Upstate News

October 20, 2009
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Upstate shines spotlight on spiritual care mission for Pastoral Care Week

At University Hospital, pastoral caregivers serve through the hospital’s Center for Spiritual Care, a division of the Department of Volunteer Initiatives. Pastoral caregivers, or spiritual caregivers as they are known at University Hospital, are trained to help individuals draw on their own faith traditions and teachings for comfort and guidance.

“Pastoral Care Week gives us the opportunity to recognize our spiritual caregivers and honor their dedication and the role they play in assisting patients and staff in the healing process,” said Rev. Terry Culbertson, manager of Upstate’s Center for Spiritual Care.

The Center for Spiritual Care was created in 2004 to offer spiritual care programs for patients, their families and caregivers. Since then, the center has expanded to include a wide range of programs and services for patients, the campus and the community, including the presentation of monthly Spiritual Care Grand Rounds, daily worship in the Interfaith Chapel, and a lecture in the College of Medicine’s “Practice of Medicine” course.

The Center for Spiritual Care is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education as a training center. It’s the only center in Central New York to receive the credentialing, enabling it to offer two, 400-hour training programs a year and to expand patient and family pastoral care through the use of chaplain interns.

In addition, the Pediatric Chaplaincy Program was one of five programs in the country to receive a grant from the Wilbert Foundation to support new programs, such as CaringBridge, a web-based program that helps hospitalized patients and their families stay in touch with family and friends, and the training of staff in REIKI, a healing touch modality.

An early celebration of Pastoral Care Week will be the Oct. 21 presentation by Patricia Fosarelli, M.D., D, Min., author, theologian, physician and lay minister, who will discuss “And a Child Shall Lead Us: Lessons for the Living from Dying Children.” Fosarelli is author of “Whatever You Do for the Least of These: Ministering to Ill and Dying Children and Their Families.” The books will be available for purchase.

Fosarelli teaches spirituality and practical theology at the Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary and is on the part-time faculty in the Department of Pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

A recipient of multiple teaching awards and the author of several books, Fosarelli frequently addresses both lay and religious audiences.

Fosarelli’s talk is an activity of Pastoral/Spiritual Care Week, to be celebrated nationally Oct. 25 to 31At University Hospital, pastoral caregivers serve through the hospital’s Center for Spiritual Care, a division of the Department of Volunteer Initiatives. Pastoral caregivers, or spiritual caregivers as they are known at University Hospital, are trained to help individuals draw on their own faith traditions and teachings for comfort and guidance.

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