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Derriford chaplains write new book about the “jewels in the dust” they uncover in the hospital

Jan Collis and Sacha Pearce holding their book

‘Creating Space: Story, Reflection and Practice in Healthcare Chaplaincy’ is the newly published book written by University Hospitals Plymouth’s chaplains Sacha Pearce and Jan Collis. Created initially in the 2020, the book is inspired by the pairs’ experience with pastoral care and is a reflection of the work they do as chaplains and the stories they have gathered along the way.Jan Collis and Sacha Pearce holding their book

‘Creating Space’ was written to encourage others to take the time to listen, reflect and learn from their own practice and to create space of their own to tell stories that will help them grow and develop. The book is not just for those who work as chaplains, Jan and Sacha say the lessons in this book are “equally true for every pastoral encounter with people of all faiths and none, inside and outside a hospital setting”.

It is a book for professional practitioners, to help prompt their own contextual learning and development and to assist them in reflecting on their own stories. The authors hope readers will be excited and energised by making their own discoveries in their own context of being alongside and creating space.

Jan Collis describes the books inspiration as “a passion for sharing our discoveries about the nature of pastoral care as listening, and spiritual care as accompanying and empowering someone to hear their own story”. During a portion of the lockdown the chaplains’ physical presence in the hospital was halved due to the restrictions, this gave Sacha and Jan the opportunity to start writing the book which took them a year and a half to complete.

They define the book as “a complete reflection in itself”. It documents the way they work and create space to reflect on what they do as chaplains, their practice and how they train their pastoral volunteers. The idea of creating space directly includes their day-to-day reflective practice as they take time to sit together and deliberate on their days and to talk about the stories from their patients, and what it has taught them. Jan referred to these stories and reflections as “the jewels in the dust” that help to form and develop their practice.

You can purchase ‘Creating Space’ online from the publisher Sacristy Press or on Amazon.

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