Chaplain seeks team approach

Canberra Region Presbytery’s new Hospital Chaplaincy Leader is Lay Pastor Richard Pedersen.

Richard has returned to Canberra from Young, where he was Pastor for three years. Young was his first placement after completing his studies in Canberra. Originally from Denmark, Richard came to Australia in 1970, with his wife and 3-year-old daughter, to work as an electronics engineer specialising in computing. He later bought a truck and started a courier business, which he developed over 14 years and sold as a substantial enterprise. He then bought a 10-seater coach and began running Hunter Valley wine tasting day tours out of Sydney. Again, he built up the service over several years and sold it as a thriving business.

“I intended to retire then,” said Richard. “That lasted three months. I was becoming a nuisance around the house, I think. The church needed an administrator, so I got that job. I worked with ministers and pastors for a couple of years before I decided ‚that’s what I should be doing.

And with all that life experience behind him, the Presbytery feels Richard is well equipped to understand the people he will be caring for at Canberra’s hospitals. “My aim is to develop a strong team that can really give service to the people,” said Richard. “Currently we have only two chaplains (each working one day a week) and myself (working Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) at Canberra Hospital. I’m hoping to train someone to be in the office, and have someone in charge at each hospital. We need to establish that support before we try to bring more pastoral carers in, so they do not feel isolated.”

“With a team, you can feel part of a family. My hope is that we will have a whole team of pastoral carers so we can reach everyone, every day, including weekends, at all the hospitals.”