Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Rabbi, The Vicar and the Buddhist…


The Rabbi, the Vicar and the Buddhist…no it’s not the start of one of those jokes.

Rather it is the group of people who gathered in the Prayer Room at Worcestershire Royal Hospital to sign and affirm our multi-faith covenant.

So along with the County’s Deputy Lord Lieutenant representing HM the Queen, the Chair of our Trust and Councillor Jabba Riaz, himself a Muslim, we heard stories from our different faith traditions.

It was a beautiful time.

And the funny thing is that, whilst recognising each other’s different views, the common theme of LOVE, RESPECT and UNDERSTANDING pervaded it all.

Here were people from different faith positions seeking the common good. Here were a group eschewing war and violence and terror, and wanting to pursue peace and dialogue. There was no sense of threat to different views, just mutual respect.

And it struck me how much we need this in the DARK TIMES in which we live.

It seems that political forces at the moment want to isolate human from human. They want to mark out the “other” as dangerous and not to be trusted. They seem to be loving division and even fostering hate, at the expense of understanding and love and tolerance.

All this is in stark contrast to what happened at our multi-faith event. And whilst these things get very little press (we all know that hate sells more papers than love) they are real and happening all over the place.

Now I know that some will say that religion has started more wars than anything else, and that, if true, is a great sadness. But true religion, in all its forms, is peace loving and noble and good.

And what it takes for that to prosper is trust. Trust in our fellow humans, however different their views. Trust that those who are different can enrich our lives and not threaten them.

I hope that our small multi-faith event represents, in microcosm, the Hospitals in which I work and the County in which I live. I know it’s a pipe dream…but realties have to start with dreams and hopes.

All the staff have been marvellous; so caring and kind.” Credit where it is due!


The curtains were drawn as I entered the two bedded bay, called there by a staff nurse.

And there was my patient, let’s call her Mary, with daughter and brother at her side.

It’s amazing how much you can tell from a first glance. Mary was on her journey from this world. She was comfy, free from pain, and when I looked at her I saw dignity and strength.

She was from the Welsh valleys and her lovely family told me a bit about her life and her move to Worcestershire.

I could tell immediately, through the tears and tangible sadness, the love that they held for Mary. Of course, not all families are like this but the vast majority are: grief stricken, tired out, but surrounding their family member with love and support. They told me what a character she was, about her strength and fortitude, and above all about what she meant to them.

But they were not on their own, they said. “All the staff have been marvellous; so caring and kind.” I feel I should repeat that statement in the light of the current reports of the Acute Trust: “All the staff have been marvellous; so caring and kind.”

And, as if by magic, a health care assistant appeared. “How are you Mary?” she asked the semi-conscious patient. And then, turning to the family she said: “Everyone on the ward loves her you know. We all want to take her home!”

This is common on this ward and many others in our hospital. Staff really do care. They form a relationship with their patients. They matter to them and they want to make a difference – especially at the end of a human life. I’d love to tell you which ward this was but can’t for fear of identifying the patient – but they will know who they are.

They will know of the care and dedication which they give day after day. And they will know that is why they do the job that they do. So, in these times of great challenge, I say give praise and credit where it is due.