Since 1985, the Network on Ministry in Specialized Settings (“COMISS”) has observed the last week of October as Spiritual Care Week – a time when we celebrate the sacred work of chaplains and pastoral counselors. This year’s Spiritual Care Week theme is “Collaborative Healthcare: Chaplains Complete the Picture.” Sometimes a picture is more informative and revealing than words. Often the ministry of chaplains and pastoral counselors extends beyond words alone as they provide emotional support and spiritual care to persons in need, an essential part of the holistic interdisciplinary care that is offered within a variety of settings. Their ministry is an extension of our missional work as a Fellowship, to embody the love of God and hope through Christ, as we work together to complete the picture of putting our faith into action, to renew our world.
Take a moment this week to celebrate and thank our CBF Endorsed Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors for the good and sacred work that they do every day.
Emotional Healthcare for Those Who “Help Feed the Nation”
By Brad Mitchell
I am the complex chaplain for the 900+ acre Tyson Food plant in Eufaula, Alabama.
This facility where 1,400 people work encompasses two chicken processing plants, a hatchery and a feed mill. There’s a good chance the fast food chicken you last ate came from a Tyson facility. Tyson Foods produces 23% of the protein consumed in the U.S.
Here, the idea of healthcare is a bit different from that of the hospital where I did my CPE residency. The presenting “problem” isn’t as obvious and most people don’t need a sit-down type of visit, but there are still plenty of needs. The workers I serve function in a demanding, high-pressure, potentially dangerous environment.
Previously this facility had methods for helping employees in the many need points of their lives. But now that a chaplain is available, we are able to offer broader and more comprehensive assistance. I’m available to help when people are in crisis and come alongside them the same way we do when people are in the hospital facing dreaded news or outcomes.
I have visited in the home of a mother who lost her eighteen-year-old daughter to an unknown illness following two weeks of ICU isolation in a coma. I regularly visit with team members who are ill or have family members who are. Each day I make regular rounds to visit and encourage team members, assessing their stress level and helping them find solutions to their problems addresses their emotional health needs. Often I listen to team members who are frustrated with some aspect of the work or a relationship with a superior, giving them the opportunity to voice their feelings and collaborating with supervisors and management helps them begin to find a solution to their problem or need.
Healthcare, whether physical or emotional, is a context where collaboration yields better outcomes than people working out of their own silos. “It takes a village….”
Brad Mitchell is a CBF-endorsed chaplain and serves as the complex chaplain for Tyson Foods in Eufaula, Alabama. He is married to Cynthia and together they have five children and five grandchildren.
We have more than 800 active professional CBF Endorsed Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors, serving throughout our country and worldwide, in a variety of specialized settings – all branches of the United States Armed Forces; the Civil Air Patrol; the Department of Veterans Affairs, hospitals and hospices, correctional institutions, fire, police, and rescue departments, colleges and universities, businesses and industries, retirement communities, counseling centers, private counseling practices, church staffs, and many other interdisciplinary settings.
To learn more about the work of CBF Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors, please visit our webpage at https://cbf.net/chaplaincy-pastoral-counseling.