New chaplain joins EKRH Spiritual Care Program

Teresa Knight joins chaplaincy program that provides spiritual care to patients and staff at the EKRH.

  • Aug. 24, 2016 5:00 a.m.
The four chaplains with the EKRH Spiritual Care Program are Jody Hackett

The four chaplains with the EKRH Spiritual Care Program are Jody Hackett

There is a new member with the East Kootenay Regional Hospital Spiritual Care program, as Teresa Knight has come on board to join the team.

Knight joins Laird Siemens, Bob Jones and Jody Hackett, who provide spiritual care to patients, patients families and hospital staff.

Knight, who has lived in Cranbrook for the last 11 years after moving to the area from Ontario, officially started working with the program in mid-August.

After some conversations with Siemens, along with some personal reflection, Knight decided to get involved.

“It’s an answer to a calling that I felt,” Knight said. “I’ve been involved in hospice care for several years, I worked in palliative care when I lived back in Ontario and I’ve always been drawn to companioning people when they’re at that point in life where they could use some support, spiritually, and just as another human being, to walk through the trials and the tribulations that we go through in life.”

Knight also has experiences in her personal life where family members and relatives were in hospice or palliative care.

“I was always struck by how there seems to be people, oftentimes, in the bed next to your loved one, somebody who doesn’t have anyone to talk to and it’s not necessarily talking about their faith or their religion, but it’s just actually having a person to talk to, to recognize that they’re also suffering and going through some tough times,” Knight said.

Knight is currently working on her Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality through St. Stephen’s College at the University of Alberta and is a visual artist, working primarily with watercolours.

Members of the Spiritual Care Program work in two-week blocks, and are on site at the hospital on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons, as well as being on-call after their shift.

The program, which originally began with Werner Froese, has grown from one chaplain to four over 13 years of working with patients and staff at the EKRH.

Laird Siemens has been involved with the chaplaincy program at the hospital for the last six years.

“The staff appreciate us and we really appreciate the staff,” Siemens said. “We know that the physical, psychological, mental needs are well met by the staff, and that’s where we come in — we have the spiritual component, so they appreciate that and we appreciate them.”

A committee with representation from five local churches, senior EKRH management and members of the community oversee the program, which is supported by donations from local and regional churches, along with service groups, individuals and the Interior Health Authority.

To contact the EKRH chaplaincy team, call 250-417-9214 or email