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The Gift of Giving and Receiving: John's story

Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care Volunteer visits are integral to the DNA of the BaptistCare at home team. For many seniors separated from friends and family, BaptistCare’s pastoral carers are the only visitors they regularly receive.

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It’s 5:59am on Sunday, 25 April 2021; it’s ANZAC Day. Dawn is slowly breaking, but the sun has not yet crested the horizon. John* and BaptistCare at home Chaplain, Ruth, wait proudly at the end of John’s driveway, ready for ‘Light Up the Dawn’, the new ANZAC Day practice that started in 2020 during COVID-19.

They stand among flickering candles, holding the Australian flag, which flutters gently in the morning breeze. It’s a bit cold, but John and Ruth don’t mind. ANZAC Day is one of the most memorable days of the year for John, and Ruth has come to honour the day with him.

John has been a BaptistCare at home client for over ten years, receiving services like shopping and housekeeping.

“I wouldn’t be able to stay in my home without the care the At Home staff give. I appreciate all my carers; they feel like family,” explains John.

He’s also been receiving chaplaincy visits for over four years from Ruth.

“I appreciate the opportunity to talk about what is going on in life, especially becoming old and needing more help. It’s a comfort to have a blessing prayed over me and my home.”

When John asked Ruth to join him for ANZAC Day, she readily agreed.

As the sun rises and the Last Post plays, John stands straight and tall, remembering ANZAC Days from previous years, where he led the march for the local RSL club. John and Ruth then return to the warmth of John’s house, where John takes two matching cups and saucers from the cupboard with the special crockery. His wife’s cherished possessions live there. Today is an important day worthy of using these precious cups.

Ruth offers to make the tea, but John insists, telling her to sit down and he’ll bring it to her. Ruth is worried about John carrying a hot water kettle; however, she allows herself to be served by this lovely, generous man. She sees it’s important he can still give, even more so on this special day.

It’s also valuable for Ruth to stop and receive John’s care for her through the small gesture of making tea.

Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care Volunteer visits are integral to the DNA of the BaptistCare at home team. For many seniors separated from friends and family, BaptistCare’s pastoral carers are the only visitors they regularly receive.

And it’s not just the clients who benefit from these special visits. Ruth, in turn, gains just as much by working with clients like John.

“I was blessed to see John blossom, knowing he can still make a difference. I’m grateful to be the recipient of his generosity in serving me,” she says.

When asked why she loves being a Chaplain, Ruth replied,

“I have the privilege of being invited into the lives of clients, to journey with them through joys and challenges. I get to share God’s love in practical ways regardless of faith or cultural backgrounds.”

We’re proud of our Chaplains and Pastoral Care Volunteers who reach out to seniors in the local community. Thank you for all the work you do and the joy you bring to people every day.

*Name has been changed for this story.