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Celebrating Our Pioneers

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By Emily Viverette

51,343 encounters with patients, families and staff; 17,203 hours of care. These are the statistics for fiscal year 2014 in the Department of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Education at Wake Forest Medical Center. If you do the math, that’s about 717 consecutive days—nearly 2 years—of ministry hours. Incredible!

A large portion of these hours was the ministry of our ten chaplain residents who graduated on August 21. For 12 months, they served as the hands, feet and hearts of God both within the medical center and for the first time in over a decade, outside the medical center.

They created the altar pictured for their graduation service. On it are any number of items that symbolize their individuality and their common mission in chaplaincy: a Bible and chalice, tissues, a pen for the numerous Advance Directives they helped to execute, prayer boxes, and even a little comfort food. At the center of the altar sits a prayer wreath. Its ribbons symbolize prayers of grief and joy, gratitude and hope. The residents started this wreath in May. I can only imagine how full it might be if they had started it last August.

Our chaplain residents are heroes and pioneers in the work of FaithHealth in our community. Their commitment, flexibility, and faithfulness brought comfort, healing and hope to thousands this year. They accompanied many of our most vulnerable patients through unimaginable circumstances. They embraced the vision of FaithHealth as they broadened their vision to see and seek assistance for patients beyond discharge. For the first time, these chaplain residents formally partnered with environmental service workers on their units to care for patients.

In addition to being honored themselves, they chose to honor long-time hospital volunteer, Don Moss (who has completed over 56,000 hours of volunteer at the medical center). He is another hero who served tirelessly as a witness for hundreds of Advance Directives. It is heroes such as these that represent the growing FaithHealth movement and its future. Well done, Jeff Brice, Ashley Cyre, Patricia Greene, Abina Johnson, Maria Jones, Khelen Kuzmovich, Charolette Leach, Dana Patrick, Colin Shaw and Carol Wilkinson. Well done, good and faithful servants.

Photo: Ashley Cyre.

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