Canadian hospital chaplains describe the ‘new world’ of pandemic grief

By Matt Gardner
Posted Feb 3, 2022

[Anglican Journal (Anglican Church of Canada)] A pair of Anglican and Lutheran hospital chaplains say the pandemic has meant a “new world” of exhaustion for them — but also life-giving work that has transcended conventional boundaries of denomination and faith.

The Rev. Tracey Stagg is an Anglican vocational deacon and spiritual health practitioner for Alberta Health Services at the Red Deer Regional Health Centre. The Rev. Dwight Biggs is a Lutheran minister and leader of spiritual care at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie, Ontario. Both report feeling exhausted from their heavy workloads during the pandemic, which they say caused a massive increase in demand for the kind of help they provide.

“We’ve all flipped into a new world,” Stagg says. “There’s a lot of grief. There’s a lot of anger. There’s a lot of frustration.”

The heightened need for spiritual care has been exacerbated, they say, by difficulties such as the absence of volunteers to support them when greater restrictions are placed on hospitals.

“Some days I’m not sure that I can do one more day,” Stagg says.

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