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Brook Lane chaplain gives a well of faith

December 19, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- When former Brook Lane chaplain Deryl Fleming left last February after 16 years at the post, he said he wanted to experience a more traditional congregation.

Now his replacement, Chaplain Ron Shank, is doing just the opposite.

After 24 years as youth pastor at Maranatha Brethren Church in Hagerstown, Shank has taken on the rather unique congregation at Brook Lane - patients, youth and staff.

"This is my first venue of this kind," Shank said. "The people I minister to here are constantly changing."

The main campus of Brook Lane Health Services is at 13218 Brook Lane Drive just outside Leitersburg.

Mental health services for all ages are available as well as short-term hospitalization, outpatient treatment, programs for children and adolescents which includes special education, transitional care home and school-based services.

"My hours are Monday through Friday and I'm on call," Shank said. He also conducts a service on Sunday for patients, then he goes to worship at his own church.

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Brook Lane's staff numbers more than 300 and Shank sees to their needs too.

"The staff give so much of their time that sometimes they need a well where they can go and refresh themselves," Shank said.

He joined the staff officially on Nov. 24.

Ten months ago, Fleming left Brook Lane to pastor the Presbyterian Church in Burke, Va. He grew up in Texas but has lived in Northern Virginia for more than 33 years, with a three-year residency in Hagerstown among those years.

A Hagerstown native, Shank, 49, is a graduate of North Hagerstown High School and Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. After a short stint teaching school in Maine, he was called to his first church, Maranatha.

Shank and his wife, Nancy, have a daughter who is a sophomore at Liberty and a son who graduated from Liberty and is working in South Korea.

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