In the Good Times as Well as the Bad

People - Freeman, LarryThe ministry of chaplaincy is all about relationships. It is about the 'ministry of presence' or being there for people in order to speak to them about a personal
relationship with Christ.

February 15, 2011 was a Tuesday during the March school break. I was at home after work when the call came from the Emergency Department that they needed me immediately. A young man out snowmobiling with some friends had hit a dock in the dark and had been thrown from his machine. He arrived at the hospital 'vital signs absent' and had succumbed to his injuries. My role was to assist his family and friends and to support our staff providing care for the parents, siblings and friends as they dealt with this tragedy. I stayed with them until they were ready to take the difficult step of leaving the hospital. Then I stayed until things were wrapped up in the Emergency Department.

The next day the funeral home contacted me. The parents wondered if I would be available to conduct the funeral service. At the funeral, the young man’s stepmother referred to me as her “guardian angel” because in her words, "every time I turned around, Larry was right there." Over the course of the next months, I had occasional encounters with them.

Later that fall I received a message on my answering machine from the dad. Because I had walked with his family through a very dark period, he was wondering if I would join them for a happier occasion. His daughter was getting married and he wondered if I would do the ceremony. After talking to the daughter and her fiancé, I agreed, and began meeting with them for some premarital counseling. I was able to share with this young couple a far different picture of what God's design for marriage than they had previously understood.

Seeds have been planted, both at the funeral and at the wedding, and my prayer is that this relationship that has begun with this family will bear fruit.


Larry Freeman is the Chaplain for both Lakeland and the West Parry Sound Health Centre. While the role of Chaplain is diverse, perhaps the most obvious contribution is providing emotional support to residents, family and staff during times of personal crisis. However, Larry's responsibilities go far beyond that.

As a member of Lakeland's management team, Larry contributes largely to the overall operation of the home. Specifically, Larry's responsibilities include organizing all church functions within the home (of all denominations), running specific programs such as bible study and acting as liaison between Lakeland and all clergy.

Larry also participates in a variety of Lakeland Spirit activities, even volunteering to be Santa during the Lakeland Staff Christmas Party. If there is anyone who epitomizes the Lakeland Spirit it is Larry Freeman. His commitment to the residents and dedication to the success of Lakeland is evident to all.

—From the Lakeland Long Term care Website.