Partners in Ministry
We welcome the opportunity to partner in ministry with you in a variety of ways. Please browse through the selections below, and be in touch. We look forward to hearing from you!
Especially for Area Clergy
Referrals: The Department of Spiritual Care welcomes requests for patient visitation from clergy and congregations. If you are unable to visit the hospital yourself and would like a congregant to be visited, please call us at 315 464-4687.
We welcome you to hang your coat at the Center while you are in the hospital visiting. You are invited to use the Ginny Moses Hospitality Room (located in the Center) for private conversations should the need arise.
Annual parking passes for clergy at area hospitals are made available by Interfaith Works.
If you are from out of the area, you can get a one day parking sticker from Upstate's Parking Office, open from 8-4pm M-F.
The On-Call Clergy Team is a unique opportunity for ordained ministers of the Protestant and Roman Catholic faiths to provide volunteer after hours pastoral coverage for emergencies one night a month. Members of the team receive a hospital ID, free parking and a meal. Interested clergy are invited to contact the manager at 315 464-4236. We welcome your interest in this vital ministry!
Join the Intensive Prayer Circle
The IPC is a group of congregations and individuals who partner with us to weekly receive prayer requests from patients, families and staff. We always welcome new members to join us through this email ministry.
Interested in Volunteering?
We are interested in you! We have a variety of volunteer positions according to your interest and training – from patient visitation to office assistants, from knitters for Prayer blankets to singers in the hospital choir. Our volunteers are active members of their congregations and recommended or endorsed by their own faith tradition, spiritually mature, and sensitive to diverse faiths, ethnicities and cultures. (Proselytizing is not tolerated.) Please contact us at 315 464-4687 to discuss your interests.
Our Volunteer Partners
Associate Chaplains are volunteers with four or more units of Clinical Pastoral Education, theological education, and are endorsed/ordained.
- Rabbi Irvin Beigel holds a Bachelors degree from Queen's College in New York, as well as an M.H.L. and ordination as a Rabbi from the Jewish Theological seminary. After serving in synagogues for many years, he completed 4 units of Clinical Pastoral Education. In addition to visiting Jewish patients, Rabbi Beigel conducts a weekly televised Shabbat program from the Interfaith Chapel. He is well known for appearing as a clown on the Jewish holiday of Purim each year.
- Kathryn Bell is an Episcopal Lay Chaplain who specializes in geriatrics. She has completed three units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Upstate, following one unit at Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha, NE. She holds a BA from Cornell College and an MDiv from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, both in Iowa, and served as a United Methodist pastor, also in Iowa. She became a Board Certified Chaplain in 2018. She and her husband David have two children.
- Rev. Rayne Dabney joined our team in 2001. A licensed Vineyard Church minister, she comes to us from Cincinnati, Ohio and is a graduate of Mt. St. Mary's Seminary where she completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education. Her pastoral specialties include Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Assistant Chaplains are volunteers who have completed one to three units of Clinical Pastoral Education from an accredited program. Our Assistant Chaplains have some theological education and the ability to demonstrate sufficient professional chaplaincy competencies.
- Rev. Chrys Beck has been an Assistant Chaplain with Spiritual Care at University Hospital since her completion of a Clinical Pastoral Education unit in May 2005. As an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, she currently serves churches in the Madrid area. Chrys' passion for ministry derives from her desire to help people find healing and wholeness through spirituality.
- Rev. Jana Biesanz is an ordained Interfaith Minister and served as a hospice chaplain before coming to Upstate for CPE training. Rev. Jana has practiced Tibetan Buddhism for many years through the lineage of Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, and together with her husband, hosts the Syracuse area meditation practice group and hosts visiting Buddhist teachers from Chagdud Gonpa. Rev. Jana has studied contemplative care for the dying and is also a dedicated student of Cynthia Bourgeault's contemplative Christian tradition. She has been an Assistant Chaplain with Upstate Spiritual Care since 2018.
- Rev. Tamara Davis completed a unit of CPE at Upstate. Employed full-time by the City of Syracuse, she still finds time to volunteer as a member of our hospital choir.
- Joan McCampbell discovered the call on her life for hospital chaplaincy during her time in Clinical Pastoral Education here at Upstate. She has completed two units and is serving as an Assistant Chaplain. She enjoys the opportunity the chaplaincy gives her to assist with the spiritual and emotional needs of patients, families and staff. She is currently enrolled in The Vineyard Institute pursuing a certificate in Biblical Leadership. She has diplomas from The American Association of Christian Counselors and Light University in Biblical Counseling.
- Sandy Moldenhauer decided to volunteer at Upstate after completing a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education training in the summer of 2011. His accomplishments include receiving a MA in Pastoral Theology and Ministry from Luther Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul, MN and numerous sales and management awards through 3M. Sandy survived a critical auto accident, was in 37 day coma and with a traumatic brain injury while in college. Sandy can be found in the Emergency Department or the Oncology Unit while volunteering.
- Lisa Pesce holds two degrees from Syracuse University and taught second grade in the Jamesville-DeWitt Central Schools. After many years of teaching and raising her family, she shifted her focus to supporting those with spiritual needs. She is a certified Reiki Master and a recent graduate of the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Upstate Medical University. As an Assistant Chaplain she says, "I am delighted to be volunteering in Spiritual Care alongside such a gifted and compassionate team of caregivers."
- Bishop Ron Russell spent 24 years in the US Air Force and then became a minister in the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee in 1981. Rev. Russell became the Bishop over Northern New York and Senior Pastor of the Lighthouse Mexico Church of God in January 1994. Bishop Russell has also produced the radio program "Look What the Lord has Done" covering Central and Northern New York for the past 16 years. He has also run feeding programs for the hungry, feeding well over 60,000 people in the last 8 years.
- Gracia Sears came to volunteer in Spiritual Care via nursing (University of Rochester) and art (BFA from Syracuse University.) She began her career in public health and then moved on to work with the needy in community settings using art as a healing modality. In 2001 she completed one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, and is now an Assistant Chaplain. She authored the manual "Art and Spirituality." When a terminally ill patient finds a bit of respite while coloring a mandala and thanks her profusely, she knows she has succeeded in comforting them.
- Rev. Betsy Spaulding started her chaplaincy training with a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. She was ordained in Connecticut and has ministered to several small Unitarian Universalist congregations in New York State. One special joy is being a member of the Upstate Hospital Choir.
- Rev. Janet Stemmer is an Interfaith Minister ordained through One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and serves as the Chair of the Worship Committee at Unitarian Universalist Church of Utica. The interfaith designation allowed her to integrate her lifetime studies of Buddhism, Christianity, Sufism, Gurdjieff and A Course In Miracles. She completed her first unit of Clinical Pastoral Education in August 2017 and has been volunteering at Upstate ever since. She also works part-time as a Certified Public Accountant.
- Rev. Chuck Stewart graduated from the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School with a Master of Divinity degree in 2017. He has a PhD in physics and is retired from General Electric and Welch Allyn. He has been an Assistant Chaplain since May 2015.
Spiritual Care Volunteers
Spiritual Care Volunteers may be lay or ordained persons who volunteer four or more hours a week to do patient visitation, assist in the office, provide music ministry, or other needed functions.
- Chris Collins came to us nearly two years ago after retiring as the Volunteer Coordinator of Francis House. She dabbles in painting, poetry writing, nuturing her cherished friendships and "loving up" her husband Bob and her 4 Grandpeeps! About her time as a Reiki practitioner at Upstate she says, "Just when you think you are content, God opens another door in your life and new people rush in to fill a void you didn't even know you had. I love my time dedicated to being a part of the Spiritual Care Team! I come away each week with so much more compassion, awareness and gratitude than I ever could have imagined was available...but it's there...every week, just for the taking."
- Deb Crandall grew up in Webster, NY. She enjoys swimming and taught lessons to children through the recreational program. Deb's been married for almost 45 years; raised 4 children and has 8 grandchildren which makes her smile! Her dream came true when 13 years ago, she was hired by "the mouse." She worked for Disney 10 winters which truly is the happiest place on earth. She realized she wanted to help others. She volunteered at Joseph House in Syracuse which helps single moms and their babies. In October 2015 she looked into volunteering at Upstate in the Spiritual Care department. She liked the idea of visiting patients and being able to pray with them. She eventually started doing reiki for the patients. It has been an amazing growth area for her and she was able to understand herself better by helping patients and being able to talk about herself. She is truly blessed to be a part of the Spiritual Care team.
- Gloria Hoffman started out as a bookkeeper, became an ob-gyn nurse for 10 years, then moved on to become a certified K-12 teacher working as a sub in many schools. She is a lifelong member of Pine Meadows Wesleyan Church in Altmar, NY. Living in Pulaski, she drives an amazing 40 miles one way to volunteer as an office assistant and choir member in Spiritual Care. A veteran of 50 surgeries, Gloria knows the healthcare system intimately as a patient. Because of this, and her faith commitment, she felt led to join us.
- Bertha Jacobs has been a Spiritual Care volunteer since early 2006. A former psychiatric social worker and current member of Tucker Missionary Baptist Church, She states, "It is truly a wonderful opportunity to encourage our patients and their families to reach to their faith traditions for strength and support not only when they face the challenges of life, but every day!"
- Patricia Leonard comes to Spiritual Care remembering that from the time she was a child, her grandmother Nana felt she had a gift for praying and being present with those who are ill. Pat has expressed that gift throughout her life in many different ways—she is an artist, poet, and a natural story teller with a great sense of humor. In addition to these forms of ministry, Pat has also enjoyed a long career as a professional clown, with a focus on children and fundraising for children's causes. Pat seems to be living out her Nana's prediction as a welcome partner in spiritual care!
- Louise Powless was an administrator for Verizon for 42 years. She is a Eucharistic Minister and she enjoys volunteering with Spiritual Care because she "gets more back than she gives."
- Mary Tolone is retired from Upstate, where she worked as a surgical technician. She volunteers because she likes being with patients and staff. As a member of the choir, she loves to sing and shares that with patients on Tuesday afternoons.
- Walt Wasilewski, a Catholic lay volunteer, prays with and supports people of all faiths at Upstate University Hospital. A good friend, Fr. Innocent, invited him to join the team four years ago. He teaches journalism at Syracuse University, where he earned a master's degree, and writes for magazines. His undergraduate degree in English literature is from the State University College at Oswego. He worked at The Post-Standard for 27 years as a reporter and editor before retiring in 2007.