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MHP Chapel dedication, open house announced

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The public is invited to The Rev. James Horner Chapel Open House and Dedication inside Major Health Partners Medical Center on July 12 from 3 to 5 p.m.


For The Shelbyville News

Every detail is finished inside the chapel on the first floor of the Major Health Partners Medical Center, 2451 Intelliplex Dr., Shelbyville, and everyone has the opportunity next week to take a look.

Dedication of The Rev. James Horner Chapel will be part of an Open House July 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. MHP employees along with the public are invited.

The Rev. William C. Horner, who followed in his dad’s footsteps in serving as senior pastor of the local First Christian Church, will offer a dedication prayer at 3:30 p.m., and his brother, Jack Horner, MHP’s president and chief executive officer (CEO), will share a few words.

The late Rev. James Horner, who passed away at the age of 82 on March 13, 2009, was pastor of the First Christian Church for 34 years.

“My father came to Shelbyville in 1958 (from Johnstown, Pa.) just when the new addition was put on the hospital (at the West Washington Street site),” said Jack Horner. That site is a green space today. “Dad came by the hospital every day. He was somewhat of a community minister. He based his life on service to others. I was able to experience that first hand. When you look at the hospital, you can see that there is no better place to offer service to mankind.”

The Horner brothers grew up next to the hospital in the church parsonage. That house was moved when the parking lot and the east wing were added to Major Hospital, according to Jack Horner.

He said he and the rest of the Horner family felt it was fitting to name the MHP Chapel in honor and in memory of their father after the suggestion was presented to them because of the amount of service Rev. James Horner gave to others by providing comfort of need.

“I’m looking forward to this,” said Jack Horner. “It’s an important part of the care we provide here at MHP with our chaplains.”

MHP has 17 volunteer chaplains who care for its patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to Linda Bacon, the manager of MHP’s volunteer services and gift shop. “They round on all patients and check on staff to make sure they are okay. They are local clergy and they’re from all walks of life. We have lay ministers and certified chaplains of all faiths. They build strong relationships with our patients.”

Bacon said there have even been times when the chaplains have performed weddings and funerals in the hospital. “Another unique feature of our chaplains is they come with no time frame making it possible for them to talk with patients, hold their hands if requested, and provide comfort. Our chaplains will follow-up on the patients once they’re released, too.”

The staff, she said, has become so reliant on the chaplains. “Our physicians will stop chaplains in the hallways and ask if they would stop in to see a patient they just spoke with when they see the need. It’s important that our physicians have that trust in our chaplains and the chaplains are comfortable with our physicians. It’s all about spiritual need and spiritual distress.”

MHP serves to heal illness, not just through medicine but also by attending to the emotional, spiritual, and holistic needs of patients, families, friends, caregivers, physicians and staff, according to Bacon and Jack Horner.

“If a person is not in the right state of mind, it could cause havoc on the body,” said Bacon. “Statistics have shown that state of mind helps the healing process. Our goal is to get them back home in better condition than when they came in.”

Realistically, that does not always happen. A bereavement team will then step in.

“The bereavement team is called when there is an emergent need,” said Bacon. They attend also to whoever has a need, whether it’s the family who brought the patient in to the hospital, a neighbor, or caregiver, she said.

The chapel, conveniently located off the main hallway at the Maternity Department entrance, has actually been open since the first day MHP started operations, according to Bacon. It just wasn’t finished. It took time to acquire details like the identification signage that gives recognition to the skilled local artisans who contributed to completion of the chapel, she said.

Those included are: Jerry McKenney, MHP special projects engineer, who made the wooden items throughout the chapel, including the kneeling bench that incorporates a handrail that came from the staircase at the William S. Major and Frances Cory Mansion, built in 1890 and ultimately becoming the first hospital in the early 1920s when Cory turned the deed over to the City of Shelbyville; Tom Gallagher, the stained glass door and stained glass windows designed and created in 2005 and preserved from the former hospital, and Vernon Sharp, local woodworker, who enclosed all of the original stained glass with wood framing. McKenney also made a cross and Star of David from iron, framing them for display inside the chapel above the entry door along with a crucifix, and the Bible stand at the front of the chapel.

The newel post from the mansion staircase is also inside the chapel.

“There has pretty much been a chapel in various locations since the first hospital,” said Bacon. “It’s a place to come to meditate, be quiet, be reflective and it provides respite for the caregivers who’ve been at the bedside of their loved ones. It also provides reprieve for employees. They come here, along with physicians and other medical staff personnel.”

Communion is offered in the chapel, along with inspirational pamphlets, bibles, and rosaries, according to Bacon.

The chapel “is extremely important to the overall care”, said Jack Horner. In time of need, it offers some peace, and a space for reflection.