Pastoral Care Week Volunteer Profile - Terry Shannon

Monday 23 October 2017
Pastoral Care Volunteer Profile - Terry Shannon



This week is International Pastoral Care Week and this year’s theme is ‘Hospitality: Cultivating Inclusion’, which aims to acknowledge and promote spiritual/pastoral care providers, chaplains and educators and the needs they serve within organisations that are becoming ever more secular and diverse.


Whether empathising with a person in their loneliness or offering a compassionate presence during illness, the relationship between BCH’s trained Pastoral Care Volunteers and patients, residents, family and carers, creates a space where meaning can occur. Data continues to show how essential this is to a person’s over-all wellbeing and tends to raise confidence in their care.


BCH’s Pastoral Care Program (part of Allied Health), has been running since 2011 and has provided a confidential service supportive of all beliefs, faiths and cultures. Care may include religion or not, as patients are respected and allowed to lead this aspect.


If you happen to be in the main foyer of Wonthaggi Hospital this week, keep an eye out for our wonderful Pastoral Care Volunteers who will be handing out treats. As part of BCH’s celebrations for International Pastoral Care Week, we will be featuring individual daily profiles of some of our dedicated Pastoral Care Team.


Our first profile is of Terry Shannon, who has been a Pastoral Care Volunteer at BCH since 2015.


When he was asked why he stepped forward, he said he thought he was volunteering in palliative care and was rapt because he had a background in psychology. Although he says he would have learned a lot, he was delighted to have made the ‘mistake’ and ending up part of the Pastoral Care team. “I find myself engaged with ordinary people perhaps when they are looking for kindness and compassion in their time of need. To me, that’s what Pastoral Care is all about - making a contribution to a person’s well-being.”


When Terry is not volunteering, he says he nourishes himself through what he calls the Tree of Life. “You take the tree, so to speak, and give it a good shake. I’m surprised at what the things are that fall from it. I take those things, like reading, volunteering, engaging with organisations like Surfing for the Disabled, serving on the Community Advisory Board for BCH and international travel, and I give them a go. These activities bring me in contact with a lot of people and an opportunity to not just meet them but to get to know them. It’s building the relationship that counts.”