Reverend Tanya Wyldflower, Chaplaincy Program Director
As an Ordained Minister in Religious Science, my studies of the world’s religions and spiritual principles serves me to serve people of all faiths. I have been a volunteer chaplain for the Hospital for the last 10 years and the chaplain coordinator for 5 years. I am also the Hospice Bereavement Support Group Facilitator as well as the Spiritual Director of the Center for Spiritual Living in Mendocino. It has been my great joy to watch our Chaplaincy Program grow into the model program that it is. The Chaplain volunteers that serve here receive continuous education and support for what they do and the quality of their personal commitment and gifts to our patients and staff continues to fill me with admiration and gratitude.
For more information, contact the Reverend Wyldflower at 707-961-1234, extension 208.
Specially Trained in Spiritual Care
Hospital patients, friends and family of patients and Hospital staff benefit from the Chaplaincy Service. Some of the Chaplains are ordained ministers, while others are lay-chaplains who have received special training and have experience in visiting the sick, have an understanding of the philosophy and practice of spiritual care, as well as a respect for all faith traditions. The Chaplains provide bedside visits every day of the week. Special services are provided from time to time.
The Chaplain’s Role in Patient Care
The Chaplains’ goal is to promote health and healing by providing appropriate spiritual support to those who request it. The interfaith Chaplains at MCDH understand that spiritual expression can take many forms, and they seek to serve each individual in a way that affords the most comfort.
Understanding and Concerned Confidants
The Chaplains are understanding and concerned confidants who provide an attentive and spiritual presence for the patient. The Chaplains serve as a trusted person, compassionate and non-judgmental, offering support for comfort and healing. They understand the need for privacy and confidentiality and honor and respect those who ask for their services.
For information about The Reverend Tanya Wyldflower, see the tab “Meet Our Director”.
Helena Bell has lived the last 15 years in this special place that is the North Coast. She has been committed to service without monetary remuneration a kind of noblesse oblige… only with very little ‘noblesse’! Currently working at Panache & Highlight Gallery in the Village. Helena has a BA in Liberal Studies. The Volunteer Chaplain Training spoke to a deep need to touch those in need. She is in the process of completing her Chaplain training.
I decided to become a Chaplain in order to give support and comfort to people going through spiritual and/or emotional crisis. Because of my own life experiences I know the effects of being ill and in the hospital for both patient and family. In my private Polarity and Reiki practice, playing the harp in the hospital, being a Chaplain, and serving as a hospice volunteer, it is my honor and joy to support those in need.
Lori has been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for thirty years. She has worked and taught in the fields of death and dying; family therapy and domestic violence. She has run stress reduction and personal empowerment workshops in the US and Europe. Lori has been a Coast Counselor and Coordinator for Mendocino County. She has studied both psychology and religious studies. Along with her Chaplaincy, Lori is the Director of the People’s Alternative s to Violence Program, a court certified anger management program for men and women, which she has facilitated for over twenty years. She also has a psychotherapy practice where she does counseling, mediation and consultation.
Ann Kyle Brown
An Ordained Soto Zen Priest and founder of Kumeido, the Mendocino Zen Center, Ann has been a Chaplain at MCDH since 2003. She participates as a trainer in the Chaplain training program and has offered several very well received classes to hospital staff on subjects such as “Buddhist Training in Caregiving” and “Stress Reduction Through Mindfulness Practice.”
I’m a former First Reader (effectively the “minister”) at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Fort Bragg. In preparation for this, I have gone through Christian Science Class Instruction, an intensive course in Christian Science theology ,attending refresher courses for almost 30 years. Finally, I have had a year course in Christian Science Nursing. This is a combination of intensive religious instruction and practical training in the care of the sick, including many months of on-the-job training. The Christian Science nurse is expected to minister to the sick – providing both physical and spiritual care I’ve been a Chaplain for about seven years. My goal since coming to the coast has been to help people, and serving as a chaplain lets me do this. I also prepare the monthly statistical reports for the Chaplaincy.
The story of my service as chaplain is one of inspiration:
-By Rev. Wyldflower who was so helpful to all of us who attended our hospital’s mutual support grief group and in her comprehensive prospective-chaplains instruction course and ongoing training
-By my fellow chaplains, spiritual, dedicated and compassionate
-By MCDH hospital staff, caring, professional, responsive
Especially by our patients from whom I invariably receive so much more than anything I can give.
I am so very grateful to be included in this important service of spiritual care.
My family moved here in 1976 when my parents bought Racines. I love my community and the people in it. I volunteered for the Chaplin program out of a need to be of service in a way that has deep meaning. Many have asked me “what makes you qualified to be a Chaplain?” Besides completing the training provided by the hospital, I was raised Methodist, went to a private Catholic high school, embraced the Baha’i Faith as my own, and married a Jew! See you in the halls!
What an honor it is to serve as a Chaplain at MCDH! Many years ago, as I kept vigil with family here in the hospital, a nurse offered some words, which helped me through that time and, in fact, shifted my life view. Now, through the excellent training and support from the Chaplaincy Program, I am able to give back as a volunteer member of the “Wellness” team. The ongoing trainings and experiences at MCDH dovetail beautifully with my job at College of the Redwoods where I have worked with disabled students for 21 years and currently serve as the Disabilities Specialist.
My education in religion and spirituality began when I entered the first grade at Our Lady of Lourdes School and progressed to a BA Degree in Philosophy (with an emphasis in Scholasticism) from College of the Holy Names in Oakland. Since that time, my spiritual path has expanded to include core shamanism training, the Hoffman Quadrinity Process, co-founding the Spiritual Retreat Fund for alcoholics and their families, and pursuing the Divine in nature. Further, my parents, instilled within me that serving my community was natural, honorable and perhaps my greatest end. The MCDH Chaplaincy Program offered me the opportunity to act on both interests in a special way — I grabbed and got the brass ring! Serving as a lay chaplain to the patients and staff here in our rural hospital is an honor and a gift. The experience has so beautifully confirmed to me that time, compassion, and openness can change our world by bringing love, hope and comfort to just one person at a time.
Reverend Gail Johnson
Rev. Gail Johnson has been a chaplain for several years. She especially loves the training opportunities provided by MCDH and Rev. Tanya Wyldflower for chaplains. In addition to being the Assistant Director at Mendocino Center for Spiritual Living, she has worked over 25 years in the medical field with emphasis on technical training. As a minister, she teaches classes and workshops, speaks, performs weddings and works as a Spiritual Life Coach. She has a degree in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco with a special interest in how people make changes in their life and how to get organized. Gail is married to David Leonhardt and together they own GlassDharma, manufacturer of glass drinking straws.
Born in Michigan, Rev. Bonnie Novakov Lawlor has spent her adult life divided between Northern California and New England, working as a mind-body practitioner. She holds an MA in Dance from Mills College in Oakland, and taught dance for a number of years before becoming a certified acupressurist and yoga teacher. In the last six years she has trained as a chaplain and spiritual counselor at The Chaplaincy Institute for the Arts and Interfaith Ministry in Berkeley, and at St. Luke’s Hospital in San Francisco. Last year she received Educational Theological Equivalency for a Masters of Divinity from the Association of Professional Chaplains, and is currently in the process of applying for national board certification She works four times a year in Boston and New York in pastoral counseling and embodied healing, and will be finishing her MA in Culture and Spirituality at Holy Names University in Oakland this summer.
He was born at the old Community Hospital in Fort Bragg in 1945, the fifth generation of his Anglo family here on the coast. He also has indigenous family. After living in the Bay Area for most of his adult life, he returned to Fort Bragg in 1993. Having been awarded the first Chaplain of the Year recognition, Blake has been with the Chaplaincy Program since its inception, In addition, he is also the organist at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church and in an ordination program with the Episcopal Church leading toward ordination as a priest. His interests are language and literature, history, comparative religious studies, music, psychology, and enjoying the beauty of his beloved native coast.
Reverend Karen Lebacqz
An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Dr. Lebacqz has taught ethics in the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley for nearly 30 years. She also occasionally gives the sermons at Evergreen United Methodist Church in Fort Bragg and serves on the Ethics Committee of MCDH. Dr. Karen has been a Volunteer Chaplain for our Hospital and currently serves as the chair of the Chaplaincy Advisory Committee.
I grew up in a Judeo/Christian home and have siblings that are of many faiths. I became a nurse in 1964 and after moving here in the 70′s, to help my folks build and manage “The Woods”, began working part time as a charge nurse at Sherwood Oaks. I have taken many continuing education classes in critical stress management, grief therapy, depression, holistic health, nutrition, disaster classes etc. I organized and facilitated the first (?) grief group on the Coast in the seventies. Mendocino Presbyterian Church is my home church since 1973 where I have served in many capacities. I was called to be a Chaplain in 2004 and have been serving ever since. I am an ordained minister through Rose Ministries and have a new independent ministry called Sacred & Secular Ministries for any who need my services. It seems that my whole life was leading me to ministering as a Chaplain, and the saying is true: “The more you give, the more you receive”.
Pamela J. Morgan
Pamela J. Morgan is a lady of many hats. Living overseas has taught me to expand myself past borders and cultural differences. Even during difficult times of civil unrest, I always knew that I was being watched over and protected. Rev Gail, Rev Tanya and Chaplain Blake confirmed that I have always worn a Chaplaincy’s Hat. They are the ones who led me to this program. I thank you for your support and helping me to acknowledge…that I am a Chaplain.
“Wysteria” Carolyn Owen
Focusing on holistic healing all her professional life, she has served as an occupational therapist in hospitals, then as faculty and counseling psychologist at CSULB and now as graduate practitioner of Science of Mind at the Mendocino Center for Spiritual Living and Chaplain at our hospital. Honoring body, mind, and spirit, she shares her life with others joyfully.
The wonderful 8-week class for interested chaplains was the springboard for this special opportunity to serve; an experience I share with my wife Carole, also a hospital chaplain. This hospital recognizes that wellness has a physical and an emotional/spiritual component and it is an honor to serve in the healing process. In my personal faith I choose to be open to the truth however it wishes to present itself acknowledging that there is much that lies beyond our human understanding. For 25 years I have had the great pleasure of presiding at many wedding ceremonies here on the coast. I am a teacher’s aide at the Comptche School and a member of the Comptche Volunteer Fire Department.
I have been a Chaplain at MCDH since 2006 and I enjoy a regular shift each week at the hospital. With my Master’s degree in Counseling and presently enrolled in a PhD in Holistic Ministries working with the patients and employees at the hospital is a good fit. I am also able to facilitating the Bereavement Hospice support group and coordinating the chaplains when Tanya is away. With a specialized certificate in spiritual care in crisis I am working with others to teach psychological first aid and tools to deal with traumatic events. Trained in Critical Incident Stress Management for both individual and groups I am presently working with the hospital to train people to form a CISM team to help when a crisis occurs for either the employees, patients and/or their families. Being a volunteer firefighter and EMT with Westport Volunteer Fire Company, I also work with emergency response teams and fire departments for incidents which may impact them and their families. My goal is to train others to help people when crisis occurs and help them avoid long term effects from traumatic incidents.
My background is an MA in Counseling/Psychology and 40 years of working in agencies and later in private practice as a Marriage and Family Counselor plus many trainings over the years and volunteering at Hospice. Having been through cancer enhances my willingness and ability to Be with whatever comes up and listen with my heart. This is a joyful nonjob and I’m grateful to be able to be a volunteer Chaplain at this exceptionally wonderful hospital.
Patricia Marie Pryor
Patricia has over 20 years’ experience as a teacher, consultant, and businesswoman. She has always possessed a zest for life, which has propelled her through many interesting and rewarding life experiences, and given her the desire to help others understand simple truths and principles towards building a support system of their own, ultimately creating peace on earth. A Reiki Master, she has studied and taught ReiKi for 12 years. She is also a certified hypnotherapist, and conducted seminars for mothers and daughters on skin care and body care, modeling and self-esteem. Currently she is a Real Estate sales person and a volunteer Chaplain.
Carol Ann Walton
As a Realtor and professional businesswoman on the Mendocino Coast for the past twenty-seven ye/taars I have become involved with people on a variety of levels. I have served as a Chaplain for the past seven years both as a Lay Eucharistic Minister (in the absence of a Catholic Priest) and on the Chaplain Advisory Committee. It is truly an honor to serve with the broad range of spiritual persuasions represented by the gallant group of our growing number of Chaplains. I love being a Chaplain because I have the privilege and joy of Being with people and not needing to Do anything except be a stand in for Spirit. Often it’s a friendly visit and sometimes the patient desires to talk about the deeper concerns experienced during illness. For some people it’s facing their own mortality and wanting to complete something and I have the joy of assisting in that process.