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Posted November 7 , 2013

Spiritual Care

GRH celebrates hospital’s spiritual care providers and 10th anniversary of KW Site sanctuary

Kitchener - Grand River Hospital is marking Spiritual and Religious Care Awareness Week by celebrating the hospital’s highly-valued spiritual care providers and sanctuaries at its two main sites… including the KW Site sanctuary which is marking its 10th anniversary.

For more than 40 years, GRH has depended on a team of local volunteers to work alongside its spiritual care staff to provide on-call support to patients, families and staff, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The work of staff spiritual care providers along with dozens of volunteers is an invaluable service for patients, families and staff dealing with very difficult times,” said Tracy Elop, chair of the GRH Board. “Spiritual health is a vital part of a patient’s health and well being, and I want to recognize the compassion of our staff and volunteer providers for their dedication.”

This year’s celebration week marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of the KW Site’s current sanctuary. It’s located in between the main hospital building and GRH’s Regional Cancer Centre.

The sanctuary was designed in collaboration with Interfaith Grand River (IGR), a local interfaith advisory group named for the watershed. Dedicated in the fall of 2003, the sanctuary helps meet the spiritual and religious needs of patients, their loved ones, hospital staff and volunteers.

“The days after September 11, 2001 coincided with the founding of IGR, construction for the new regional cancer centre and the need to design and furnish a new sacred space at K-W Site,” explains (Rev.) John Lougheed, GRH’s director of spiritual care. “With the help of Interfaith Grand River, it quickly became a sanctuary that would be a quiet place for prayer and meditation for all people. We think it’s met its goal well in its first ten years.”

As a non-denominational interfaith space, the KW Site sanctuary provides a uniquely quiet and beautiful setting for reflection, meditation and prayer. The décor features natural light wood and stone, specially commissioned murals, and a stained glass window from the former GRH Scott Pavilion (1895). Donations to the Grand River Hospital Foundation supported the development of the KW Site sanctuary.

A similar sanctuary is in place at the Freeport Site. Local faith communities devised and furnished it as part of the expansion of the building in the late 1980s.

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