Archbishop's visit to St Christopher's Hospice
Friday 9th September 2011On Friday 9th September, Archbishop Rowan Williams visited St Christopher's Hospice in Sydenham, London.
St Christopher's, founded in 1967 by Dame Cicely Saunders, offers medical, nursing and support services for people coping with life-limiting illnesses, and their carers. It was, and is, a pioneer in the field of palliative medicine.
The Archbishop was met by the Revd Dr Andrew Goodhead, Spiritual Care Lead of the hospice, who took Dr Williams on a tour of the centre. The Archbishop had last visited St Christopher's in 2004 so this was a chance to catch up on new projects and the changes to the buildings that had taken place over the last few years. Archbishop Rowan was particularly interested to hear about the hospice's links with local community groups, and the ways in which St Christopher's works with nursing homes in the region to share knowledge and expertise.
Ann Nash, Matron, took Dr Williams around the wards where he had the opportunity to spend time talking privately with patients and their families. The Archbishop also met with Dame Barbara Monroe (Chief Executive), Nigel Hartley (Director of Supportive Care), Dr Nigel Sykes (Medical Director) and Penny Hansford (Director of Nursing) and learned about some of the inspiring programmes and practices that are constantly evolving at the hospice.
Revd Andrew Goodhead led a service in the Pilgrim Room of the Anniversary Centre, during which the Archbishop preached about the ways in which worship and care are both 'shared work'. He talked about how we can most fully be ourselves when both joy and anxiety are shared, and how God calls us to notice and to be there for the lonely.
The visit ended with a lunch for patients, family members, staff and the Archbishop in the Anniversary Centre, which opened in 2009 and has helped St Christopher's deliver day care, outpatient and community services in new and innovative ways.