2019 PresCare Chaplaincy Conference

Staying Fit for Ministry and Ministering to those Living with Dementia:

Being part of a team that is spread all over the large state of Queensland presents a number of challenges. Not only in a geographical sense but also culturally, as we are a diverse state made up of many different cultural backgrounds, over layered with the unique needs of people from the bush or from the city.

The PresCare Chaplaincy Team ministers from Cairns in the north all the way to the Gold Coast in the south. Our team of 11 Chaplains (plus many volunteer pastoral carers) minister to older Australians in PresCare’s Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) and clients in Community. Because of our geographical spread, having the opportunity to meet together for training, prayer and encouragement at our annual conference is a highlight for the team.  This year was the first year we had Youth Detention Chaplain, Nathan Carse join us for the Conference.

The training sessions at this year’s conference focused on two areas:

  1. Self-care and accountability for those in ministry, and
  2. How to effectively minister to people living with dementia and their wider family.

Burnout (and stressout) is now one of the main contributors to those leaving the ministry.  Specific training in this area at the conference was one of many mechanisms that PresCare Chaplaincy has now implemented to help avoid this phenomenon and the painful consequences this has on our bodies, souls, minds, relationships and ministry. At PresCare, we want to see our Chaplains develop patterns and rhythms in their ministries that will assist them to live gospel-focused and grace-paced lives that will enable them to reach the finish line with joy.

The other element of the course was around Dementia and that not only does it impact the person diagnosed, but also those who care for them.  Around 450,000 Australians now live with dementia (and is increasing each year) and almost 1.5 million Australians are involved in their care.  It can be devastating to watch loved ones lose their independence, personality, and abilities that once defined them, knowing there is no cure. This year’s training provided the Chaplains with both the education on dementia and practical ministry skills training for ministering to people living with dementia and their families.

PresCare Chaplains are thankful for numerous opportunities that God provides to love and care for older people in our community and the Presbyterian Church of Queensland’s partnership in this ministry.

If you would like to know more about PresCare’s spiritual health care services, including chaplaincy, please contact our Executive Manager of Mission, John Evans, on 07 3223 4444.