The new Multi-Faith Centre at St. Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey was officially opened in early March and brought together representatives from a number of different faiths. These included Rt. Revd Jo Wells, Anglican Bishop of Dorking; Ven. Phramaha Suriyan Amaro representing Buddhism; Rt. Revd Richard Moth, Roman Catholic Bishop of Arundel and Brighton; Dr Abbas Naqvi, Resident Alim of Al-Asr Mosque in Woking; Rabbi David Zucker from North West Surrey Synagogue and Meeta Joshi, Hindu Chaplain for the University of Surrey.
The event also saw the licensing of Revd Laurence Gamlen by Bishop Jo Wells, to officially appoint him as Lead Chaplain for Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals – Revd Laurence is taking up this position alongside his current role as Parish Priest at Holy Trinity Church, Lyne and Longcross.
The old Multi-Faith Centre, which opened in 2008 at St. Peter’s Hospital, was located next to A&E and closed last year to enable an essential expansion of the department. Building a new facility has allowed some positive changes, as explained by Revd Laurence: “We wanted to create a space which welcomes those of different faiths and those of none. Somewhere people can come to pray, but also to just sit quietly, think and reflect.” To facilitate this, the centre is divided into three areas – the Chapel, Quiet Room and Prayer Room with ritual washing facilities for Muslim visitors.
Around 50 people attended the event which was a real celebration of different faiths, and where each faith leader read from their sacred text before sharing a short prayer and lighting a candle.
Revd Laurence said: “It was very special to see representatives of many different faiths coming together and celebrating alongside each other – a reminder that we have far more in common, and that all faiths are committed to healing in body, mind and spirit.”
The new Multi-Faith Centre is located in the Duchess of Kent Wing, right next to the entrance for the Acute Medical Unit. It is open from 8am to 6pm every day and all patients, visitors and staff are very welcome to visit.