WakeMed Health & Hospitals is celebrating 40 years of providing interfaith spiritual care for patients and their families.
A special program and reception on Thursday, Nov. 12, will honor those who have worked in the hospital’s spiritual care department as well as those who have been on the receiving end of their comfort and support.
WakeMed offers post-graduate training in Clinical Pastoral Education, which is an international program.
“We really teach ministers and divinity school students how to be chaplains,” said Lil Galphin, supervisor of the department of spiritual care at WakeMed. “It’s not just learning about how to visit people in the hospital. They learn about themselves and how their histories impact what they do in the hospital.”
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WakeMed hired its first hospital chaplain in 1972 after a deadly sniper attack at the former North Hills Mall. A 23-year-old man drove to the Raleigh mall’s parking lot and starting shooting at shoppers. Four people died, and seven were injured.
Before that incident, individual faith leaders tended to members of their own congregations during hospitalization.
But after the sniper crisis, and as the local population grew, hospital leaders saw a need for faith-based support on staff. By 1975, WakeMed had hired educators to guide residents and interns through the CPE program.
“They are clinically trained to understand more deeply the conversations and are able to offer more helpful insights,” said Galphin. “It’s a practical kind of education that extends their divinity school education.”
The CPE curriculum teaches chaplains to support patients and their families in a spiritual yet nondenominational way.
“What we do is not impose our faith on families and patients in the hospital, but try to draw their faith out so that the situations and rituals and beliefs that they have are coming out to help them to heal and to find hope in the midst of some pretty difficult situations,” Galphin said.
Galphin said offering spiritual care in the hospital is a perfect complement to the medical care offered by doctors, nurses and other members of the staff that helps patients to heal in body, mind and spirit.
“Bringing it all together is a way for that person to put all their energy into their belief system and their values into their health and their healing,” Galphin said.
Faith can be a powerful force in both sickness and in health.
“Most people have had other times in their lives where they have had difficulties and their faith has been a part of their healing with that. We try to help them remember those kinds of situations. It is a time to highlight that and pull it out and let it be a resource,” Galphin said.
WakeMed’s CPE outreach has moved beyond the walls of the hospital. Spiritual care is now offered at Urban Ministries, InterAct, the Helen Wright Center for Women and other locations around Wake County.
Holiday Craft Fair and Bake Sale
Unity Church of Raleigh will host its Holiday Craft Fair and Bake Sale from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14.
The handmade items for sale include wool hats, soaps, jewelry, aprons, glassware, toys, greeting cards, art and more. There will also be a Thanksgiving bake sale.
Unity Church of Raleigh is located at 11101 Creedmoor Road, on Amran Temple Drive.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will host its monthly SHiNE service at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15. SHiNE is for worshippers of all abilities and their families.
The church is located at 7000 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh.
Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus each week. Email her with details of upcoming events at firstname.lastname@example.org.