“I provide spiritual and emotional support to patients, families and staff experiencing a wide array of challenging moments related to health issues and caregiving. Throughout the pandemic, my role has gone through series of adaptations. During the initial months of COVID-19, I focused on escorting families who come to the hospital to say good-bye to their dying loved ones, facilitating Zoom calls for families who cannot visit, making phone calls to offer many grieving families empathy and prayers, and being present with staff who were under an extreme stress and pressure. Since in-person spiritual care visits resumed, I have been helping patients and staff process the losses they experience in various aspects of their lives in relation to COVID-19 and beyond through one-on-one conversations.”
What led you to seminary, specifically Drew Theological School?
“The desire to learn and expand myself led to Drew. The idea of studying abroad appealed to me as an opportunity to experience the world beyond the theologically rigid Christian community that I was so used to until then. As I was researching seminaries, I was drawn to Drew’s progressive theology and concerns for social issues as well as the strong female leadership all of which I felt were different from the conservative theology and practices I grew up with. I felt excited for the unknown and the possibility that my mind and heart would grow and expand through studying at Drew, and its proximity to New York City cemented my decision due to my interest in art and wanting to explore the art world in the city.”
How did Drew prepare you for your current role as a chaplain?
“My learnings at Drew prepared me to be an open-minded and empathetic chaplain to the patients, families and staff members from all walks of life and spiritual learnings. Not only did new, progressive theological ideas challenge and stimulate me intellectually, but also conversations and friendships with peers from diverse backgrounds in the Drew community helped me open my eyes and to break out of the narrow thinking and old beliefs that I had previously held about God, the Bible and fellow human beings.”
“Drew also taught me how to think critically and had such an impact on my own theological deconstruction and spiritual re-formation process. As challenging as this process has been, wrestling honestly with difficult questions about God and faith has made me become increasingly understanding and compassionate towards those with spiritual struggles in the midst of suffering. In my efforts as a chaplain to offer a safe, trusting space for patients, families and staff to open up and be heard, what I learned at Drew continues to empower me every day.”