‘A ministry of love’
Rev. Sandy Hutchinson has served as chaplain at Chapel Hill Retirement Community in Canal Fulton, Ohio, since 2001. Rev. Sandy provides spiritual support for residents, families and staff. She conducts ecumenical Sunday worship services and weekly Bible study. She makes hospital calls, attends funerals and calling hours, or arranges services when requested. She has officiated at a few weddings and once even baptized a resident.
“Spiritual care for me is the one-on-one building of relationships. When residents, family members and staff know me, they are more willing to open up about their fears, worries and concerns. I do a lot of reassurances that they are indeed God’s child. My ministry is one of love, not fear,” Rev. Sandy said.
Rev. Sandy was ordained as a United Church of Christ (UCC) pastor in 1975 and served churches around the Canal Fulton area before joining Chapel Hill. “United Church Homes has many unique strengths in the area of pastoral care. I always thought that if an opportunity arose with Chapel Hill, I would accept it,” she said.
‘Taking an innovative step’
United Church Homes will further develop the strong chaplaincy focus with the addition of Rev. Greta Wagner, the new director of pastoral care and clinical pastoral education at Trinity Community in Beavercreek. Rev. Greta is a chaplain and American Baptist minister, but her main role is to develop the new Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. Offered through the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), the CPE program helps to develop capable chaplains and enhance their pastoral skills.
ACPE standards support continuity of care, which align with the model in place throughout United Church Homes. Rev. Greta is an ACPE associate supervisor, which enables her to implement and oversee the program. A CPE unit includes 100 hours of class time and 300 clinical hours, all which will be completed at Trinity.
“The whole idea is to develop pastoral care competency and practice for pastoral ministry. Many CPE units take place in hospitals, but it is needed in retirement communities, so this is an innovative, much needed step initiated by United Church Homes. To have this setting is unique,” Rev. Greta said.
Rev. Greta began her career as a nurse. As the field gained a more technological focus, she discovered her calling to counsel patients. She was ordained in 1991, and became a hospital chaplain in 1995. She became the director of spirituality for a large hospital group and completed her ACPE certified training. With her new role at United Church Homes, she has found her true vocation integrating nursing, chaplaincy and clinical care.
Fulfilling a faith-based mission
The commitment to pastoral care continues throughout United Church Homes. Pastor Bill Michaels serves Parkvue in Sandusky, Ohio. An installation service was held September 28 for Rev. Becky Jones, the new UCC chaplain at Fairhaven Community in Upper Sandusky.
It is through this commitment to faith-based care that United Church Homes creates a sense of inclusion within each community. Every resident of United Church Homes is welcomed and accepted for who they are. With God as our guide, is it our personal focus to ensure each resident has the opportunity to achieve self-actualization and find peace and joy in every aspect of his or her life.
As each has received a gift,
use it to serve one another,
as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
1 Peter 4:10