One of the challenges to chaplaincy is doing more community outreach. Research is pointing out how a person’s values and spirituality impact their health. The chronically population is growing rapidly, along with the elderly. Emphasis on health care is shifting responsibility back toward the patient. All of these are opening up the opportunity for the religious community to understand its healing ministry and its potential contribution to health in a new way. Helping congregations articulate for themselves that type of ministry is the goal of the types of community outreach done by the Department of Pastoral Services.
- Over the years the Department has supported parish nursing as a way to help address the issues stated above. Currently Pastoral Services is helping to sponsor a certification program for Parish Nurses. Ruth Stoll is the organizer for this program.
- Chaplains have created programs on health issues. This information and these programs are designed so they can be used in a parish setting. Although the program Linking Individuals with Non-medical Congregational Support Services (LINCSS) is now defunct, the newsletters and classes are still relevant. They can be found under the “Resources” tab.
- Chaplains also participate in several of the support groups offered by Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
- The Department of Pastoral Services has also collected a variety of resources to help congregations develop a parish nurse program or health ministry.