Being a chaplain in the ICU … and prison

We explore the spiritual needs of people in intensive care in hospital, or behind bars.

I went to see this lady and as soon as I walked in, she actually said, ‘f*** off, I don’t want to have anything to do with you people’.” 

Chaplaincy in Australia is contested. If people have had a bad experience with the church or concerned that someone might be trying to manipulate them, a chaplain walking up to say hi might get that response. Not least because people can be very vulnerable if they’re dealing with a shocking medical episode in hospital or grappling with life in prison. 

This Life & Faith episode takes you behind the scenes of two very different environments: the intensive care unit of a major Sydney hospital, and Kirkconnell Correctional Centre in regional NSW. Two chaplains from Jericho Road, a social service organisation linked with the Presbyterian Church in NSW, tell us about what it’s like to care spiritually for people during very difficult times in their lives.  

Content warning: there are some challenging stories told in these interviews. This episode is not suitable for children. 



Jericho Road’s Love Your Neighbour course on chaplaincy