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Ministry a team effort at local hospital

August 05, 2000

Ministry a team effort at local hospital



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


At any hour of the day or night, the waiting rooms and nearby chapel at Washington County Hospital can be buzzing with activity.

There are similar scenes at the ever-increasing satellite locations managed by the hospital around Washington County.

One chaplain would throw up his or her hands in frustration without the help provided by a dedicated team of volunteer chaplains.

The team's importance will become even more acute when longtime hospital chaplain and team organizer Don Evason retires Sept. 8 after 18 years on the job.

"They are interviewing right now for a new chaplain," said Evason, who plans to stay in the area and increase his pastoral counseling duties.

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There are plans to have students doing chaplaincy work at the John R. Marsh Center and other satellite centers, Evason said.

There are 11 volunteers in the team chaplaincy program, many of whom have been involved since Evason established the pastoral care team in 1994.

They are the Revs. David Andrews, Lamar Kopp, Richard Masters, Robert Moales, Thomas Horst and Jan Dorsey, and Mary Ann Allan, Anita Masters, Patricia Nicholson, Vesta Myers and Jackie Raley.

"All the members of the team are also auxilians here at the hospital," Evason said. "They alternate providing coverage one day a week."

That schedule is flexible, and that's the way Jan Dorsey prefers it.

"Normally, I do all day Friday, but sometimes, the needs require some changes," Dorsey said.

The retired pastor of the Downsville Church of the Brethren, Dorsey said this work keeps her involved in ministry.

"We can go in the operating room if needed or into the recovery room, if needed," she said.

Heartwarming and heartbreaking stories are constantly coming out of the rooms where families wait and pray for the recovery of loved ones.

"There was a farm accident I remember where a Mennonite family was here waiting to hear about a family member," Dorsey said.

She said they were quiet and composed, staying close to each other and even having their meals together in the room.

"When they took hands and began to say a blessing, others in the room turned off the television in respect," Dorsey said.

The job entails knowing when to intercede and knowing when to back away. But mainly, team members are a listening source for families who want someone to talk to.

The pastoral care team has a member on duty in the surgical waiting room on the second floor from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

From there, they move around where needed, assisting with such matters as getting medical updates and knowing where departments are located.

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