Sacred spaces for all spiritualities

Every morning, a 97 year old resident sits in the Multi-Faith room at Uniting AgeWell Andrew Kerr Care, and breathes in the tranquility and serenity.

The room, once an empty shell, has been brought to life as a ‘Sacred Space.’ Plants, soothing music, a water-feature, aromatherapy diffuser and salt lamp with its warm orange glow, create a space where people can pray, meditate, reflect or contemplate. The room also has a Prayer Tree where you can write prayers, intentions or hopes for the future, yours or others’.

The room is open to all – residents, staff, families, volunteers, and visitors. Its primary purpose is to provide an uninterrupted peaceful space, to support the spiritual or religious needs and practices of users from a broad range of religious, secular and spiritual backgrounds.

Seeing the resident gain solace and comfort from the room, which strives to reflect the four elements of wind, air, water and fire, brings joy to Zena Liston, the former chaplain at the home, who set up the sacred space. Zena now holds the newly created leadership position of Chaplain Coordinator for the team of chaplains across Victoria and Tasmania.

“It is hoped this room will act as a beginning of an expansion of sacred spaces across other Uniting AgeWell facilities, as part of embracing our recently created Spirituality Framework,” says Uniting AgeWell Director of Mission, Rev Clare Brockett.

“Spirituality is an umbrella term that includes people who hold religious, secular, or spiritual beliefs. It is constantly evolving within us, and so it is natural that the spaces in which we express our belief and ways of viewing the world also need to evolve.

“Over the last couple of years during the pandemic, I have notice people being much more open and up front about what matters to them in life. Bigger questions about values, beliefs, and how we make sense of the world, have been aired more publicly, rather than kept as personal thoughts. Uniting AgeWell recognises the important of providing opportunities and spaces to enable the reflection and expression of these thoughts and beliefs.

“The Spirituality Framework, and Sacred Spaces, are part of our ongoing commitment to provide care that is respectful, inclusive, based on individual choices, and grounded yet flexible.”

Learn more about Harmony Week 2022