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World Ostomy Day

Stoma Nurse, Stephanie Johnson reading the GospelOn Sunday, 6 October 2002, St Paulís Church, Daybrook, Nottingham had a world first! We celebrated World Ostomy Day, which happens every three years, by having a service for people with stomas, their families and friends as well as medical staff from local hospitals.

The service was led by the curate, Revd Robert Chapman, the sermon was preached by the vicar, Revd Chris Rattenberry, the prayers were said by Revd John Banks, now retired but a former chaplain of Nottingham City Hospital, the Gospel was read by Sister Stephanie Johnson, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Stoma Care from Nottingham City Hospital, and the New Testament Lesson was read by Terry Gallagher, a trainee Reader at St Paulís and himself an ostomist.

The service was supported by members of the British Colostomy Association, Ileostomy Association and Urostomy Association. Originally Terry asked the local secretary of the Ileostomy Association if he could have a poster for his church about World Ostomy Day as he was to lead the prayers that morning and wished to include this three yearly event. The secretary came back to him and asked whether his vicar would be willing to hold a special service for World Ostomy Day. Terry asked Chris, Chris said, ďYes!Ē so the service took place.

We were joined by a couple from near Tamworth who had travelled over specially for the service. It was a poignant trip for them as they had been married at St Paulís forty-one years ago. We were also joined by Mr Robert Brooke, cousin to Mr Bryan Brooke, the surgeon who devised the present ileostomy surgery in the 1950ís and for which many hundreds of thousands of people world-wide owe their life. He recounted how Bryan had originally not wanted to follow in his fatherís footsteps as a hospital consultant, but rather instead wished to become an engineer. One day, whilst on a country walk with his father, they came across a dead sheep. Mr Brooke senior explained the anatomy of the sheep to his son, Bryan, who was fascinated. As a result of that chance encounter with a dead sheep, Bryan decided to become a surgeon with the happy results that many people owe their lives to that encounter. God certainly moves in a mysterious way!

St Paulís hope to hold their next World Ostomy Day Service in three yearsí time when World Ostomy Day comes round again!

Terry Gallagher


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