Islamic prayer service at UChicago Medicine
In collaboration with International Programs and the Spiritual Care department, UChicago Medicine now provides ongoing Jum’ah prayer (also known as Friday prayer) to Muslim patients, their families, staff and students.
UChicago’s Spirit Life hosts Jum’ah prayer, a congregational Muslim worship that occurs midday every Friday, at the Bond Chapel. However, the distance made it difficult for patients and employees to participate and when school is not in session, the chapel is unavailable. During these times, the Spiritual Care department made the Center for Care and Discovery’s 7th floor chapel available.
Marsha Sumner, M. Div, UChicago Medicine’s spiritual care manager, felt it was time for UCM to provide a prayer service of its own and shared the situation with partners across the Medical Center who also agreed.
“More than 100 people could be in attendance at any given service,” she said. “We needed to be equipped with prayer rugs and adequate space to provide the best experience.”
International Programs learned of the situation and decided to work with Spiritual Care on the initiative.
“An important part of caring for our patients and staff includes addressing their spiritual needs,” said Diala Atassi of International Programs.
International Programs worked with the Facilities, Planning, Design and Construction department and identified a larger space, room L-107 of the Wyler Pavilion. The space is managed by an International Program team member, and a budget was established to purchase prayer rugs and to hire a part-time Muslim chaplain. The chaplain will also provide spiritual support for Muslim patients and their families and serve as the imam (prayer leader).
“It has been a longtime dream to provide Jum’ah prayer to UChicago Medicine’s Muslim community,” Sumner said. “This is a great example of an interdisciplinary endeavor that shows the true heart of our hospital.”