Community, Compassion and Hospital Chaplaincy

by Maritime
Categories: 2020, Events

The compassionate work of The Salvation Army isn’t always easy to see. But for retired officer Major Donna Howell, hospital chaplaincy was one of the most rewarding experiences of her career.

From Alberta and Manitoba to Ontario and Halifax, and many locations in between, Donna and her husband have gained quite the experience in ministry over their years as Salvation Army officers. Each of these appointments provided multiple opportunities to assist in bringing positive change in the lives of people.

Throughout their journey, they have learned compassion for people is essential in ministry. One of the highlights was in Community and Justice Services in Ottawa whereby a specific program was developed to help families in need. 

“The program, HOPE, Helping Organize Productive Experiences, was developed for the wives and families who were separated through incarceration,” says Donna. “Arrangements were made to help family members have institutional visits, family camping trips and monthly meetings.”   

In her final appointment, Donna joined The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters in Halifax where she was able to continue working with Women’s Ministries, after which she retired and settled in the community. After retirement, she took on an additional role in hospital chaplaincy. 

In this role, Donna became aquatinted with many families, some experiencing critical illness and others simply in need of a scripture reading. Regardless of the need, she provided compassionate ministry in each situation.

“There was one little infant boy who was seriously ill whom I visited that was special to me,” Donna recalls. “Due to his critical illness I was asked to perform a baby christening. His parents feared that he would not survive the travel to their home in Newfoundland. Approximately one year later I received a call from a very grateful mother to let me know that her son was healed and was now doing well as a healthy one-year old boy.”

Hospital Chaplaincy is rewarding in that when compassion is shared, it offers hope to the patients. “Even though sharing a Scripture reading and prayer was a sacred opportunity, it often blessed me as well as the patients.”

If you, or someone you know, is in need of hospital chaplaincy, contact your local Salvation Army.


By: Jan Keats