From a young age, The Rev’d Peter Williams dreamed of becoming a doctor and says missing out on medical school “was a huge disappointment in my life”.
But entering retirement after 33 years of hospital chaplaincy, Peter can safely say he found where he was meant to be.
“I look back now and I think that in it all, we see God’s great sense of humour,” he says.
“For three-quarters of 40 odd years I’ve been in full-time ministry I’ve worked in a hospital, I’ve worked with doctors, I’ve worked with nurses.
“Instead of caring about the body of people’s physical ailments I’ve cared about their spiritual ailments, and that’s been a real joy.”
Peter began his service as a hospital chaplain at Flinders Medical Centre in 1983, gradually leaving behind parish ministry, and in 2004 moved to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Although he has retired, Peter will leave this challenging area of service with a unique perspective on life and ministry.
“You never know what you’re going to get, you get called to a ward and you really don’t know what you’re going to be faced with,” he says.
“I have learnt that one of the important things is to be able to stop and be able to listen to people and to put my ideas on hold.”
Helping people and their families through times of great hardship and vulnerability has been rewarding work.
“I find even in situations when there’s grief, there’s an appreciation that people have that you’ve come,” Peter says.
“It might be a thank you, it might just be a smile – they’re all gifts.”