The new Multi-faith Chapel at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital is open and being used regularly. Years in development, former Chaplain Les Bonnell is credited with the idea of a chapel at the hospital. However, it is less well known that Mrs. Ruth Cowan made the first donation of $1,000 in 2001. Her daughter Audrey Waugh felt that, after that first donation, it was incumbent upon her to see the project through to completion. Her visits to Saanich Peninsula churches brought in many contributions, both large and small. The Foundation completed the fundraising in 2005, making this a chapel that has been funded entirely through the generosity of the community.
Architect Charles Kierulf was assisted in designing the chapel by peninsula Pastors and Clergy, along with the Chaplain, Audrey and Extended Care resident Cynthia Campbell. This dedicated committee brought their different visions and experiences together to create a truly multi-faith facility.
An important member of the hospital team, current Chaplain Joy Hunter works closely with health care providers. She is pleased that there is a dedicated, quiet place for residents to worship and space for patients and families to reflect. Of the 144 residents in Extended Care, as many as 70 attend the Thursday Church/ Hymn sing. Joy, along with the lay pastoral volunteers who assist her now have spaces for meetings and counselling.
Joy adds that a few more small items are needed. A piano was recently donated, and a sound system has been installed. Planning continues for a projection system. In addition, she hopes that items important to Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and First Nations spirituality will be contributed, making the chapel comfortable for all of the patients and families who spend time at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital.