The Spiritual Care Department started on April 6, 1987, when the Rev. Ronald G. Wedekind of the United Hospital in Grand Forks, N.D., was hired as the first chaplain and director of what was then the Pastoral Care Department.
To meet the need for pastoral services, the Chaplain Associate Program began in December 1988 with eight area clergy. This successful program continues to provide on-call coverage through the volunteer ministry of approximately 40 area clergy and lay persons.
In April, 1990, through funds from the Duke Endowment, the Rev. Don Ledbetter, Associate Supervisor, ACPE Inc., joined the Pastoral Care Department. In 1991, the department was granted candidacy status to offer programs of Basic and Advanced Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). The first accredited Clinical Pastoral Education program was offered during Fall 1991. In November 1994, the department received full accreditation for the CPE program.
The Rev. Mary Ann Poythress, Associate Supervisor, ACPE, was employed October 24, 1994, to help implement and develop the residency program and served as the chaplain for the NHRMC Rehabilitation Hospital.
In April 2002, the Pastoral Care Department changed its name to the Spiritual Care Department based on the commitment to be more inclusive and reflect increased diversity.
Don Ledbetter, CPE Supervisor, resigned in December 2002 to become the Spiritual Care Director and CPE Supervisor at Rutherfordton Hospital in Rutherford, NC. In August 2003, Rev. Oliver Lee, CPE Supervisor from the McFarland Institute in New Orleans, La., was hired to fill the CPE Supervisor position. In May 2004, Oliver Lee resigned as CPE supervisor to become the Director of CPE at the McFarland Institute, New Orleans, La. In May 2005, Paula Bradley transferred from her CPE resident position to fill the department's administrative associate position and become the Oncology chaplain.
On September 11, 2006, Rev. Marty Aden, CPE Supervisor from the Scott and White Hospital, Temple, Texas, was hired to fill the vacant CPE Supervisor position. Mary Ann Poythress, CPE Supervisor, resigned in August 2007 to be with her family in Raleigh, N.C.
Rev. Elizabeth Stroop joined the Spiritual Care Department on August 11, 2008, filling the vacant CPE Supervisor position. She came from UNC Chapel Hill where she served as CPE Supervisor and Assistant Director of the Department of Pastoral Care. She is an ordained American Baptist minister, endorsed by the Alliance of Baptists.
In February 2009, Rev. Ron Wedekind retired after almost 22 years of ministry at NHRMC.
Marty Aden was hired as the new director of the department. With Marty taking on the job of director/CPE supervisor, the search began in February to add a third CPE supervisor to the staff.
The Rev. Cynthia V. Vaughan, ACPE Associate Supervisor, was hired to fill that position. She came to Wilmington from Emory in Atlanta, Ga., and began working with NHRMC in September 2009. Cynthia was fully certified as an ACPE Supervisor in Fall 2010.