A Message from Renita Heinzl
St. Luke’s ACPE Certified Educator
& Senior Chaplain

I have the distinct privilege of serving as the ACPE Certified Educator and Senior Chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital’s Network of Care.  Our Spiritual Care Services is comprised of eleven team members. Ordained in the PCUSA, board-certified as a chaplain, and certified as a Marriage and Family Therapist, Rev. Emily Rosencrans is the Director, Network Spiritual Care.  Our team has two other board-certified chaplains, one of whom is a Roman Catholic priest, as well as two PRN chaplains and an administrative assistant.  Each year we are pleased to welcome four Chaplain Residents into our one-year ACPE Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) residency program.  It is an honor to work with my colleagues in our mission and ministry to help improve the health of the community in body, mind, and spirit.

My journey to chaplaincy took many interesting twists and turns.  Before getting my M.Div. at Princeton, I got my Master’s in Adult Health Nursing with a focus on Psychiatric Mental Health at the University of Texas in Austin.  As a registered nurse, my former pastor said nursing and ministry would serve me well were I to become an ACPE Certified Educator.  I had never heard of CPE, so I just chuckled to myself thinking that will never happen.  But God has a sense of humor as not long thereafter I had to do a unit of CPE in order to be ordained.  I joined the residency program at St. Luke’s Hospital in September 2001 when my husband, Dieter, and I moved to St. Louis.  I was ordained in February 2003.  As the Lord works in mysterious ways, I then felt called to become a Certified Educator and completed ACPE’s supervisory education program in 2006.  It is hard to believe I have been here twenty years!

In my work as a chaplain, nursing and chaplaincy have fit together like a hand in a glove.  Bearing witness to God’s love as I companion people through vulnerable times when life meets faith—whether in times of sorrow or celebration—is sacred to me.  As I journey alongside patients and families while supporting our team members, I feel blessed to participate in the journey of others as God’s love and presence become incarnate through the hearts and hands of those caring for them.

In my role as an Educator, I have the privilege of facilitating learning experiences that foster students’ incarnational journey of being and becoming in an interfaith community.  Out of intense involvement with persons in need, and the feedback from fellow learners and the Educator, students develop a new awareness of themselves, as well as of the needs of those to whom they minister.

CPE in our Center unfolds in a relational learning environment as we create a sacred space through which the processes of pastoral reflection, formation, and competence are birthed and explored.  I liken such “abundant growth” to the midwifery process as I companion students in their journey of discovery as persons and competent spiritual care professionals.  My hope is to facilitate learning experiences that not only enhance professional competence but also are transformative and life-giving. We aim for excellence in our CPE Programs as we offer professional education for ministry, as well as ongoing continuing education opportunities.

If you want to grow in your understanding of ministry or are looking for new ways to do ministry, you are welcome to apply to our CPE residency program.  Please contact me if you have any questions at renita.heinzl@stlukes-stl.com.

Rev. Renita Heinzl
St. Luke’s ACPE Certified Educator
& Senior Chaplain

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