Decisions about care and surgery for children born with intersex conditions/DSDs are often made soon after birth. Healthcare chaplains are on the front lines of pastoral and spiritual support for the parents of children with intersex conditions/DSDs, but may not receive specific training or resourcing to equip them for ministering to intersex people and their families.
As part of the Intersex, Identity and Disability project, the Lincoln Theological Institute is working with healthcare chaplains in Britain to survey the nature of existing resources on intersex/DSD and to find out what form of training or resourcing would be most valuable.
We would be particularly interested to hear from healthcare chaplains or chaplaincy trainers who know of existing materials on intersex/DSD used by those ministering in this context.
Briefing Paper: "Intersex Conditions (DSDs) and Pastoral Care: A Guide for Healthcare Chaplains, Ministers and Pastoral Carers"
A briefing paper entitled "Intersex Conditions (DSDs) and Pastoral Care: A Guide for Healthcare Chaplains, Ministers and Pastoral Carers", is now available to download from the Resources link to the right of this page. It is designed particularly for people concerned with the pastoral and spiritual care of people with intersex conditions/DSDs and the families of intersex children – for example, Christian ministers, and those who work in healthcare chaplaincy.
Appendix A to this paper provides contact details for support groups for intersex people and the families of babies and children with intersex conditions/DSDs. Appendix B provides a resource designed for Christian parents whose child has been born with an intersex condition/DSD. Appendix C is a multi-faith version of this resource.
These resources are also available to download separately. They are specifically designed to be used by chaplains when ministering to parents of children with intersex conditions/DSDs who already have a faith and are concerned about spiritual issues raised by intersex/DSD. One of them, "You Knit Me Together In My Mother's Womb", is for use with Christian families. The other, "A Precious Creation", is for use with families of other faiths. These resources are freely available to download as PDF files.
You may also download, print and distribute the leaflets, but if you do so you are asked to e-mail email@example.com to help us keep track of where the leaflets are being used. Each is designed to be printed out back-to-back as required and then folded into a single A5 leaflet. You are also asked to check for updates to the leaflets during the active life of the project (2011-13) and to ensure you are using the most recent versions available.
Prayers for use by Healthcare Chaplains when Ministering to Families of Children with Intersex Conditions/DSDs
The following prayers are taken from the Church of England Common Worship service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child (see http://www.churchofengland.org/media/41171/ciritesontheway.pdf). They may be helpful to you if you are a healthcare chaplain working with a family whose child has been born with an intersex condition/DSD.
1. Prayer of Thanksgiving
God our creator,
we thank you for the wonder of new life
and for the mystery of human love.
We thank you for all whose support and skill
surround and sustain the beginning of life.
We thank you that we are known to you by name
and loved by you from all eternity.
We thank you for Jesus Christ,
who has opened to us the way of love.
We praise you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
2. Prayer for Health Workers
Father almighty, we give you thanks
for all concerned with the care of N [this mother]
and the safe birth of N [her child ].
We pray for the doctors and nurses,
midwives and health visitors,
and all who will support the health and welfare of this family
in the coming years.
May they be filled with your love,
moved by your compassion
and supported by your presence.
We ask this in Jesus’ name.
3. Prayer when a Child has Special Needs
Living God, creator of us all,
we thank you for entrusting N [this child]
into the special care of N and N [these parents].
Give them and all who surround them
wisdom and understanding, courage and patience;
give them grace to put aside fear and anxiety
and to fulfil your purposes;
fill their hearts with your unfailing love,
that N [this child] may grow up secure in giving and receiving love
and in the enjoyment of your presence,
to enrich our lives and the lives of others
in ways beyond our imagining,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.