Christian Christians belong to a number of denominations and some groups which run across denominations. The most numerous in the UK are Anglicans (Church of England, Church in Wales, Church of Ireland, Scottish Episcopal Church); Roman Catholics, Church of Scotland and Free Church (including Baptist, Methodists, United Reformed, Pentecostal, Presbyterians, etc) and Quakers. Independent churches; in large cities especially there are communities of Orthodox Christians (from the historic churches of Greece, Russia, etc.Seventh-day Adventists are part of the Christian tradition but differ in some key respects from mainstream Churches and so have a separate section - see below. See the Chinese Christian section for specific needs of Chinese Christians.
Christians in the UK may be from any ethnic group. Church services usually take place in English, ( or in Welsh and Gaelic).
In general, Christians are not religiously forbidden to eat any foods, but this must be checked with the individual. Some will not consume alcohol.
Roman Catholics may abstain from meat on Fridays; Orthodox will abstain from meat in the fasting seasons of Advent and Lent. Those of African and African Caribbean origin may fast at other times.
No special code of dress for Christians except for clergy and members of religious orders.
Most would have no objections to being touched by members of the opposite sex for medical purposes.
Treatment such as blood transfusions, surgery, organ transplants or the administration of drugs is permissible. Jehovah’s Witnesses (not regarded as Christians by most Christian organizations) are forbidden to receive blood transfusions and transplants – see below.
If a person is terminally ill, or dying, they may wish to keep a copy of the Bible close at hand. Survivors, their families and friends, should be allocated a quiet place at survivor and reception centers, which can be used for private prayer or to talk to a priest or minister.
Many Christians pray daily, and often use the Lord’s Prayer. Daily reading from the Bible, and/or other aids to prayer such as a Cross or Crucifix (a Cross with the figure of Christ), a hymnbook or prayer book, a rosary (prayer beads with a small crucifix), or an icon of Christ or the Virgin Mary are all widely used, though preferences should be checked with the individual. All of these could helpfully be provided in a chapel or quiet place. Sunday is the special day, set apart for prayer, reflection, and church attendance. Christians pray in congregations, small groups or individually. The most important event for most congregations is the Eucharist (the Mass, Communion Service, Lord’s Supper), when Christians share bread and wine. The most widely celebrated Christian festivals are: -
♦ HolyWeekandEaster(including Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday)
♦ The seasons of Advent(leading up to Christmas) and Lent(leading up to Easter)
♦ Remembrance Sunday
Christians involved in a disaster will value prayers being said for them, or with them, and short readings from scripture, such as the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rdPsalm. Those who are injured or distressed may wish to receive Holy Communion and/or the Sacrament of the Sick (which used to be called Extreme Unction). The Sacrament of the Sick is not limited to those who are dying, but is part of the healing ministry of the Church. Other Christians may ask for prayer for healing with the laying on of hands.
The choice between cremation and burial can either be a matter of personal choice or a denominational requirement. In all cases, the wishes of the deceased’s family, or friends, should be sought if possible. If this cannot be done, then Christians should be buried.
The sacred text is the Bible, which for Christians consists of the Old Testament (or Hebrew Scriptures), and the New Testament, bound as a single book. Of the translations of the Bible, the New Revised Standard Version, the Authorized version and the Jerusalem Bible are recognized by Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians. Other versions are favored by evangelical Christians. Emergency Planners should discuss with church authorities the possible use of church facilities in a major emergency.
Christians have one or more given names, usually called Christian names because for most Christians these were given historically at the service of baptism, which for most happened when the infant was a few weeks old. These names are followed by the surname or family name, which is constant for men. Many women change to their husband’s surname on marriage, though this custom is changing. Individuals may not be known by their first Christian name, so it is always wise to ask, “What should I call you?” or for a funeral “What name should I use?”
Christian Science is a prayer-based system of healing that is fully explained in Mary Baker Eddy’s book ScienceandHealthwithKeytotheScriptures, currently published in 17 languages.Some people who follow the practices of Christian Science choose to become members of the Church of Christ, Scientist, the organization Eddy established to make these teachings available and accessible, but others do not.
Christian Science has been practiced around the world for over a century by individuals of various faith traditions, as well as by those with no formal faith tradition. Consequently, people of diverse cultures and languages practice Christian Science.
Individuals make their own decisions regarding diet.
Individuals make their own decisions regarding fasting.
No particular requirements.
In the practice of Christian Science, respect for individual choice in questions of healthcare or any other aspect of daily life is paramount. Many Christian Scientists rely on their own prayer for healing of adverse health conditions. Some may also ask for help from a Christian Science practitioner - a professional spiritual healer who employs the Christian Science method of healing. (There is a world-wide directory of practitioners in each issue of TheChristianScienceJournal, a monthly magazine.) However, individuals are always free to choose conventional medical treatment or other complementary and alternative therapies.
If a Christian Scientist were taken to a hospital because of an accident, for example, and chose to decline conventional medical treatment, this would ordinarily mean that the individual was choosing instead, as a competent adult, to rely on prayer for healing (individually or with the help of a Christian Science practitioner). Such an individual would co-operate with authorities to take appropriate actions, such as quarantine, which may be considered necessary to protect others.
Individuals relying on Christian Science may ask to be re-tested, or to have a pending procedure re-evaluated after having had time to pray for healing. If a Christian Scientist entered a hospital voluntarily, the individual would probably accept conventional medical treatment. He/she might ask that drugs/therapy be kept to a minimum. Individuals make their own decisions about blood transfusions and organ/tissue donation.
Doctors, nurses, mental health professionals and chaplains will find that there are many meaningful ways they can show support for patients relying on Christian Science. Where possible, the best way to ascertain what would be most helpful in any circumstance is to ask the individual patient. Some of the following might be requested by a patient, or could be offered by the healthcare worker:
♦ Providing the patient time and a quiet space to pray, during the various stages of diagnosis and treatment.
♦ Facilitating the patient’s contact with a Christian Science practitioner.
♦ Making sure that the patient has access to the Bible and Scienceand
♦ Reading aloud to the patient requested passages from these books (or other Christian Science literature).
There are no prescribed holy days. Members would normally attend services and meetings at Church on Sundays and Wednesday evenings. Christian Scientists study a weekly Bible Lesson, a collection of topic- specific passages from the Bible and ScienceandHealth.
There are no specified last rites. Such issues are an individual/family decision.
Questions relating to care of the body should be answered by the individual’s partner/ family. In general, Christian Scientists request that, whenever possible, the body of a female should be prepared for burial by a female. The individual’s family should answer questions relating to post mortem examinations.
Those who have been endowed in a Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wear a special undergarment next to the skin. Mormons are always soberly dressed.
Necessary medical treatment can be carried out without delay and surgery and blood transfusions may be carried out as necessary. Transplants and organ donation are an individual and family matter; there are no religious objections.
Scripture reading is considered an important part of daily life. The Sabbath is observed on Sundays, with services conducted by lay leaders called bishops. Christmas and Easter are important celebrations in the Church.
Members may request a priesthood blessing. A quiet private place is appropriate for the blessing
The Church takes no position on post mortem examinations. Church or family members will usually arrange for the body to be clothed for burial. Burial rather than cremation is recommended by the Church, but the final decision is left for the family of the deceased.
The Bible and the BookofMormon:AnotherTestamentof JesusChrist– are regarded as the word of God.
Although Mormon individuals and families are advised to be prepared spiritually and temporally to meet both problems of everyday life and emergencies that may arise, local Church leaders have the responsibility to organize proper responses to assist individuals and families in an emergency. Church branches are encouraged to prepare detailed EmergencyPreparednessandResponsePlans, based on principles contained in ProvidingintheLord’sWay. Branch Welfare Committees are identified as the coordinators if disaster strikes.
In addition to English, Hindus in the UK generally speak Gujerati (most common), Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali or Tamil.
Hindus regard the cow as sacred and do not eat beef. Orthodox Hindus are strictly vegetarian, which also excludes fish, eggs and animal fat for cooking. Some may also prefer to refrain from alcohol, and some very orthodox Hindus may refrain from garlic and in extreme cases onion. Salt- free salads, rice, vegetables, yoghurt and milk products and fruit are quite acceptable foods to offer.
Fasting is commonplace and frequent but fasts generally last just one day or one day a week (e.g. Lord Shiva’s fasting every Monday for 17 weeks, where yoghurt at lunch with water or fruit juice and a normal light meal in the evening is permitted). Hindu women keeping the Karvachauthfast in Autumn cannot even drink water until the moon is seen at night.
Generally, modesty and decency are considered essential factors in dress code. The sari is a one-piece female garment wound around the lower body in different styles to suit the occasion and the tradition from which the person comes. (NB Older Bangladeshi and Indian Muslim women also wear saris. Women also wear a dress and baggy trousers (shalwar). Men may sometimes wear a loose shirt (Kurta) and baggy trousers but generally they wear Western clothes.
A Hindu would prefer to be comforted by a person of the same sex. There is no stated preference in respect of medical examination and treatment.
Blood transfusions, organ transplants, and all types of medicine for the purpose of saving life are permitted.
Hindus traditionally live in extended families, so information or requests (e.g. for organ donation) should be made by the authorities to the head of the family to be passed on without delay to the rest of the family unit, where this is practicable. Some groupings within the Hindu community are men only or women-only and the authorities should always appoint a person of the appropriate sex to liaise with such a grouping.
Hindus will generally perform a daily act of personal devotion at home, either alone or with others. Ritual washing normally accompanies prayer. The most widely celebrated Hindu festivals are:
♦ Holi:A celebration at the start of spring, with much use of color
♦ Janamashtami: there is fasting until midnight
♦ Divali: the festival of lights
♦ Shivaratri:the night is spent in prayer, fasting and meditation.
Most fatally ill Hindus would prefer to pray with a mala(rosary). A Hindu will appreciate being with someone, preferably of the same sex.
It is preferred if all Hindu bodies can be kept together after death. A dead body should be placed with the head facing north and the feet south. Cleanliness is important and the body can be undressed and cleaned, but the family should be consulted where possible. The arms should be placed to the sides and the legs should be straightened. The face should be pointed upward with eyes closed and the whole body must be covered with white cloth. Any detached body parts must be treated with respect as if they were a complete body. Post mortems are permitted, usually with prior agreement of the immediate family. The bereavement in the family lasts a minimum of two weeks during which several rituals are followed. Hindus believe in cremating the body so that the soul is completely free of any attachment to the past physical matter.
The Hindu ancient scriptures are called the Vedas and contain, amongst other texts, the Upanishads,philosophical works discussing the purpose of life, and the Brahmanas, which contain advice on ritual. The BhagawadGita is a prominent holy book with condensed spiritual teachings, and the Ramayanasets the highest ideals.
Members of Hindu families may have three or four names, depending on cultural background and tradition. Suffixes to the first name are used, e.g.,‘Bhai’ or ‘Ji’ for males and ‘Ben’ for females. In some traditions the father’s first name is one of the middle names. Other middle names, which may be used as surnames are Kumar, Pal or Paul, Dev, Lal etc. Sometimes the surname is clan based as Patel or in case of Rajputs, Singh. Some Hindu women may adopt 'Devi', 'Kumari' or 'Wati' in place of a family surname. For records, it is advisable to ask the individual’s family name and use that as surname. Hindu equivalents to Mr and Mrs are Shri and Shrimati, commonly used, but for Miss one can use Sushai/Kumari/Devi but rarely used. In written records and invitations the practice is to say Shrimati and Shri (surname), i.e. Mrs and Mr (surname).