Spiritual Care Together
Suggestions, Ideas and Resources – old and new – for observing Spiritual Care Week
Objective 1: To celebrate the education for and practice of Spiritual care:
Create an article, insert, poster or bulletin board with the theme:
- What is a Spiritual Care Professional?
- How does one become a Chaplain?
- Why and how I became a Chaplain.
- Who is the Spiritual Care Professional?
- What goes on in your Chaplain Center?
Organize an activity that seeks to support the spiritual well-being of those we serve.
Organize an educative event explaining what the education is for and practice of spiritual care through professional chaplaincy and pastoral counseling.
Feature a chaplain, a pastoral counselor or the chaplaincy program in the house communication, church paper or local newspaper.
Invite CPE personnel to make a presentation to the administration.
Objective 2: To interpret and promote spiritual care:
WHEN IS IT TIME TO CALL THE CHAPLAIN? - Do an article, brochure or flyer with the picture of the chaplain or chaplain team.
Have a luncheon seminar on WHAT IS SPIRITUAL CARE AND WHEN DOES IT MAKE SENSE?
Have a SPIRITUAL CARE FAIR giving out brochures and SCW material.
Plan a FUN QUIZ to bring to the different areas of the institution offering treats and small prizes for taking the quiz.
Objective 3: To honor and celebrate all practitioners of spiritual care:
Request that the mayor, the governor or the legislature issue a declaration celebrating Spiritual Care Week (see Proclamation elsewhere on this site). Publicize widely.
Join forces to celebrate with Pastoral Counseling Centers, CPE training centers, small private group practices, psychotherapy centers, addiction treatment centers, jail, prison and military chaplains.
Give special attention to parishes and volunteers who support the work of the pastoral care department.
Invite them to a prayer service, blessing, re-commissioning.
Give small gifts, thank you cards, prayer cards or flowers to acknowledge them.
Offer an in-service, enrichment event or retreat.
Provide a lunch or ice-cream social.
Feature a volunteer, describing the work.
Give an award.
Objective 4: To express appreciation to institutions and their staff who support spiritual care ministries:
Send a letter of thanks to administration and other staff supportive of your work. Have an open house of appreciation for them.
Take out an ad in your local newspaper expressing appreciation to the institution and its employees who support spiritual care. Include a picture of the spiritual care staff.
Do an article in the institution's newsletter describing support received. Illustrate with brief stories.
Objective 5: To publicize the work of spiritual care organizations affiliated with the COMISS network:
Do some research on "the spiritual care story". Use the information to educate the general public.
Hold a Peace Service with peace poems from Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity.
Objective 6: To promote continued education for clergy, laity and institutional employees regarding the value of spiritual care:
Sponsor a clergy appreciation day for area clergy.
Provide a well-known speaker for inspiration and discussion.
Have a "Lunch and Learn" on the value of spiritual care as demonstrated by research.
Sponsor a poetry contest for all employees of the institution leading to a luncheon or dinner of readings.
Ideas for Celebrating Spiritual Care Week
For General Use:
"We gave cookies and punch out to employees on all three shifts."
"The employees loved the pens and buttons."
"I placed a table tent on each table in the cafeteria."
"Our local TV station came out for our balloon launch."
"We planned a lunch for the administrators and gave each of them a sports bottle and T-shirt."
"I invited the community clergy in for a brunch and had our hospital administrator thank them for their spiritual support to our patients."
"We had a special event each day, like Bibles given by the Gideon Society, etc."
For Correctional Chaplains
"I invited the area clergy in to lead a special service for the inmates. We then had refreshments and special pastries from our prison bakery that we shared together."
"We brought in a special guest speaker who then took some time to make rounds with the chaplain."
"We had the inmates that assist the chaplains to send special letters of affirmation to our area bishops and judicatories."
"We had several inmates join us in writing letters to clergy that we knew, thanking them for their ministry."
For Pastoral Counselors
"We invited in area clergy for doughnuts and coffee followed by a special presentation by a nationally recognized speaker."
"I decided I needed to get together with my peers in the city and so we planned a half day retreat at a nearby park."
"Our counseling center gave each counselor on the staff a special gift." "The area ministerial alliance sent each of us a certificate of appreciation."
Reports of the Celebration of Pastoral Care Week
Report for 2016
Texas Medical Center, Houston, TX - submitted by Chaplain Robert Kidd
In the Texas Medical Center, we are fortunate to have a large number of BCCs and CPE students. In honor of National Pastoral Care week for the past two years, we have had a city-wide convocation of professional chaplains and CPE students. This year will be our third city-wide observance and will be hosted by MD Anderson Cancer Center. At this year’s event—as in years past--chaplains and students from the Houston area gather for an interfaith service of thanksgiving and recommitment, then (naturally!) gather for a catered lunch. Around 110 attended last year. This year, we are making a special push to ask chaplain directors to invite their executive direct reports to the gathering as well in order to raise executives’ awareness of spiritual care.
Report for 2015
North Carolina Chaplains Association—submitted by Chaplain Beth Jackson-Jordan
The attached letter was prepared for members of the Association to send to their administrators.
Click here to download the letter!
Reports for 2014
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) invited their endorsed chaplains & pastoral counselors to write a blog in observance of Pastoral Care Week, 2014. Six blogs were posted. (www.cbfblog.com)
CBF was then recognized by the Religious Communicator’s Council in 2015 for Outstanding Blog Series.
Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron, OH - submitted by Chaplain Matt Tweddle
This past fall, we at Akron Children’s Hospital celebrated Pastoral Care Week in a variety of ways. In keeping with the theme of “Spiritual Well-Being”, our primary focus centered on the well-being of our hospital staff. Throughout the more intensive units of our hospital we created “Respite Rooms” so that staff could take a short break from their busy day to relax and de-stress. Upon entering the room, staff members were greeted by calming music and (artificial) candle light. Within the room, we provided many options for relaxing and therapeutic activities. Staff could trace the path of a labyrinth, provide color to the intricate design of a mandala, or work with molding clay to create a meaningful sculpture or simply to free their mind by working the clay in their hands. But with all of this, the main attraction of these rooms was the offer of free chair massages. Staff members had the opportunity to sign up for a 10 minute relaxing massage in a calming and nurturing environment. These chair massages were also made available to all of the hospital staff in a large conference room, and it is no surprise that all of the open times were filled. In addition to providing the Respite Rooms and massages, we delivered gift bags of pens, notepads and candy to the individual units in the hospital, and we created a Pastoral Care themed word search. All employees who completed and returned the word search were entered in a drawing and the winner received a gift basket from our Chaplaincy Services department. In all, it was a great week to celebrate our Chaplaincy Services department, bring attention to many of the things that we do in the hospital, and to provide good care to the hospital staff. We are already looking forward to 2015 and doing Spiritual Care Together!
Baylor Scott & White Health, Temple, TX - submitted by Chaplain Ahmed Aquino
Led by our Support and Palliative Care Division, we instituted the Spiritual Care Grand Rounds. In 2013: Prophetic Voice our Grand Round topic was: “Medicine’s Search for Meaning.” In 2014: Spiritual Well Being our topic was “Dealing with Family Dynamics that Interfere with Patient Care.” In 2013 an interdisciplinary panel shared their prophetic voice regarding spiritual meaning in medicine. In 2014 we received instruction on how to communicate with our patients and families in a way that does not bring more stress on them and on us.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, OH - submitted by Chaplain Marianne Wilson
We have not been using the theme, but we do some things for Pastoral Care week. We have a table outside of our cafeteria during lunch one day – we display some items about the history of Pastoral Care, religious resources we provide, etc. We usually have a few things to give away and we offer to do hand blessings. When we are able, we have reserved our auditorium and had various ‘stations’ featuring different kinds of spiritual practice – mandalas, labyrinth (we have a portable one), sand gardens, etc. Some years we have offered massage.
City of Hope, Duarte, CA - submitted by Chaplain Terry Irish
Here is a summary of our Oct. 20-24, 2014 SPIRITUAL CARE WEEK activities @ City of Hope using the theme “Spiritual Well-Being!” : A group from San Diego Cancer Research hung over 1000 prayer flags in the Brawerman Clinic Atrium. A talk regarding the prayer flag collection was given in our Blank Meditation Center. Later that week, people were invited to make their own prayer flags, which were added to this collection. We set up a Tea for the Soul in the hallway of the Brawerman Out-patient Clinics Atrium, where approximately 600 patients are seen by our medical staff every day, featuring fresh-baked cookies from one of the finest bakeries in the area, as well as hot coffee, a wide variety of teas, and the opportunity for passers-by to chat with a chaplain if they wished. We also had informational handouts available regarding the Division of Spiritual Care Services here at COH. The “Angels of Love” team from Orange County, California, gave away miniature angel figurines cast from 24-carat gold to patients and family members.
Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, MI - submitted by Chaplain Bonnie J. Meyer
For Pastoral Care Week 2014 we did several things to highlight the work of our department. We provided an opportunity for staff to come to our chapels on Wednesday that week at designated times to receive a “Blessing of the Hands.” We purchased the Pastoral Care Week table tents and placed them in staff lounges during the week. We entered a series of three blogs on InSite, our system communication page. Here’s an example:
“Pastoral Care Week Reflection: A Moment in the Day of a Spectrum Health Chaplain
In our role as Professional Chaplains at Spectrum Health we provide individualized prayers and rituals at end of life to help patients and families find meaning and comfort. One way this we offer this comfort is through the giving of a quilt which has been hand-made by a volunteer.
Recently I looked over the quilt collection in the Pastoral Care office to select a quilt for a farmer who was leaving the hospital to go home on hospice that day. I chose a quilt with John Deere tractors on it, hoping the patient was not an advocate of another brand of tractor!
As I entered the patient’s room with the quilt, the farmer’s son wept and struggled to get out the words: ‘My Dad had John Deere tractors. Thank you so much.’
Why the tears? What happened in that simple exchange? Was it that the hospital experience became more personalized? Was it that, for the son, his father’s life was validated? As chaplains we don’t always get to know the answers to these questions, and yet, we continue to guide patients and their families to find meaning and purpose in their lives.”
LAC USC Medical Center Spiritual Care Week Celebration
“The 2016 theme, Spiritual Resilience, acknowledges the role of Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors to support the spiritual resilience or growth of it in those we serve. Spiritual Resilience represents one’s ability to navigate through, or recover from, life’s most challenging moments. Spiritual Resilience finds its roots in one’s sense of spirituality and related ractices, religion or beliefs, values, and outlook. It also represents the individual’s ability to gain, maintain or revise a sense of purpose and eaning, relationships, connections to the sacred, nature, and understanding of themselves and the world around them. These traumatic life events and losses invite the professional who can nurture spiritual resiliency. Pastoral/Spiritual Care week provides a unique opportunity to both have a conversation to address suffering related to loss and trauma and to seek opportunities for strengthening spiritual resilience amid them.” Www.apc.org
Here at LAC USC Medical Center, Spiritual Care is part of the holistic care of our patients that respects their spiritual path with “story catching” and honoring their reflections or concerns around hope, relationships, forgiveness and meaning in their lives.
SPIRITUAL CARE WEEK 2016 invites us all to the gift of RESILENCE, as staff often we are the “second victims of trauma,” to listen to each other as we care for our patients, to be attentive to our colleagues concerns from home and “home” issues.
SPIRITUAL RESILENCE reminds us that each of us are precious, reflections of love, instruments of peace and healing; members of the humanity that wishes and promises the best for those we serve, while honoring our own humanity with our own struggles and blessings.
The meditation chapel in IPT and Labyrinth in the plaza are open 24/7 for your pause in SPIRITUAL RESILENCE.
Blessings to all, Rev. Fr. Chris Ponnet, Director Spiritual Care at LAC USC
LITANY OF SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE by Rev. Chris Ponnet
SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE….. we gather to dream for the future.
SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE….we gather to remember those who prepared us for this moment.
SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE... we gather to pause and be aware whom we serve.
SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE… we pause to be thankful for the lesson we learn from patients, each other and life.
SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE… we pause in this moment in the USA time of local and national elections.
SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE … we pause in this moment of refugees and immigrants fears and physical needs.
SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE…we pause in the moment when street violence takes the lives of first responders, youth, people of color and person targeted for sexual orientation and diversity of faiths.
SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE… we celebrate the gifts that we each bring to a world in need.
SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE… we celebrate the gifts that we bring together in a world in need of healing.
SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE… we celebrate the gifts that we are given each day with sunrise and sunset.
SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE… we celebrate the friends and loves in our lives that nurtures our spirits.
SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE… we let go of the past so that we can experience the moment and the future.
SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE… may all be well, may all be in healing, may all be in peace.
Bob Dylan – Blowin' In The Wind Lyrics
How many roads must a man walk down Before you call him a man ?
How many seas must a white dove sail Before she sleeps in the sand ?
Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly Before they're forever banned ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind The answer is blowin' in the wind.
Yes, how many years can a mountain exist Before it's washed to the sea ?
Yes, how many years can some people exist Before they're allowed to be free ?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head Pretending he just doesn't see ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind The answer is blowin' in the wind.
Yes, how many times must a man look up Before he can see the sky ?
Yes, how many ears must one man have Before he can hear people cry ?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind The answer is blowin' in the wind.
Songwriters: BOB DYLAN Blowin' In The Wind lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO