1. How did God move you to become a Hospice Chaplain?
Before I moved to Bryan/College Station, I had worked as a hospital chaplain and several family members had hospice care. I spent some time meditating on my résumé and life experience. I thought, “This looks like the education and life experience of a hospice chaplain.” I think this was a message from God. Hospice Brazos Valley was the only hospice in the area, and I applied. At the time, they didn’t have an opening; however, six months later they did. I have worked there since 2002. I feel God led me to Hospice Brazos Valley, and I expect to be here until God directs me otherwise.
2. Do you feel people are able to open up to you more as a Hospice Chaplain?
Many people request chaplain visits, because they want to be reminded of God’s love and promises. I can’t say whether people open up more to me than to others, but I seek to use the tools God has given to me to meet the needs of patients and families.
Recently, Hospice Brazos Valley has been given a digital device that contains images from 10 art museums. It is called “For the Love of Art.” It has been entrusted to me, since I am also an artist. It has been a great addition to my ministry. I have often used images of paintings by me or by others with patients. On some occasions, I have made art with patients. I find that showing art to patients or doing art with them opens up a lot of conversations and memories and can provide comfort.
3. According to your observations, what doctrines need special emphasis in our day?
I believe there are central doctrines that are essential to the Christian faith. I don’t know how I could pick just one as more important than another. These central doctrines include the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and salvation by grace through faith. I find a lot of people tend to think it doesn’t matter what they believe, as long as they have a spiritual life. I try to point them to Jesus using images, presence, and words.
4. Are we saved by just grace, or is work involved?
Grace and works cannot be separated. If I’ve been saved by grace, I will desire to work for God’s glory, but works alone are insufficient to save me. I cannot earn God’s forgiveness and the joy of knowing God. I can only receive these things as gifts from God.
5. What is something you love to do with your family?
I have two sons. One lives in Heaven; his life and death are a big part of why I am a hospice chaplain. Visiting the other is a great joy. He is often out of the country, but when he is at his current location in Austin, I love just being with him. After not seeing him for five months, I was able to spend all of Valentine’s Day with him. We went to an art gallery, visited four bicycle shops, ate dinner out, and later sat side by side in his apartment updating my website (http://cherrywinklemoore.com). I can’t imagine a better day.
6. What are ways the community can help Hospice Chaplains?
Pray for hospice chaplains. Educate yourself about hospice, so you can help others find the help they need in a timely way. People tend to have many misconceptions and fears about hospice. Spread the word that compassionate end-of-life care is available. One of the biggest misconceptions is the patient must be very close to death. There is so much the hospice team can do when people come on service sooner rather than their last few days.
7. What is true biblical repentance?
True biblical repentance is turning away from our sin and turning toward God…and not turning away from God on Monday after a Sunday of praise and worship. As the title of a book by Eugene Peterson has it, the Christian life is “a long obedience in the same direction.”