Honest Christianity – chaplaincy as hospitality

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Last Thursday we had the privilege of launching an edited book on paediatric chaplaincy. One of the models that was shared was Hospitality. The practice of welcoming visitors to our hospital, our chapel. In many ways it seems an obvious principle, but depending on your definition of hospitality, the model comes sharper into focus. It seems logical that our welcome is inclusive of everyone, regardless of actions, beliefs, attitudes, values . All welcomed. Hospitality is for my friends and my enemies, for those who appreciate it and for those who take it for granted or even abuse it. All are offered a warm, kind, generous
support. Perhaps then in some circumstances or situations this unconditional affirmational belonging is for those who have done or said something that is unbelievably offensive.

My practice has been that all who need support, regardless, are offered kindness. Self inflicted, harming others, guilty, not known, innocent, all need help. It is non-judgemental, that is not my job. Hospitality is not a matter of condoning or reward, it is just the right way to be with other human beings. As we continue to live in a growing diverse world and local communities, agreeing cannot be the criteria for welcome. This I hope is the imitation of the Bible, Gospel, kingdom and God. Hospitality cannot be conditional and continue to be
hospitality.

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