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Pastoral Care

Episcopal Health Services Inc. (EHS) chaplains serve patients, their families and Team Members at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, and organizations affiliated with EHS agencies in the community. The pastoral care ministry of EHS chaplains can be summarized in three words: presence, interpretation, and prophecy.

Presence: The ministry of presence includes, but is not limited to identifying and addressing the spiritual needs of patients, their families and Team Members. Chaplains are present in comforting the distressed, confused, and overwhelmed; helping others acknowledge and process life issues that surface during health care challenges (so that these do not become obstacles to treatment and decision making); defusing, debriefing, and challenging Team Members.

Interpretation: Chaplains translate the experience and values of patients and residents, allowing medical Team Members to better understand the person they are treating. They also represent hospital services to patients and their families in order to reduce frustration and facilitate access and use of clinical services.

Prophecy: Chaplains advocate for patients. They remind managers and administrators to pursue, honor and uphold the institution’s mission so that administrative concerns and clinical duties do not carry us away from purpose.

Chaplains are here to help patients be meaningful participants in their healthcare and to support Team Members, so they can serve with excellence. Chaplains listen to, advocate for and support all persons seeking their help.

The services of clinically trained chaplains are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Chaplains visit every patient within 48 hours of admission. The Pastoral Care Department includes chaplains from a wide range of faith traditions (Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim, etc.). Our chaplains come from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and speak many languages in addition to English. Chaplains provide spiritual care; and upon request, religious rites and prayers.

Chaplains are authorized to share the rites, rituals sacraments and ceremonies of their faith traditions.

Chaplains who are authorized by their ecclesiastical order may perform the following:

  • Emergency Baptisms
  • Episcopal Sacraments & Pastoral Offices
  • Baptism
  • Communion
  • Ministry of presence to the Sick
  • Reconciliation of a Penitent
  • Kosher and Halal Meal Assistance
  • Muslim Birth Rite
  • Jewish Sabbath Candles and Prayers
  • Roman Catholic Sacraments
  • Confession
  • Sacrament of the Sick (formerly known as Last Rites)
  • Communion
  • Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child

Chaplains also lead devotions in the Reflection Room, located adjacent to the pharmacy in the lobby. On holy days (such as Ash Wednesday or Chanukah) and days of national observance (such as Veterans’ Day or Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday), chaplains conduct services in the Reflection Room.

Chaplains are available 24 hours daily through the Hospital’s operator at 718-869-7000 or dial “0” if calling from within the Hospital.