In late 2004 the chaplaincy service to Wellington Hospital came very close to being shut down for financial reasons.
At that time funding from the health system towards chaplains’ salaries was small and the necessary top-up from churches and the community had shrunk to a trickle. With no community support network in Wellington, chaplains were getting by on monthly contracts, uncertain as to where they would be the following month.
In 2005 Brian Cunningham, Jim Rowe and colleagues set about forming the Wellington Hospital Chaplaincy Trust with the immediate aim of weathering this crisis. They donated generously themselves, and appealed for help from friends and contacts.
Thanks to these efforts and your generosity the chaplaincy service has survived, narrowly at first but more assuredly since 2008. Today the Ministry of Health contribution to salaries has risen to 50%, administered through the Interchurch Hospital Chaplaincy ( except in the case of Roman Catholic chaplains, where the 50% subsidy is paid to the church).
Last year 5.8 chaplains in Kenepuru, Porirua and Wellington Hospitals, supported by trained volunteers , visited 35,721 patients and their families , also providing sacramental services where needed.
Since the foundation of the Wellington Hospital Chaplaincy Trust, Jim Rowe and Brian Cunningham , both key figures, have died, and Sir Patrick Mahony has retired.
So we have new Board members in Terry McDavitt, Rev Barrie Keenan, and Dr Robert Logan. Ongoing members are David Underwood, Prue Griffin, and Maureen van den Beld. I joined the Board in 2007 and have been its Chair since 2008.
It is clear that we are now in a transition period. Longterm senior chaplain, Rev David Tannock, is approaching retirement. We need to ensure an effective succession to the special skills he has brought to the service. ICHC has a contract with MoH that is due for review in 2013.
Margaret Rowe – Chair
Terry McDavitt – Secretary
Gillian Robertson – Treasurer
Maureen van den Beld
Rev Barrie Keenan
Dr Robert Logan
Mr Les Stephens