The 44th Annual Meeting of the Synod of WA on Saturday 12 September at Wesley College agreed by consensus to note the longstanding contractual agreement between the Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Churches for the provision of chaplains to Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) and related campuses has concluded.

Thanks was given to God for opportunities over recent decades for the Church to appoint chaplains for service through the RPH Pastoral Care Service, providing ecumenical compassionate care to many patients, staff and others.

Synod acknowledged ten years of faithful service by Edith Smirk as Chaplain with the Royal Perth Group (RPG), initially at Shenton Park RPH Campus, and in recent years (and continuing) at the Bentley Health Service and eight years of faithful service of Rev Ken Devereux at RPH.

Synod noted with appreciation the continuing provision of pastoral and spiritual care at RPG through the Centre for Wellbeing and Sustainable Practice and the continuing provision of quality training in Clinical Pastoral Education through the RPG Centre for Wellbeing and Sustainable Practice.

Members of the church were encouraged to be aware of, and to pray for, continuing and growing opportunities for members of the Christian community to offer for various forms of chaplaincy or pastoral care within hospitals, prisons, aged care, schools, Defence and industrial contexts, even though not necessarily direct church appointments.

In presenting the proposal, Rev Ken Devereux said, “In 1980, the Uniting Church WA Synod actively supported the appointment of a Clinical Pastoral Educator within the Chaplaincy Service. Subsequent continuous involvement in that field led to the Uniting Church as co-sponsor of Rev Michael Hertz as current Director of Clinical Pastoral Education at Royal Perth Hospital. We have also provided a Chaplain on behalf of ‘other protestant denominations’.

“Many ministers and lay people have participated in paid or voluntary service with the RPH Pastoral Care Service over the last forty years. There have been challenging times of sharing in pain, loss, anxiety and grief with patients, families, staff and others. Amongst and beyond such times there has also been rich opportunities for profound compassionate companionship, shared conversations and searching for meaning, along with prayer, healing, restoration and thanksgiving.”

To read the full proposal and rationale, visit

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