What does a hospital chaplain do?


Rev. Bruce BambergerBy Bruce Baumberger
Chaplain, Alton Memorial Hospital
A hospital chaplain provides spiritual care to the patients, their families, the staff, and the physicians within the hospital. Depending upon the philosophy of the hospital and its resources, it is possible that each unit in the hospital may have a chaplain specializing in the particular medical area of that unit. It is also possible, though, that a single chaplain may be responsible for the spiritual care of the entire hospital.
The scope of spiritual care may range from providing comfort for the discomforted to arranging for the religious needs of individuals whose religious and cultural needs differ from our own. A chaplain rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps with those who weep, moving from one emotional climate to another simply by stepping from one room to the next. Unlike parish ministers, who get to build long-term relationships with their flock, hospital chaplains have to build trust quickly, providing quality spiritual care in difficult circumstances while maintaining a firm grip on their faith and desire to represent God respectfully.
Through the Golden Cross Offering, the chaplain at Methodist Hospital in Peoria and at Alton Memorial Hospital in Alton, along with the eight other Health and Welfare ministries within the boundaries of the IGRC receive funds to extend the grace and love of Jesus Christ to the communities we serve. These ministries move in the spirit of John Wesley; we minister to those who feel disenfranchised, thrown-away, and invisible to the church. As representatives of the UMC and ambassadors for Christ, we provide the living evidence that God has not forsaken or forgotten them. Your gifts to Golden Cross allow us to continue to roam the fields that are “white unto harvest.”