The new chaplain and spiritual care co-ordinator at St Nicholas Hospice Care has been officially licensed in a ceremony.
The Rev Sharon Connell will be available to all at the Bury St Edmunds hospice - sitting with patients and their loved ones as well as giving prayer and advice when needed.
She was welcomed by the Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, in a service held by the hospice’s chapel.
Ms Connell said: “It is my privilege to be here at the hospice.”
Bishop Seeley met her in the 1990s when they worked together in the Isle of Dogs, in the East End of London.
He said: “I’m able to trace the roots of Sharon’s story right back to that time in London.
“When I heard Sharon was coming to St Nicholas Hospice Care I was very excited as she’s the first person I am doing a licensing ceremony for that Iactually know - everyone else has been new to me.”
Adrian Williams, chairman of the hospice board of trustees, said it was clear from the interviews for the post of chaplain that Ms Connell was a ‘star’.
“Sharon works with patients, families, friends, carers, volunteers and staff; she works with those who share her faith, of other faiths or no faith. All are important to her,” he said. “Spiritual and pastoral care is essential to holistic end-of-life care.”
The service included hymns, readings from hospice chief executive Barbara Gale and the Rev Christina Beardsley, head of the multi-faith chaplaincy team at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, where Ms Connell worked before joining the hospice. Hospice staff, trustees and ministers from local churches also welcomed her.