The new program, which will be available early in 2021, will train Spanish-speaking volunteers to make pastoral care visits to people in the Latinx community who are affected by the COVID-10 pandemic but lack access to culturally appropriate mental and spiritual health resources.
“Bishop Anderson House is centrally situated in the midst of Chicago’s major Latinx communities, and its chaplains have seen how dramatically the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of patients, family members and staff at Stroger Hospital of Cook County,” said Ann Ryba, associate executive director of Bishop Anderson House. “By training members in Latinx communities, we will be reaching out to those people who are exceptionally affected by COVID-19 yet so often fall through the cracks of our healthcare system.
“We are grateful to the UTO for endorsing our vision of spreading effective, healing, nurturing and reconciling spiritual care to people who are struggling, especially in these tumultuous times.”
Six of the Diocese of Chicago’s Latinx congregations have requested Spanish-language pastoral care training, Ryba said. In the first year, Bishop Anderson House expects to train as many as 150 pastoral care associates who could serve as many as 2000 people.
“This project will build robust pastoral care networks to serve our churches and communities for the remainder of the pandemic and beyond,” Bishop Jeffrey Lee said. “I am grateful to the people of Bishop Anderson House for their faithful commitment to healing the whole person in all of our communities.”
The United Thank Offering encourages Episcopalians to give as an expression of gratitude for God’s blessings, often by placing coins in blue boxes that UTO has distributed since 1925. All of the proceeds are used to fund mission and ministry in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. So far in 2020, the UTO has raised $450,000. The next deadline for grant applications is February 26.