Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gathering for Common Mission

This past week, January 12-14, Saint Lukes Episcopal Hospital of Houston, and the Diocese of Texas hosted the first International Episcopal/Anglican Healthcare Ministries Conference. For three days, participants gathered from across the Episcopal Church and beyond to discuss the interests and best practices of Episcopal hospitals in serving their patients and the communities from which they come.

The conference was notable for including not just, or even primarily, chaplains, but also hospital administrators and bishops. I participated as one of the representatives from my health system; but I was pleased that my bishop and the CEO of our central referral hospital were also present.

The conference was truly international and broadly Anglican. In addition to bishops and representatives from the Episcopal dioceses of Puerto Rico and Haiti, there were also participants from the Diocese of Jerusalem; the Anglican Office in Geneva, Switzerland; and the primate and a physician from the Church of South India.

Much of the time was spent discussing issues we all had in common, both in the United States and beyond. There were also significant differences noted in our contexts, and time was spent considering how hospitals and dioceses might collaborate for better care for all we serve.

This has been an important beginning. Many of us present hoped that there would be future opportunities for discussion and for development of new programs.

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