Published on July 5, 2016
The chaplain’s office at Phoebe Richland is a cheerful, welcoming room thanks to the stained glass windows that form part of one wall. Rev. Jamie Moyer has been its occupant for over a year, and she has felt herself a part of the community since her first week. “In a church community it typically takes you a while to get to know the people and the whole system but at after four days at Phoebe I felt like I belonged.”
Rev. Moyer leads the busy life familiar to chaplains at Phoebe communities, offering spiritual services and Bible studies, as well as guidance, support, and friendship to the 157 residents at Phoebe Richland. With the energy that such emotionally invested work requires, Rev. Moyer says she often has to be reminded to look after her own spiritual health. Monthly meetings with the other chaplains provide a welcome forum to air troubles as well as triumphs, and give them the chance to encourage one another. Rev. Moyer sees a spiritual coach every month, too, and finds solace in her own hobbies. She gardens in the warm seasons, and sings in a choral society every week.
Yet it is when she seems quietest that Rev. Moyer is most engaged. As a chaplain, she spends most of her time listening to residents, family members, and others in her spiritual care. She says the chapel across from her office has become a natural haven for this.
“It’s a very safe place and that is really what we wanted it to be used for.”
The newly dedicated Benner Heller Memorial Chapel is lit by stained glass windows that inspire residents and visitors every day with their bright imagery and fine craftsmanship. Rev. Moyer says she loves to bring residents there—as they look at the windows with their pictographs of prayerful hands, sacred doves, chalices, and ships, they sometimes recall elements of their own pasts, intertwined with the present.
“What has been wonderful for me to see and is dear to my heart is when families come down to use the chapel and have conversations there with loves ones,” says Rev. Moyer. Children visit their grandparents and even great-grandparents, she says, bringing their jubilant energy to the peaceful space. On other occasions the chapel is crowded with residents, staff, and family members attending services. “I have a good problem,” she likes to joke: “Sometimes I don’t have enough room in the chapel!”