Community of Healing

Community of Healing

The Queen’s Centre at Castle Hill Hospital, (known to many of you), is the European `state of the art’ centre for Oncology: `oncus’ is the medieval word for `lump’! So this Centre is the study and treatment of our lumps!  In all that we do and say we can be sure that God loves us, lumps and all!


Seriously, the Queen’s Centre provokes many thoughts and feelings, especially at first sighting.  Coming by road and parking outside it is like arriving at an airport terminal with all the excitement and trepidation that that holds.  In the parking zone there is great activity, many comings and goings, so too on the overhead pedestrian walkway, while folks share time together in the terraced coffee area.  There is much glass in the building, much light.


In the arrival/departure lounge, there are comfortable seating areas, rest-rooms galore, a café, a charity shop, a pharmacy, an information desk and, like the airport, the all important `check-in’ desk; here each one name is sacrosanct and sings; although listed with so many others, like those for Oskar Schindler, each name, maybe your name, is the microcosm of God an His Creation.  The Queen’s Centre, is designed for the through-put of many and yet holds on to the inviolability of the deep reaching roots which take each person to their point of departure, the beginning point of the healing journey, to the beginning of the end of the dis-ease.


There was a time when I was ignorant of this world, a time when I thought radio-therapy was listening to `smooth Classics at Seven’!  Now I know differently; the whole process of healing through radiotherapy is an awesome one. It is an amazing example of humanly enhanced divine providence.


Like my allotment, like life itself, `healing’ is in process and is always happening, for God wants us to be whole in body, mind, spirit.  As complex microcosms of creation, the healing process impacts on us at every level of our being, in our souls, in our emotions, in our thoughts, in our relationships, in our bodies.  Wholeness lies in the integration of all these human dimensions, it also requires that we can accept and integrate whatever it is that hurts!  So doing is to love selves, lumps and all, as God loves us and importantly that releases us to love our neighbour, lumps and all.


I write of the community that heals…Cancer patients form a temporary community as they come together, the late Tessa Jowell said, `we come together….in order to learn to live with cancer, not to die from it’.  In that process of community healing happens.  The many planned and random acts of kindness are healing; community by its nature is the healer.  How much more so is this for the Church, the community of Christ, the Body of Christ. Isolation is broken and community heals.


The process of healing only reaches a completion, an omega point, with the giving of thanks.  At the completion of the course of radiotherapy at the Queen’s Centre, there is a ritual of ringing a ship’s bell (hanging in the lobby), three times.  I did it in thanksgiving to our Three Personned God, and to pray for those in therapy, those waiting for therapy and those who performed the therapy.  We recall the tenth leper who turned back to thank Jesus for healing him.  I went out of the building thanking everyone in sight!!


So, I also thank my temporary co-travellers through therapy, and I thank you all, my compassionate companions for all your prayers and acts of kindness for Angela and myself. A healthy community exists through thanksgiving, and a wholesome church happens in eucharistica, the Great Thanksgiving.



May God be with you in all your comings and goings! Amen


Reverend Paul Burkitt