Palmerton Hospital campus has restored chapel
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Among those on hand for the rededication ceremony Wednesday for the newly refurbished chapel at the Palmerton Hospital campus of Blue Mountain Health Systems are from left, Andrew Harris, chief executive officer/president; Priscilla Offen, president of the Palmerton Auxiliary; and the Rev. H. Wilson Scott, head of chaplaincy.
Perhaps no hospital is ever fully complete in the absence of a place for fellowship and worship.
Thanks to its auxiliary and others, the Palmerton Hospital campus of the Blue Mountain Health System once again has a chapel to call its own.
A rededication ceremony of the newly refurbished chapel was held Wednesday at the Palmerton campus. The refurbishment was made possible by the Palmerton Hospital Auxiliary.
The Rev. H. Wilson Scott, head of chaplaincy of Blue Mountain Health Systems, led the dedication service.
Andrew Harris, president and chief executive officer of Blue Mountain Health Systems, gave the welcome address.
"A chapel is an important part of a hospital," Harris said. "While all the technology we have helps to diagnose health issues, a chapel helps to heal the heart and soul."
Harris specifically thanked Theresa Long, vice president of nursing, and Louise Zatoris, administrative assistant, for their pursuit of the project.
Also, Harris said the Palmerton Auxiliary provided the funds for the carpeting and upholstery, namely Jeanne Stemler and Jeff Hager of Hager Furniture, who provided their interior design talents.
Harris also thanked the Palmerton Hospital maintenance department, namely Mike Goral and his crew, who installed the lighting, the ceiling, the wall board, and hung the pictures.
The hospital had already owned the cross and the needlepoint of the Last Supper, he said.
Harris said Scott purchased the print of the Ner Tamid, also known as the Eternal Light, from the gift shop at Temple Beth El in Allentown. Scott also obtained the print of golden doors, and a prayer rug from a Muslim friend, he said.
"The items selected for the chapel truly reflect a sensitivity to all faiths," Harris said. "Thank you all again for coming."
Scott said the restoration of the chapel is a step in the right direction.
"This is another step forward in providing spiritual care to all who enter into the hospital," Scott said. "My hope is that this is the first step toward a full chaplaincy program."
While it's certainly important for a hospital to take care of the physical needs of its patients, Scott said it's also essential to take care of their spiritual needs.
Priscilla Offen, president of the auxiliary, said the restored chapel was a "joint effort."
"The room had been a chapel, and had been a chaplain's office," Offen said. "It had been used for storage in recent years."
Refreshments were available after the ceremony.