When we’re touched by the deep suffering from illness, facing death or grieving the loss of our beloved, we seek comfort and healing. Faith communities can be a great sense of support and compassion during these difficult journeys. But they must be prepared to help.
Clergy and lay leaders of all faiths in our community are invited to come together on November 1 for a special conference on becoming a compassionate presence to their congregations. It was developed by our Suncoast Hospice Spiritual Care Advisory Council of various faith leaders who are committed to ensuring that our hospice patients’ spiritual needs are met and beliefs and customs are honored and respected.
“As people in a faith community begin to live with chronic and life-limiting illness, it’s so important to have members of that faith community who can be a bridge to keep them connected and participating in the life of the congregation,” said Jim Andrews, Suncoast Hospice director of spiritual care and a conference speaker.
Our expert spiritual care and bereavement professionals along with a project panel will lead the discussion and teach the skills to deliver better outreach and support and to ease anxiety, helplessness and other distress of community members.
“It’s a reality that visiting people who are sick, suffering and grieving can sometimes be a challenging proposition. We’re not always sure of what to say. Seeing someone suffering and in pain weighs on our own hearts and sometimes serves as a painful reminder of our own mortality or loved ones who’ve died. This important conference will provide participants helpful tips and information that will increase their comfort and confidence when visiting with sick, dying and bereaved congregants and friends,” Andrews explained.
Join our Becoming a Compassionate Presence faith community conference on November 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at our Clearwater community service center, 5771 Roosevelt Blvd., A Gathering Place, Clearwater. Registration is $25, which includes a box lunch.
Register online at SuncoastHospiceFoundation.org/Faith2016. For more details, contact Sharon Gwin, SharonGwin@TheHospice.org or (727) 523-2352.