• Invite children of the congregation to create cards, pictures and posters to place on the child’sâ€¨ hospital-room walls.
• Offer to pick up a child’s siblings from school and bring them home or to the hospital for a brief visit when the parents may be staying overnight at the hospital.
• Give the child a blanket or prayer shawl from the congregation.
• Create rituals and share Scripture stories that create space for the children to share about their hopes, fears and questions about their illness.
• Assist a family in creating a Web page. Many hospitals sponsor password-protected pages for families, such as Caring Bridge or CarePages.
• Provide gift cards or certificates for restaurants and stores near the hospital.
Worshiping at Holy Trinity Lutheran in Chicago one Sunday, I joined with the congregation in welcoming three infants into the family of God through baptism. The pastor invited all children to sit in the aisle near the baptismal font. As the worship assistants poured water from the pitchers into the font, a cherub of a boy not more than 5 years old stood up and applauded. Adults in the pews smiled and realized that they, too, could celebrate and welcome these infants into the family of God with similar vigor.
|While a patient at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Lilly Isaacs, 4, enjoys talking with Stacey Jutila, an ELCA chaplain.|
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