Rev Ken Devereux, Chaplain Pastoral Care Services at Royal Perth Bentley Group, shares his thanks for Rev Margaret Smithson and her
many years of ministry at Royal Perth Hospital.
Sitting in the audience at the October Graduation for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Interns at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH), Rev Margaret Smithson was reminded of her long involvement in the field of pastoral care.
I am sad to say thank you and farewell now that Margaret is no longer available for on call duties at Royal Perth Hospital. I understand her decision.
Margaret’s record is worth recalling and honouring. Margaret was the second woman to candidate with the Methodist Church in WA, and was ordained to ministry in 1975. Thirty five years ago she took up a chaplaincy at Presbyterian Ladies’ College and towards the end of that period she undertook a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at RPH.
This led into an ecumenical appointment at RPH where her experience led to another 11 years of valued ministry to the changing community there.
One of the areas in which she took an increasing interest was the growing field of palliative care, relating to people moving into the final phase of their life. In conjunction with the then Head of Palliative Care, Dr Doug Bridge, Margaret helped draw attention to the valuable role of chaplains as integral to the team supporting those going through great emotional, social, psychological and spiritual turmoil and transformation.
In recent years of retirement, Margaret has periodically provided locum or on call relief services with Pastoral Care Services at the hospital and her constant and openness has endeared her to many patients, family and staff members. Hence,as the latest batch of graduands from CPE celebrated their growth in personal awareness and capacity to care pastorally for others, it was an honour to have amongst us someone of long experience whose warm heart still shines with God’s spirit of love and compassion.
Rev Ken Devereux, Chaplain