For the first time, Bethany Children’s Health Center is hosting nine students from the School of Ministry at Mid America Christian University (MACU) for an eight-week training program. The students are at the hospital for two-hour sessions on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Weekly sessions include 45 minutes of training on topics ranging from confidentiality, spiritual wellbeing and distress, listening, cultural competency, spirituality and religion, communication and grief care. Materials from the Healthcare Chaplaincy Network, as well as supplemental materials are being used in the training. The students assist in chapels in the units and are assigned patients to visit, particularly in the Complex Care area.
Chaplain Dorothy Bayles was contacted by Justin Key, Associate Professor, School of Ministry at Mid-America Christian University, to explore the possibility of sending students to the hospital. “We were thrilled to participate in this program,” Dorothy says. “We have had dreams of training students, and this occurred sooner than we anticipated.”
MACU student, Kaitlynn Bloomfield feels she has grown in her first four weeks of training.
“The first week I was at the hospital, the Lord set up my heart to be softened. Every week after, I have seen Jesus through the smiles and laughter that comes from my silly dance moves, or even through the way little babies hold on to my fingers and refuse to let go,” Kaitlynn shares. “God is present in every visit and sees every child. He loves them so well, and I hope my presence can be a little part to help show that love.”
Dorothy believes that the student’s experience in this practicum at Bethany Children’s Health Center will greatly influence and shape their ministry careers.
Kaitlynn echoes that sentiment, saying, “I will be forever grateful for this opportunity, this organization, and for Job and Dorothy. I have never seen children so loved and cared for. I will never forget this.”
The hospital’s ministry will continue to grow, thanks to a grant from the Butterfield Memorial Foundation, which helped fund Clinical Pastoral Supervision Training for our chaplains. This training will qualify the chaplains to supervise Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) for other chaplains in ministry settings. CPE is the primary method of training hospital and hospice chaplains. The CPE program benefits the hospital by enhancing the possibilities of more people to provide spiritual care for patients, families and staff.
In spring of 2022, MACU will be sending interns to the hospital for another newly developed program by Butterfield Foundation, called the Eric Baird Spiritual Care Internship, which will be more concentrated in focus.
The importance of these programs extends far beyond the walls of the hospital. When Dorothy first came to the hospital Albert Gray spoke to her about the patients’ message and voice to the community that needed to be heard.
“Indeed, we are honored to serve and care for the patients. They in turn have a ministry and voice to their families, staff, and the world,” Dorothy explains. “The patients provide a ministry of unconditional love and presence that spreads throughout the community when students and volunteers interact through opportunities like this practicum. In turn, these students gain experience and grow in their pastoral identity to pass this on in other settings.”