Chaplain Rev. Helen Gray retires after 25 years at Christchurch Hospital

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Nov 21, 2023 |

Photo: Te Whatu Ora

A deep sense of aroha and service to God, patients and their whanau and hospital visitors.

That is what Chaplain Rev. Helen Gray, has brought to her role as a valued and committed member of the Interchurch Council for Hospital Chaplaincy team.

Helen was acknowledged in the hospital’s regular newsletter.

“It’s about healing and love,” she said.

Helen has worked tirelessly for Interchurch Council for Hospital Chaplaincy by supporting patients, whanau and staff of Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury and its predecessors and has been there for significant moments in many peoples’ lives.

As she retired last week after 25 dedicated years in the role, the Chaplaincy team celebrated her, recognising that Helen’s motivation has been to serve others as she supported them on their spiritual journeys.

It was Helen’s husband, Bishop John Gray, who encouraged her to enter chaplaincy work.

After experiencing the deaths of her mother and other family in hospital, Helen says she was a little hesitant as she “didn’t like hospitals”.

Photo: Te Whatu Ora

It took time to get used to speaking with strangers and there had been challenges over the years.

The best thing about being a chaplain was being there for people in their time of need, for anyone, not just Maori.

Before Maori health worker roles began it was “quite lonely”, now they all worked together when needed in various situations.

“However, there are still only a handful of us,” she says.

Helen has blessed spaces in hospitals, after someone had died in a room, in new areas, and in departments such as Theatre, Intensive Care and Oncology.

She has prayed for people going into Theatre and for God to guide the hands of the surgeons carrying out the operations.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

Have you got a news tip? Get in touch here

got a news tip?