Indigenous Scripture brings hope in hospitals

Chaplains are bringing comfort and support as they Open The Bible with patients  

Chaplaincy. It’s not an easy role to take on. But it’s a path that thousands of men and women choose to take as an expression of their love for Jesus. 

All over Australia, Chaplains are bringing hope in the midst of the most private moments in people’s lives. Death. Birth. Illness. Grief. Incarceration. Frailty. 

As part of our Scripture Grants Program, Bible Society Australia resources chaplains from around the country to do good work in: 

  • Hospitals 
  • Prisons 
  • Aged care homes 
  • Mental health units 
  •  Schools 
  • Palliative care. 

Carrying hope into hospitals in remote Australia 

634 km from home, a patient was recently receiving care in a hospital which cares for many First Nations people when he met Chaplain Douglas. 

This gentleman was from a remote Aboriginal community on the banks of the Roper River in Southern Arnhem Land. Far from his homeland, he needed something to comfort his heart and lift his spirits. 

The New Testament and Psalms book Douglas gave to this patient was received with thankfulness. 

At the next visit, the report from the nurse was that, “He has been reading this Bible you gave him out loud every day.” 

Spending time praying together, reading scripture and sharing their experiences with God encouraged both Douglas and the patient. And the impact extended to the entire hospital ward. 

Opening The Bible in Indigenous languages  

Chaplain Mary works in the same hospital. She says she’s so thankful for the amazing work of Bible Society Australia workers who are translating Scripture into Aboriginal languages. 

“I often think, ‘Wow. Thank you, God, for the gift of translation’,” Mary told us. 

“This Scripture is a Godsend. Many of our Christian patients want a copy of the Kriol Bible but can’t afford to buy one.” 

Thanks to the Scripture Grants Program, this is now possible. 

“We are able to gift these patients with Bibles in their heart languages,” said Mary. “And we as a team know those Bibles go back into remote communities and are well used.” 

Mary also set up a shelf in the hospital’s mental health unit with Scripture resources for the patients. 

“We’re providing Bibles and Gospels in several different Aboriginal languages,” she said. “And staff are encouraging patients to take them.” 

How can we better support chaplains? 

Chaplains are often volunteers or low paid ministry workers with little financial resourcing to carry out their work. 

“Unfortunately there’s no provision in our ministry budget for Bibles and Scripture materials,” Mary told us. “Many times, we order Aboriginal language Bibles online from Koorong and pay ourselves.” 

But the Bible Society Australia Scripture Grants Program is changing that by equipping and empowering chaplains like Mary and Douglas. 

“We are very thankful that Bible Society partners with us,” said Mary. “Together we can bring the Good News to urban, rural and remote communities in the Top End.” 

Help spread the Good News 

We love sharing about the work of Chaplains like Mary and Douglas. You can get involved by sharing, praying, and learning. 

  • Share:  Help spread the Good News and encourage others by sharing this story. 
  • Pray: Add Mary, Douglas, and chaplains all over Australia to your prayer list.
  • Learn: Find out more about our Indigenous Scripture projects at

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