Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Some New Video Resources

Recently I had the opportunity to particiapte in a webcast presentation from the recent National Funeral Director’s Association (NFDA) Annual Conference. The title was "End-of-Life Care: From One Set of Caring Arms to Another," and the presenting panel included Robert Friedman MD, FAAHPM, the Chief Medical Officer at Hospice Austin in Austin, TX; Dr. Thomas G. Long, the Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA; Thomas Lynch, a writer and funeral director from Milford, MI; and Dr. Alan Wolfelt, an author, educator and grief counselor. This was an interesting conversation among the presenters. While initially intended to discuss the interactions when a person in hospice or palliative care dies between the care provider and the funeral home, it became a wider discussion on current styles in our culture of expressing, and perhaps repressing, grief. 

At the time the NFDA web site stated that the presentation would eventually be available for viewing on line. I shared that at the time, and now have the link. This and other presentations from the NFDA Annual Conference are now available on YouTube. If you link to this page you will find links to this and other presentations. Note, too, that NFDA has a YouTube channel, and there may be other videos of interest there. A note for Board Certified Chaplains: if you haven’t fulfilled the 50 contact hours required for continuing education, I think at least some of these presentations would apply. 

 I hope readers find these links and these presentations helpful.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

For the Saints of God

This past Sunday's sermon at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church is now posted. You can listen here. I preached a bit longer than normal. It's just that there was a story. There's always a story....

Monday, November 04, 2013

Episcopal Health Ministries

I think most of my readers are aware that I am a member of the Standing Commission on Health of the Episcopal Church. One of the tasks I undertook for the Commission was trying to get some idea how many “health ministries” could be identified within the Episcopal Church. To get some idea (and it’s only an idea), I went through those pages of the Episcopal Church Annual that listed “Special Agencies and Institutions/General Service Organizations,” and specifically those pages of “Health and Welfare Agencies Related to Diocese or Parishes of the Episcopal Church.”  These are listed by Diocese, and are generally sorted in to the categories of Children, Youth, and Families; Chaplaincy Services and Counseling; Facilities and Services for Older Persons; Hospitals, Convalescent Homes, and Clinics; Neighborhood and Community Services; Residences, Rest Homes, and Retreat Centers; and Specialized Ministries.

So, I simply went through and counted. As I did so, I set up a spreadsheet that listed the number of such organizations with specifically identifiable health ministries. I also added a few organizations and institutions I knew of that were not associated with diocese or parishes, but instead with other Episcopal bodies. At the end I had the numbers of such ministries where I could determine that they existed. In the process, I developed some comments and assumptions:

1. One can ask "what is an Episcopal health care ministry?" All the institutions and ministries counted for this report were identified as associated with a specific diocese or Episcopal organization in The Episcopal Church Annual.
2. Within that list, the relationships between individual dioceses and individual institutions may take several different forms.
3. Note that most of the institutions listed serve primarily seniors. Not all provided information about levels of health care offered. Where I could find the information, whether in the Annual or on line, that an institution provided skilled care, long term care, etc., I included it in my count. Where information seemed to indicate a residence facility for seniors who were fully independent, I did not include it.
4. My best guess is that this number is low: that there are programs associated with congregations that are not associated with dioceses in the Annual, or ministries listed once that have multiple locations.
5. As we know, this is always a changing list. For example, this includes ministries in the Diocese of Texas where institutions are in transition.

That list has been posted and is now available on the Documents page of the Standing Commission on Health in the General Convention web site. The numbers are on the first sheet and the comments and assumptions on the second. Note that where I couldn’t identify such a ministry in a particular diocese, I did not include that diocese in the list. That said, note my comment (4) above. I’m certain there are ministries that this didn’t capture. I thought folks might find it of interest, and so you can now find it here. If there are questions, they can be posted here or emailed to me through this site.