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Local community leaders at the opening ceremony

The new Multi-Faith Centre at St. Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey was officially opened this week (6th March) and brought together representatives from several 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 will take 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 Hosptial, 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 quiety, think and reflect.” To facilitiate this, the centre is divided into three areas – the Chapel, Quiet Room and Prayer Room with ritual washing facilities for Muslim visitors.

Revd Laurence adds: “We are really pleased with the new centre and I hope that those joining us for the opening yesterday could recognise the hard work of my fellow chaplains, the estates and facilities team at the Trust and our dedicated team of chaplaincy volunteers in their commitment to spritual health and wellbeing for all who visit or work at St Peter’s. I would like to personally thank them for everything they do.”

Around 50 people attended the event yesterday; 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 Dutchess 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.

 

Pictured above (from left to right):

Rt. Revd Jo Wells, Anglican Bishop of Dorking; Suzanne Rankin, Trust Chief Executive; Ven. Phramaha Suriyan Amaro, representing Buddhism; Revd Laurence Gamlen, Trust Lead Chaplain; Dr Abbas Naqvi, Resident Alim of Al-Asr Mosque in Woking; Rabbi David Zucker from North West Surrey Synagogue; Meeta Joshi, Hindu Chaplain for University of Surrey; Aileen McLeish, Trust Chairman; attendee representing Buddhism; Rt. Revd Richard Moth, Roman Catholic Bishop of Arundel and Brighton and Heather Caudle, Trust Chief Nurse.

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