Chaplains: The Soul of the Hospice Team

“As I begin my 23rd year as a Chaplain at Alive, I can think of nothing more sacred and rewarding than helping our patients and families in this journey. More importantly, living each day fully is a lesson not only for the dying.” – Gene Lovelace, Alive Chaplain

Chaplains play a very special role in the hospice interdisciplinary team, helping patients and their loved ones with spiritual and emotional concerns. At Alive Hospice we have a team of eight. Their calling is to provide spiritual comfort and healing at the end of life to all who need it. Chaplains are trained in their own faith tradition (Baptist, Methodist, Zen, Disciples of Christ, Metropolitan, Unitarian, etc.) but serve people of all denominations and beliefs.

Alive Chaplains Receive Combat Training

Last May Alive Chaplains Aaron Menard and Joel Reynolds spent 30 days training at the Army National Training Center in the Mojave Desert in California. They trained as military chaplains in a tactical environment, which included simulated combat, while providing real-world spiritual support to more than 600 soldiers. The training was part of their duties as chaplains with the Tennessee Army National Guard’s 278th Armored Calvary Regiment in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Alive Chaplain Lends a Hand for Baptism

Chaplain Joel Reynolds was called in on a day off to minister to a Vanderbilt patient with a life-threatening injury. The family was seeking an Army chaplain to baptize their loved one. Joel arrived in uniform to read scripture and pray with the family before baptizing the patient in his bed. This family was not under the care of Alive Hospice, yet as Reynolds says, “I love this organization because we offer whatever we can to whoever needs it because it’s the right thing to do, whether they are our patients or not.”

New Chaplain Joins Alive in Murfreesboro

Holly Mueller, a Vanderbilt Divinity School graduate, joined Alive this summer to serve the Murfreesboro area. She previously served in St. Thomas’s palliative care program. A highlight in her first three months with Alive was to conduct a funeral for one of her patients. “The opportunity to be with the family throughout the whole journey and give voice and celebration to their loved one’s life was a privilege,” said Mueller.