Pastoral Care at EAMC

Every Person Who Enters the Doors of EAMC is on a Journey of Life and a Journey of Faith…

For many people, faith is a vital part of their everyday lives. The need for pastoral and spiritual guidance and understanding often grows during a hospital stay. Pastoral care can be an important part of your treatment and recovery.

You may be anticipating surgery, or feel anxious about being in the hospital. You may need some assistance in clarifying your options or you may need help understanding your feelings.

Physicians, nurses, therapists, case managers and the rest of your health care team combine their talents and knowledge to serve you. The spiritual component of the healing process complements the state-of-the-art medical care you receive at EAMC.

Mission and Scope of Services

At EAMC, we recognize that meeting spiritual and religious needs is an important part of caring for the whole person. To respond to these needs, the hospital offers the services of our chaplaincy. The Chaplaincy Department is committed to providing spiritual care to patients and families, to the staff and to the institution as a whole. Ministry is available to people of all faiths and to those of no religious affiliation. Pastoral care at EAMC is provided by trained professional chaplains as well as other EAMC health care professionals. Spiritual care of patients/families is always provided in collaboration with the multidisciplinary care team.

EAMC Chaplains:

  • Provide religious ministry and spiritual support to patients and their families
  • Provide ministry for and consultation to hospital staff
  • Serve as liaisons between the hospital and visiting clergy, seminarians, and lay visitors.

Pastoral care of patients, families, and staff helps people faced with illness and hospitalizations remember that they belong to God and their community. Chaplains sustain, support, guide, and help people in their search for meaning in illness and for reconciliation in relationships. They offer consultation and counsel regarding spiritual, emotional and ethical matters. They support by listening without judging, sharing without preaching, and offering the resources of tradition, sacraments, scripture, ritual, and personal presence.

How to Contact a Chaplain

A chaplain is available for you around the clock at EAMC.

  • You may phone the Pastoral Services office directly from your bedside Monday through Friday at extension 1415.
  • You may ask your nurse for assistance.
  • You may dial “0” for the operator who will locate a chaplain for you.
  • In the evening and on weekends, your nurse or the operator can reach the on-call clergy for emergency requests.

To speak with a chaplain, please call the office at 1415 or ask your nurse to page a chaplain. Roman Catholic priests, interfaith chaplains, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist chaplains are available at your request. Oncology and Pediatric chaplains are available during weekday daytime hours. Representatives of other traditions may also be contacted through our office.

The EAMC Chaplaincy provides spiritual care to patients of all ages and their families, and to all staff members. Frequent situations to which chaplains are called include:

  • Patients/families in spiritual distress
  • New diagnosis
  • Treatment decision-making process
  • Changing the goals of care from curative to palliative
  • End-of-life issues

You will find a Bible placed in your bed stand by the Gideons. If you need a different translation, meditation material, or a Torah or Quran of your own, please call extension 1415.

Please note: while chaplains are present on patient care units, they may not be able to see every patient. Please ask to see a chaplain, rather than waiting for a chaplain to come to you.

Visits from your own minister
We work closely with community clergy and pastoral visitors who minister to their parishioners or congregants in the hospital. If patients indicate their denominational preference when they are admitted to the hospital, their names will be included on a Ministerial Clergy Census. Your name will be listed under your denominational choice where your visiting clergy person can find you in the hospital. You can choose NOT to be included in the Ministerial Clergy Census and your name will not be included. It will then be your responsibility to make your clergy aware that you would like a visit while hospitalized at EAMC.

Honoring Diversity

For a listing of ways that chaplains can be helpful for patients/families with faith-specific needs, please see below:

Roman Catholic

  • Request to see the Catholic Priest
  • End of life/Beginning of Life decisions
  • Roman Catholic perspectives on medical decision making
  • Sacraments: Baptism, Marriage, Sacrament of the Sick [Anointing] (formerly known as “last rites,”) Sacrament of Reconciliation (i.e. Confession,) Communion
  • Spiritual Distress


  • Request for prayer
  • Request to receive a Bible
  • End of life/beginning of life decisions
  • Blessing, dedication, and/or baptism of infants
  • Denominational perspectives on medical decision making
  • Sacraments and Rites (baptism, marriage, communion, anointing)
  • Spiritual Distress
  • Request to see a clergy person from a particular religious tradition


  • Request to see a Buddhist Priest
  • Request for guided meditation, chanting, or reading of sacred texts
  • Buddhist perspectives on medical decision-making
  • Staff request cultural/religious consult in order to provide culturally competent care
  • Counsel regarding Buddhist death practices
  • Spiritual distress
  • Patient or family member requests marriage performed in the hospital
  • Request to see a Buddhist chaplain


  • Request to see an Imam
  • Request for reading of Quran (Koran) or for prayer
  • Request for prayer timetable
  • Muslim perspectives on medical decision making
  • Staff request cultural/religious consult in order to provide culturally competent care
  • Arrangements for religious dietary needs
  • Consultation on Muslim death practices
  • Spiritual Distress
  • Patient or family member requests marriage performed in the hospital


  • Request to see a Rabbi
  • Request for Hebrew Bible
  • Jewish perspectives on medical decision making
  • Kosher food
  • Sabbath candles or other Sabbath concerns
  • Spiritual distress
  • Patient or family member requests marriage performed in the hospital
  • Staff request cultural/religious consult in order to provide competent care
  • Consultation on Jewish death practices

Sacraments (Christian)

The Holy Eucharist
Reception of the Eucharist brings us into communion with one another, as we share and celebrate the Presence of Christ in our midst. Holy Communion is available to persons of the Roman Catholic and Episcopal faiths while they are hospitalized at EAMC. Arrangements can also be made for those of other Christian denominations to receive Communion from members of their own affiliation or a similar tradition. Please contact the Pastoral Care office at extension 1415 with your request to receive Holy Communion.

Anointing of the Sick
The Anointing of the Sick is available to our Roman Catholic patients. The Rite of Anointing is available to patients of other religious persuasions. The Anointing of the Sick strengthens and heals all who are ill in body, mind and spirit. You may wish to be anointed as a means to strengthen and aid you through illness and recovery. Please contact the Pastoral Care office at extension 1415 with your request for anointing.

Sacrament of Reconciliation
Reconciliation (Confession or Penance) is available for Roman Catholic patients and other Christians who celebrate ongoing conversion and God’s forgiveness in a liturgical setting. To request this sacrament, please contact the Pastoral Care office.

Sacrament of Baptism
We administer the Sacrament of Baptism when the need is immediate and critical. The most appropriate place in which to celebrate this sacrament is the public setting of your parish church in the presence of the assembled Christian community. Please contact the Pastoral Care office at extension 1415 to discuss the sacrament of baptism.


The following is a group of prayers for different occasions and circumstances, and from many different faith traditions. Many people, when they are in the hospital, find that their minds turn quite naturally to such questions as, “Why is there sickness?” “Why did this happen to me?” “Am I being punished?” “What is the meaning of life?” These questions are religious questions. Should such questions come to your mind, you might find comfort in these words.

In the Morning
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly; If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. If I am to do nothing, help me to do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the spirit of your love. Amen.

At night
O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in your mercy grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen.

Before Surgery
Strengthen me, O God, to do what I have to do and bear what I have to bear; that, accepting your healing gifts through the skill of surgeons and nurses, I may be restored to usefulness in your world with a thankful heart; and this I pray. Amen.

After Surgery
O Lord, your compassions never fail and your mercies are new every morning; I give you thanks for relief from pain and for the hope of health renewed. Continue, we pray, the good work you have begun in me; that I, daily increasing in bodily strength, and rejoicing in your goodness, may so order my life and conduct that I may always think and do those things that please you; through the mercy of your love I pray. Amen.

For Doctors and Nurses
Sanctify, O Lord, those whom you have called to the study and practice of the arts of healing, and to the prevention of disease and pain. Strengthen them by your lifegiving spirit, that by their ministries, the health of the community may be promoted and your creation glorified. Amen.

May all beings cross over to the other shore, from suffering to liberation, from forgetfulness to mindfulness, from ignorance to enlightenment. Enlightenment! Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu! (Amen)

Christian (Prayer of St. Francis)
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that I may seek not so much to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

In the darkness that encircles us all around, and shuts our vision, do Thou, Lord, rise like the sun, and dispel the darkness with Thy Light Divine. May all be freed from dangers. May all realize what is good. May all be motivated by noble thoughts. May all rejoice everywhere. May all be happy. May all be free from diseases. May all realize what is good and healthy. May none be subject to misery. O Lord, lead us from the unreal to the Real. Lead us from darkness to Light. Lead us from death to Immortality! Peace, peace, peace be unto all!

Almighty God! Lord of humankind: remove the hardship and release the sick of her/his sickness. Ease the suffering and heal him/her as you are the Healer. There is no cure except through Your healing. Help us to be steadfast and make our faith well established. Grant us a healthy heart and a truthful tongue. Set right our affairs and forgive us our sins, our wrongs, our mistakes, and shortcomings. Amen.

Jewish (Psalm 23)
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me. Your rod and staff support me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

A prayer for all
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord keep all those whom we love, whether here or in some other place. May God be our companion and friend, as we walk together through all the days of our lives; and at the journey’s end, may we find the welcome of God’s love. It keeps us all. Amen.


You will find the Buck Rice Memorial Chapel located just off the Main Lobby elevators. The Chapel is always open for quiet meditation and prayer. Each Sunday morning at 8:30, one of our chaplains leads a service and all are welcome to attend. The chapel also hosts special services throughout the year, including the following:

  • Hospital-wide holiday worship: Christmas and Good Friday
  • Sacramental services: communion, baptism, marriages, blessings
  • Literature distribution/other items: Bibles, Torahs, Qurans and other books, pamphlets, crosses, prayer rugs are also available if needed.

One of EAMC’s special volunteers was John Edwin “Buck” Rice. After “Mr. Buck” passed away, EAMC built a new chapel in his memory. This was funded through donations to the Foundation’s Buck Rice Memorial Fund, which was started by Mr. and Mrs. Billy Hitchcock and family. The original third-floor chapel, called the Buck Rice Memorial Chapel, was dedicated on April 2, 1989. The new chapel built on the first floor across from the main elevators, was dedicated in November of 2007.

When the new chapel was to be constructed it was important that it be built not just as another room, but as a place where real people with real concerns to be lifted up could come and have a place. It was important for those who come through the doors of EAMC to recognize that they were not coming to a place where God was not present, but a place where God resides and may be experienced. The EAMC family were asked to bring stones of remembrance (based on the story found in the Bible – the Book of Joshua, chapters 3 and 4). God tells Joshua to tell the Israelites that when they traveled through the river to choose rocks and place them on the other side of the river as rocks of remembrance. These rocks are to remind not only the ones who experienced God’s presence that day, but also to us all that God cares and is present.

Because we are a community medical center, we felt it was important that we create a community feel. EAMC employee and photographer Christine McIntosh contributed the four prints of different locations in Lee County that hang in the chapel.

Another piece of artwork featured in the chapel is the framed poem, Practicing Peace, the text of which follows:

“It’s not an idea. As an idea, it’s no more powerful than war. It’s not a demonstration. We can carry signs on behalf of other problems. It’s not an admonition; reproach cannot produce it. It’s not historical; we cannot look back and retrieve it. It’s not human nature, not a natural behavior. Primitive, we would not know it any better. It might be uncertain. It might be an endless pursuit. It might be a state of mind. It might be a journey. It might be pure energy. It might be a dream. Peaceful is not something we are, that we decided once, or something we do, that is the only route. Like forgiveness, peace is a practice. Moment to moment, it’s how we choose to be: when the grill won’t start, when the dog keeps barking, when the check bounces, when the train is late, when we are angry and searching for someone to blame.”

ChapelThe poem was written by Cathryn Hankla, and Susan Loy hand lettered Hankla’s poem in concentric circles in shades of purple watercolors. The poem surrounds the word for peace in Arabic, lettered in blue.

The blue and purple border contains the word peace in nine alphabets and twenty-seven languages. The blue and gray background is made of the word peace in Akkadian cuneiform as well as the modern peace sign, which is a combination of the naval code of semaphore’s code letters for N and D (nuclear disarmament). The peace sign was designed by the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War in 1958.

Information for Clergy

We work closely with community clergy and pastoral visitors who minister to their parishioners or congregants in the hospital. If patients indicate their denominational preference when they are admitted to the hospital, their names will be included on a Clergy Census. Their names will be listed by their denominational choice so you may locate them for pastoral visitation. Persons may choose NOT to be included in the Clergy Census, and their names will not be included. It will then be their responsibility to make their clergy person aware of their hospitalization.

Below is a link to an information form for visiting clergy. Completing this form allows our hospital to have an after-hours contact number in the event that a patient or family (of your parish or congregation) has a need. Please print and complete this form and either mail it to us or bring it by on your next visit to EAMC.

Clergy Information Form

Visiting Parishioners at EAMC
Visiting the sick in the hospital is a wonderful way to show you care. The emotional and spiritual support you show your friends, loved ones or parishioners is a valuable part of healing. However, there are some things that you should be aware of to make your visit more pleasant for both you and the patient you are seeing.

  • Wash your hands or use the alcohol-based hand sanitizer available in each patient room BEFORE and AFTER you visit. Germs can transfer from your hands to the patient (or from one patient to another) and put him or her at risk for infection.
  • Do not visit if you are ill. Call, send a card or a gift instead. Although most of us are used to going about our business when we’re sick with a cold or mild bug, for a patient in the hospital recovering from illness or surgery, that bug could be serious.
  • For your protection, get a flu shot every year.
  • Always knock before entering a patient’s room, and wait until you are asked to enter.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with either a tissue or your sleeve. Then wash your hands.
  • Limit visits to 30 minutes or less to avoid overexerting the patient. Follow the hospital’s guidelines for visits to the critical care units.

Visiting Hours
Patient care is our primary concern; therefore, specific visiting hours and regulations have been established for each unit. Visiting hours are from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. If you need additional information, please check with a nurse on the unit or the volunteer at the information desk in the Main Lobby.

Critical Care Areas (CVICU and ICU) Visiting Hours:
10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
8:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Clergy Parking
There are a number of reserved clergy parking spaces in Level 1 of the parking deck.

The legend of the Circle of Friends

The Legend of the Circle of Friends

Ancient native legend says that at the end of the evening, friends would gather around a bonfire and share their cares and concerns. They would speak of the good qualities of each other and remember times shared. As the embers faded, their friendship was said to be sealed anew, bringing them closer together.