Deacon appointed to new national spiritual care role

A Church of Scotland Deacon has been appointed as the Scottish Government's first national advisor and operational lead on Spiritual Care.

Mark Evans DCS
Mark Evans DCS.

This article first appeared on the Life and Work website, the magazine of the Church of Scotland. You can subscribe to the magazine here.

Mark Evans DCS will be responsible for advising the government and NHS boards on the development of spiritual care policies, and setting up a board to ensure that the same standards of spiritual care are delivered in every health board throughout Scotland.

Mark, who will divide his time between the new role and his current job as Strategic Lead for Spiritual Care and Bereavement at NHS Fife, said he was ‘excited about it, but also a bit overwhelmed about the size of the task'.

He said: "I think if we're being honest, Covid-19 has brought up huge issues about the role and importance of spiritual care and the importance of chaplaincy.

"Through the main peaks my team have been in red (zone) intensive care, we've been in red accident and emergency, we've been in red receiving unit, and we've been there not just to support patients - who of course come in alone - but the staff, who have seen significant amounts of death and trauma and distress.

"So during Covid-19 many chaplains up and down the country have been heavily involved in providing staff support."

Mark added that part of the new job, which will begin in February, would be about looking at what lessons could be learned from the pandemic.

"What do we keep, what do we not keep, what do we adapt, what do we develop and where do we put resources?

"We need to abandon the idea that chaplains are just the religious people who come and do the churchy stuff. Our remit is much wider than that – it's bereavement care, it's end of life care, staff support. These are all elements of spiritual care."