Thursday, 5 February 2009

Caroline Petrie


I am deeply concerned for Caroline Petrie and her family in the light of her suspension from work without pay, but also about the implications such actions potentially have for religious freedom in the UK. This week, I have met with both Caroline and John Smith, the Senior Minister of Milton Baptist Church, where Caroline Petrie and her family have been worshipping for 9 years.

John says: ‘As Caroline’s pastor I am delighted that she seeks to live out her faith 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I am supportive of the way she expresses this as a nurse caring for needy people offering prayer as a therapeutic opportunity in the holistic care of patients. Knowing Caroline as I do, I am confident that she has acted with integrity and dignity in making her offers of prayer, and that she has responded appropriately when people have declined her offer’.

Many of us are genuinely shocked that in an age when we hear of the value of a holistic approach by medical practitioners, and a widespread interest in spirituality that a nurse should be penalised for offering a therapeutic service – namely prayer.

I fully understand that her employers the Somerset PCT need to investigate complaints, but the fact that Caroline has been suspended without pay, suggests that a hostile judgment has already been made.

Baptists have a long history of championing freedom of speech in the UK and around the world. Caroline’s suspension suggests that such freedoms are under threat for us all.

If anyone feels concerned about this case and its implications, we have been invited to express comments and questions via the website of the North Somerset Primary Care Trust www.northsomerset.nhs.uk

I would encourage people to say something as silence can easily prove to suggest consent.

I would simply ask everyone to please be respectful of everyone involved if you choose to express your concern - some national editorials have not expressed their anger in the helpful manner.

A rough outline of this story as available on-line via the BBC website:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/7863699.stm

5 comments:

Angela said...

Thank you Nigel for your latest post. We continue to pray for Caroline - and trust that they will at least reconsider the 'without pay' aspect of the suspension. It does appear from the statement on the Trust website that they have had plenty of feedback already.

Anonymous said...

While appreciating some of the complications and comments regarding Caroline, her integirty and sincerity,there are some issues that require clarification

Firstly, when we are at work for our 'secular' employers we need to remind ourselves that we are being paid by them to do a job - not evangelise. God's work will never be hindered by our doing right before the world that we are trying to win.
Secondly, Caroline could easily have just prayed for the sick individual, perhaps, just perhaps quietly letting the individual know of that intention. Prayer is no less heard by God because of any lack of information given to the one being prayed for!

Having said this, Caroline has my prayers too. It must have been, and probaby still is, a great ordeal. The move away by our nation from whatever benefits we had because of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is lamentable and will surely bring its own troubles in its wake. But we rest assured that the Lord God omnipotent reigns!

Junction1

Star said...

http://starless-midnight.blogspot.com/

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the points made in my blog, this issue concerned me but for different reasons.

Nigel Coles said...

can I say how moved I've been by people who have taken the trouble to contact us at WEBA, or Milton BC on this issue. Christians mainly, but also a fair smattering of people who have no conscious faith. So, thank you all for taking the time and trouble. I do think we need to distinguish between evangelising and prayer - clearly linked, but different

Nigel Coles said...

can I say how moved I've been by people who have taken the trouble to contact us at WEBA, or Milton BC on this issue. Christians mainly, but also a fair smattering of people who have no conscious faith. So, thank you all for taking the time and trouble. I do think we need to distinguish between evangelising and prayer - clearly linked, but different