available Mondays to Wednesdays, and each day is different.

As a Chaplain, how do you support people with M.E.?

As Chaplain, my role is to support people in their faith or spiritual journey. It is a deep honour to be with people as they share their inner journey and to be a safe person to talk to about what matters most. Listening to a person’s deepest inner life, and attending to what “brings life to life” for each person is what Chaplaincy is for.

What role do pastoral care and spiritual accompaniment play in supporting people with M.E.?

Listening to what brings some meaning, hope and joy in the day, especially for people experiencing so much loss, and a radically different life from the one they wanted, expected and hoped for, is at the core of Chaplaincy. Living with M.E. is a countercultural life when so much is about achievement, business, and activity. Drawing on and developing deeper values and meaning helps to sustain and re-orientate. Having someone outside family and friends to talk to about the reality of life and journey with through rough times and better times is invaluable.

What do you love the most about your job at Action for M.E.?

It is a privilege to journey alongside people with M.E. Each person has a different M.E. journey. I have heard so many stories of courage, hope, determination, and creativity. Being part of a multi-disciplinary Healthcare Service means that there is so much experience and support to draw on. Sometimes people also need to see a Doctor, Counsellor or Physiotherapist, and it is good to be able to refer within a team that can offer whole-person support. Being part of the wider Action For M.E. teams means that a wide range of services are available beyond healthcare, and also working for structural change, for the day that people with M.E. will all get the support and care they need.

Do you have any advice for people who may not want to use our chaplaincy service but are unsure of what it involves?

If you would like a safe space to talk about your inner or spiritual life and journey, do come and have an assessment. This is a 30-minute conversation, its free, and an opportunity to share your journey and to explore if Chaplaincy is right for you. You can start, pause, or stop at any time: we are used to the fluctuating nature of M.E. and will work to find the right timing and mode of communication. For some, a telephone call or Zoom consultation is fine, for others, short email exchanges or even texts are appropriate. Bursaries are available if you feel Chaplaincy would be helpful.

Do you have any advice for people who may be uncertain or have no faith, but would like to use our chaplaincy service?

We are a Multi-Faith Chaplaincy and our Chaplains are here to support your faith, spiritual or inner journey. Chaplaincy is not about changing or converting you. At the moment, our Chaplains are Christians, with a range of experience within Christian and other traditions. If we are not the right fit for you, we will work with you to find the right support from a faith or spiritual community that is right for you.


If you would like to find out more about our Chaplaincy service, or how to self-refer, visit the Chaplaincy page on our website.

 

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