Hospital chaplains fulfill a crucial role by providing emotional and spiritual support to medical staff, emphasizing the significance of caring for the well-being of staff alongside patients and their families. This role has become increasingly vital, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. At Queen’s Medical Center-Manamana, a program called “Tea for the Soul” was initiated in November to serve as a ministry of support and care for the staff.

In preparation for the 2023 Tea for the Soul, chaplains collaborated to enhance their support for staff facing moral distress, compassion fatigue, and burnout. Previous Tea for the Soul events featured various teas, Heavenly Delights from Rev. Al Miles, prayer request slips, wisdom scrolls, music, and the comforting presence of chaplains.

Striving for more inclusive and sustainable ways to serve staff, a new approach was introduced in 2023. While awaiting their tea and writing prayers, staff were provided with a space to release their burdens and find respite. As the year concluded, the intention was to help staff unburden their thoughts and commence the new year with a fresh start. This gave rise to the implementation of the Sabbath Ritual, offering staff an opportunity to rest.

The ritual involved a symbolic Koa wood bowl representing strength and bravery, filled with water from the unit’s fountain. Water, known for its purifying and refreshing qualities, played a central role in this ritual. Staff wrote on water-soluble bio-based paper, expressing what they desired to rest from or the weight of loss or grief. Submerging these papers in water symbolized the act of letting go.

With support from Linda Pu’u, QHS Chief Nurse Executive & Quality, and Rev. Al Miles, Lead Chaplain, the chaplains served 25 departments and over 600 staff members throughout Queen’s Medical Center-Manamana.

An ordinary Monday morning during Tea for the Soul at the Hemodialysis Department showcased the impact of these efforts. A staff member, visibly moved, conducted her own ritual, expressing gratitude for ending the year with lighter burdens.

Through Tea for the Soul, it became evident that chaplains play an important role in fostering the emotional and spiritual well-being of the hospital community. The program must continue evolving to meet the dynamic needs of the staff, offering solace, renewal, and support through each sip of tea, each cookie, each wisdom scroll, and the presence of chaplains.

-Chaplain Kudol Lee