Carinity Christmas Appeal: Being present is the best gift

She’s an unconditional supporter, confidante and spiritual guide. But more than that, Joyce Burrows considers chaplain Gwenda Jayawardhana to be her good friend.

Residents in aged care appreciate how they can speak easily with our Carinity chaplains– and without judgment – if they are facing difficulty.

Carinity Clifford House resident Joyce Burrows with chaplain Gwenda Jayawardhana.

Joyce says Carinity Clifford House’s on-site chaplain Gwenda is a “special friend” who cares for her, offers spiritual guidance and provided invaluable pastoral care when a fellow resident close to her passed away.

“Our chaplain is there to support us in any situation. Gwenda has a really natural gift and I definitely think she’s been called into this avenue,” Joyce says.

“It’s lovely to have someone who can handle people – not everybody can – and it’s lovely for a chaplain to come in who is compatible with all the staff and the residents like myself.

“I love her weekly devotions and I seem to connect really well with her. I can’t speak highly enough of her, she is marvellous.”

To fellow resident Carmel Lane, the chaplain is “someone you feel you can go to when you’ve got problems”.

“Chaplains can empathise with you. They seem to know when you’re feeling down and you know what you tell them is confidential,” Carmel says.

They also provide pastoral care and prayer support for Carmel when she has to go to hospital for appointments.

“When I’ve been feeling a bit down about being in an aged care home because my family don’t come and see me very often, I can go and talk to Gwenda and she always makes me feel better,” Carmel says.

Carmel Lane enjoys her conversations with aged care chaplain Gwenda Jayawardhana.

Gwenda enjoys being a chaplain “as you can see the real difference that you’re making in people’s lives”.

“Every person, regardless of their age, has a need to find meaning, purpose and connection in life,” Gwenda says.

“Aged care chaplains offer the gift of presence to our elderly and help them to know they’re not alone and there’s always someone who cares about them.”

Supporting the Carinity Christmas Appeal will enable Carinity to place more chaplains in our aged care communities across Queensland.

“The money that is donated to support chaplains is well received and much appreciated by people like me because the chaplains do a wonderful job,” Joyce says.

Donations to the 2019 Carinity Christmas Appeal can be made online at

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