Summary: I want to say a few words about hospice chaplaincy, the ministry where I will be serving in the near future
I came to Pleasant Ridge in September 2010. It is hard to believe that it has been 6 years since that time. The ministry here is a blessing to me and my family. The church has left an indelible mark upon my children. This is where they came to faith and were baptized into the Lord Jesus Christ. Here I have been able to use my gifts and talents for the good of the church and the Kingdom. My wife has used her musical ability with the piano to glorify the Lord and edify the church. When we moved to Cincinnati to enable Alex to attend a special needs school, this church was so supportive and encouraging and we were so thankful and overjoyed. With that said, I want you to know that this decision has been difficult for me and I have sought the Lord in prayer fervently. While in Louisiana, I volunteered in hospice. When we moved to Cincinnati, I wanted to be more involved in the community and a hospice was willing to let me visit their patients. The stipulation was that I would visit only one patient, one time a week. Evidently they took notice because when their full time chaplain left for another position in February, I was the first one they asked to fill that position. After seeking advice and praying, I turned them down. They came to me again in June asking me to help the full time chaplain. I let them know that I have a full time preaching position in Indiana and my availability was greatly limited. This hospice continues to add more patients and now they have come to me to ask for a third time if I will work with them full time as their second chaplain. After much soul searching, I have told them that I will accept their offer. The Lord keeps bringing me back to hospice and I feel like this is the Lord’s calling. How could I refuse another opportunity like this when they keep coming, begging me to help? I have a heart for those who are on hospice and desire to minister with the patients and their families. It is with deep regret that we leave you. I feel like my time with you has been productive and that the church, myself and my family have benefited greatly. I love y’all and I pray that no matter what the future may hold that we are lead into greater heights of service and an abundant harvest of souls.
This is my decision and no one is forcing me to do this. When I told the elders of my decision there were tears shed (mainly mine) and concerns for me and my family were expressed. The consensus from that night was that I would preach through the Sunday’s in September and depart before revival the first week in October. Next Sunday is my last Sunday with you as the evangelist here. We will be back to visit from time to time (we are not that far away). I, like the church leadership, are concerned for Pleasant Ridge church. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk with the elders and deacons. Be in prayer for the next several weeks and months ahead as changes are in store for all of us.
Thesis: With that said, I want to say a few words about hospice chaplaincy, the ministry where I will be serving in the near future.
A brief history of hospice
In this country, hospice began as a volunteer organization mostly of medical professionals, who sought to provide services for the terminally ill. The first hospices were established in the 70’s and continued to expand and grow through the 80’s. Changes came in the 1990’s as many sought to have Medicare pay for many of the services of the terminally ill through hospice. By the late 90’s the government had passed legislation making Medicare available to patients on hospice care with a diagnosis of 6 months or less to live. To be honest, the government at that time was looking for a way to cut Medicare costs. Ideally the hospice philosophy is to enable patients to spend their last days in their own homes. Hospice patients spend less time in hospitals. With fewer hospital stays involved the price goes down for Medicare so the government agreed to fund hospice through Medicare. In addition, the government stipulated that hospices needed to provide spiritual care for their patients. This is when hospice chaplaincy became more prominent. The hospice hires chaplains and they are to provide the spiritual care for the patients. Medicare pays the bulk of the costs for the chaplains. Another stipulation from the government was that 5% of the services of hospice needed to be performed by volunteers. They wanted to keep the volunteer spirit of hospice intact and to honor the volunteerism of hospice movement.