Chaplain's Corner

Chaplain's Corner

Do you have a question about ministering more effectively to a cancer patient or family member you know? Has one of them asked you a question that has you stumped? Are you concerned about what would be the most empowering response? Do you want to know what an experienced chaplain working in a cancer facility might say or do in a particular situation? The Chaplain's Corner is the place for you. Post your question, and one of the chaplains from Cancer Treatment Centers of America will answer you. Due to space and time limitations, we won't be able to post all questions asked, but we will respond to all of them.

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7 Comments Posted Add Yours Now

1. by julie largent on 7/17/2010 12:13:43 PM

Dear Chaplin ,I am a christian and so is the person i care about that has cancer ,,he was hesitant to tell me what type ,,,I found out from one of his family members that thought i knew ,,,this fellow i care about has prostrate cancer ,,he is in his fiftys his brother and father both died of cancer of differnt types ....he did tell me he had surgury this last tuesday ,,,we are both Christian and have went on many mission trips together ,,he has helped me through ,,many of my lifes challanges we have called each other and prayed over each other afor hours ,,at a time ,,so we have a deep conection ,,last time we went on a mission together ,,we ended up kissing and we found out ,,our relationship was advancing ,naturally ,,we live in differnt states ,,but the potential for a future together may be a possibility ,,I think he is afraid the prostrate cancer ,,will ,,affect everything ,,so he dident tell me ,,,what can i tell him ,,that would help him and ,,put him at ease ,,iive searched this website ,,for clues ,,,,i did tell him ,,im here for you ,,and i mean it ,,,ive been abandined by my own ,,children ,,and i wish they would say im here for you ,,,,and mean it ,,,any suggestions you can give would be of benifit ,,i send him cards weekly ,,,and e-mails ,god bless,,julie

Dear Julie,

I’m so sorry to hear that your friend has cancer.  This can be devastating news for anyone to hear.  Although there are many treatment options for prostate cancer, to someone who has just been diagnosed it can seem like a death sentence.  I am glad you are extending support to him by praying and sending cards.  Just knowing that you are there for him will probably be more beneficial to him than you know.  Sometimes, as friends and family, we get anxious because we want to “fix it” and just knowing that there is no simple fix puts us in a position of feeling helpless.  It is important to remember that although we don’t have the answers, the Lord does.  He is always in control, and will always give us the grace and strength we need in every situation.   God knew that this cancer would come, and He already has a plan to bring your friend through it in such a way that will both glorify God and be a blessing for  your friend.


You and your friend are in my prayers.  May God bless you!


Lisa Heyd, M.Div.

Pastoral Care, Chaplain

Cancer Treatment Centers of America/Southwestern Regional Medical Center


2. by Pastor Becky Morehouse on 7/17/2010 10:00:18 PM

I am serving a small rural congregation and have had more than I like to admit of cancer congregants. One, in particular, is a lady who is in stage 4 and is critically ill on Hospice. She had been Catholic and was ex-communicated some time back. ( We are a Spirit Filled Methodist Congregation). She is asking why a God of love would allow someone to go through what she is going through, and her family asks how do you deal with the news that you are terminal and you have to prepare for your life to be ending soon?

Dear Pastor Morehouse,


I see three different concerns mentioned in your message that I can address specifically.  First, you have a small congregation that has experienced a lot of cancer.  So as a group, your church is grieving the loss of friends and family members.  People all deal with grief differently, but with multiple losses and the trauma of the disease, their emotions are under constant strain which can lead to depression and a whole host of other side effects.  One way to deal with the grief is to continue to process openly the feelings and stresses associated with grief.  If you do not already have a grief support group in your community you may want to connect with one and make it available for your congregation.  Here’s a link that may be helpful:  Remember to include yourself in the grieving process.  Ministers have a bad habit of repressing their own feelings in order to help others. (I am still learning that lesson!)


Secondly, the question your congregant brought up, why would a loving God allow someone to suffer, is a very common and legitimate question that, unfortunately has no easy answer.  For the person who is suffering it feels like God doesn’t care, because if He did then he would heal the disease, relieve the pain, bring the finances, change the situation, etc, etc.  Basically, suffering of any kind is extremely difficult, and we don’t like it.  And we think that we know what God should do in order for us to be free from suffering.  The point is, our goal of being without suffering is different than God’s goal for our lives – to become more like Him.  The Bible is very clear that suffering will come to all of us.  God allows it for reasons that we cannot see, to produce in us a deeper reliance on Him, and a transformation of character that can only happen as we submit our lives to Him.  Even in the middle of suffering God is still good, and loving.  Asking those hard questions is a healthy part of grief, so encourage your congregant to continue to go to God and pour out her feelings.  And then gently remind her that even when we don’t understand, God is still good.


Lastly, when helping people prepare for the end of life keep these things in mind: the person needs to feel that their life had meaning; he or she needs to have peace about the after-life and their relationship with God; if possible the person should decide where and how they want to spend their final days. 


May God continue to bless you as you minister to your community.  Thank you for all that you do!


Lisa Heyd, M.Div.

Pastoral Care, Chaplain

Cancer Treatment Centers of America/Southwestern Regional Medical Center

3. by Pastor Valarie Phill on 8/16/2010 7:34:46 PM

Allow me to first congratulate you on the marvellous job you are doing in the area of cancer awareness and the healing process of hope for cancer patients and their families. When I was going through my shadowy years of peril there was not much support. I sought God in the dark nights of the soul and I was miraculously healed.Now I am ready to reach out to others with a message of hope. How does one begin a Ministry such as this in the hospitals ?

Dear Pastor Phill,


Praise God for the testimony of your healing!  After your experience with the Lord it sounds like you have a genuine desire to help others who are hurting and need God to touch them.  Most hospitals have Pastoral Care available in some form or another.  My recommendation is to talk with your local hospitals and see what their requirements are for ministering in their facility.  Some encourage ministers to volunteer as chaplains, others will hire full-time or part-time chaplains depending on the need.


God bless you!


Lisa Heyd, M.Div.

Pastoral Care, Chaplain

Cancer Treatment Centers of America/Southwestern Regional Medical Center


4. by Peggy on 1/31/2014 6:53:08 AM

I am looking for books for the spouse of a cancer patient. She was a new Christian when her husband got cancer then his tumor disappeared.  Now there are new rumors and her faith seems shattered. He wants to give her books. Any suggestions?

Thank you for this ministry

5. by Diana Mckerchie on 7/16/2014 6:54:51 PM

I am looking for a mentot that can help me I want to work for the lord. I want to become a chaplan go vist the sisk and stujt in.

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