Ever Considered Serving at Houston Methodist Hospital?

Date Posted: 8/8/2013

Applications for lay leadership at Houston Methodist Hospital are being solicited through the end of August. Hear first-hand from a current hospital lay leader expressing deep seated passion for this important act of service.


“When I overhear lay persons passionately talking about their ministry here, I always wish that others could hear them, so I am excited that several will share their experience here as a prelude to our upcoming training,” says Staff Chaplain, Rev. Stacy Pell.


“Lay Ministry at Houston Methodist Hospital-Texas Medical Center (formerly named The Methodist Hospital) is a beautiful expression of our call to love our neighbor. Our hospital continues to be one of the largest outreach ministries of any UMC annual conference, and we encourage lay people throughout the Houston area who feel called to visit the sick to join us. Our department is continually affirming the lay person’s call to ministry and supporting them with prayers, encouragement and continuing education.”


The initial training will orient the lay minister to the hospital setting, discuss the art of establishing, deepening, and ending a pastoral visit, and teach basic listening skills, cultural and religious diversity and the many aspects of grief. Training is offered twice a year: the next in October -- for five sessions beginning Friday, October 4th (6-8p), 5th (9a-noon), 10th, 17th, and 24th (all from 6-9p). Upon successful completion of the initial training, the hospital offers four continuing education sessions throughout the year on topics related to basic pastoral skills, self care, diversity and grief. 


“We currently have 35 lay ministers who serve on a weekly basis,” she adds. “Some have been here for over 10 years, while others just a few. We ask that after they are trained they commit to a minimum of a year, where they are assigned to work with a chaplain on a specific clinical unit.” Trained lay ministers commit to a specific day of the week that they will come and serve approximately 2-4 hours. Adds Stacy, “Last year, our lay ministers visited over 9,500 patients! Part of our mission statement is that we seek to provide a spiritual environment of caring and our lay ministers certainly help us nurture that environment…we would not have the ability to touch the lives of so many patients without them.”


Some of the added benefits for lay ministers include: no cost for the training, paid parking for training and ministry service, 15% discounts at hospital eating establishments, and annual appreciation events. 


A Lay Minister’s Perspective

Retired from a career in school counseling, Zana Gorman of Chapelwood UMC, Houston serves as a lay minister on Thursdays, and eagerly encourages others to share the richness of this area of service. “While it is challenging because I have no idea what awaits me on the other side of that hospital door,” she says, “I have met so many incredible people that have touched and inspired my life – while I am trying to bless them! I encounter many who have walked with God and face their dire diagnosis with acceptance and peace and find things to be continually grateful for. All that I visit are hungry for a reminder of God’s love so I consider this a gift to be able to help meet these needs every week.”


Adds Stacy, “I am an ordained deacon in the TAC and in addition to my bedside ministry as a chaplain, I oversee the Lay Ministry program, and it brings me such joy to see lay people responding to God’s call on their lives!” 

To pursue training via the application due August 30, contact Rev. Stacy Pell at slpell@houstonmethodist.org.