Reverend Amanda Jones is the director of Pastoral Care and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) for Roper St. Francis. She oversees all the chaplains and chaplains in training who work in our various hospitals and units. Her path to hospital ministry began mainly because, as a woman, the doors to other paths in her denomination were closed to her in the early 1990s when she finished seminary. “My seminary experience drew me toward pastoral ministry and yet there were limited avenues for that for me in my tradition,” she says. Though she has since shifted her denominational affiliation to the United Church of Christ (UCC) which is open to female clergy, she continues to find much fulfillment in hospital ministry and training others for hospital ministry. “I worked for 12 years as a hospice chaplain and those early experiences of the sacred moments and walking with people on that important journey towards death was the ‘aha’ moment for me,” she says.
What makes pastoral care a unique type of ministry?
In the hospital setting you are with people during a (typically) highly stressful and/or anxious time. People often feel vulnerable or fearful or both. To be able to be with them as a calming presence is a satisfying ministry for me.
The most surprising part of the job?
That (for the most part) patients and families are so open to you entering their lives and walking with them during their hospital experience.
What do you wish you had known about chaplaincy during seminary?
That I would not need the courses in church administration, Greek or Hebrew!
Best part about being a part of the RSFH team?
There is a culture here that supports what we do in the areas of spiritual and pastoral care and there is great support from our senior leaders for our work.
What’s special about what you do?
It is always a blessing to be invited into a person or family’s life and walk with them, care for them and see God bring healing to their lives. It’s a ministry of sacred monuments.
What brought you to the bedside? Was there an “a ha” moment in your life and/or training that made chaplaincy the right path for you?
As a teenager, I was never afraid of sickness or death. I remember going with my father regularly to the nursing home to visit my grandmother. I actually enjoyed talking to some of the other residents.
Growing up I found people drawn into me, to share their heart. Funny through, as a kid, I always wanted to be a Marine Biologist.
Most surprising part of the job for you?
When you work with God it is always a surprise. I don’t think God knows how to be boring.
Your favorite thing about being on the RSF Pastoral Care team?
We have fun. It’s almost a commandment. Whatever we do, we always have fun.
Meet Your Chaplain: Spiritual Well-Being is a two-part series. Missed the first post? Read Prime the Well: Spiritual Well-Being now.