Our Volunteer Partners
Associate Chaplains are volunteers with four or more units of Clinical Pastoral Education, theological education, and are endorsed/ordained.
- Rabbi Irvin Beigel holds a Bachelors degree from Queen's College in New York, as well as an M.H.L. and ordination as a Rabbi from the Jewish Theological seminary. After serving in synagogues for many years, he completed 4 units of Clinical Pastoral Education. In addition to visiting Jewish patients, Rabbi Beigel conducts a weekly televised Shabbat program from the Interfaith Chapel. He is well known for appearing as a clown on the Jewish holiday of Purim each year.
- Rev. Jose 'Joe' Colon, MDIV, MSW is a Church of Christ licensed Minister and chaplain at St. Joseph's Hospital and Crouse Hospital. He is retired from the NYPD as Senior Detective Investigator, Homicide Division. He completed four CPE units at Upstate. In his spare time he enjoys reading and spending time with his three rescue dogs.
- Rev. Rayne Dabney joined our team in 2001. A licensed Vineyard Church minister, she comes to us from Cincinnati, Ohio and is a graduate of Mt. St. Mary's Seminary where she completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education. Her pastoral specialities include Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Neurological Intensive Care step down. When she is not involved in her hospital ministry, Rayne devotes her life to her beloved partner Fred and his family.
- Joy Magee is a lay Roman Catholic and chaplain at St. Joseph's Hospital who completed four units of CPE at Upstate. Her pastoral specialty is the Burn unit.
Assistant Chaplains are volunteers who have completed one to three units of Clinical Pastoral Education from an accredited program. Our Assistant Chaplains have some theological education and the ability to demonstrate sufficient professional chaplaincy competencies.
- Rev. Helen Beck has been an Assistant Chaplain with Spiritual Care at University Hospital since her completion of a Clinical Pastoral Education unit in May 2005. As an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, she currently serves churches in the Madrid area. Helen's passion for ministry derives from her desire to help people find healing and wholeness through spirituality.
- Joanne Birge is a retired children's attorney, ordained Presbyterian Elder, and certified Spiritual Director. She has completed two units of Clinical Pastoral Education and feels privileged to be able to volunteer as an Assistant Chaplain at Upstate. She is especially interested in Geriatrics and Oncology chaplaincy. In addition to her work as a chaplain, and due to an innate organizational streak, Joanne happily organized and maintains the Spiritual Care library.
- Rev. Tamara Davis completed a unit of CPE at Upstate. Employed full-time by the City of Syracuse, she still finds time to volunteer as a member of our hospital choir.
- Rev. Wesley Fleming completed 3 units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Upstate. He is an ordained minister serving the Eastside Vineyard Church. He joined the staff as Chaplain at Crouse Hospital in September of 2009. His education has been at St. Lawrence University and at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. Wes is certified in Disaster Mental Health as a trainer. At Crouse Rev. Fleming conducts a spirituality group on detox.
- Sandy Moldenhauer decided to volunteer at Upstate after completing a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education training in the summer of 2011. His accomplishments include receiving a MA in Pastoral Theology and Ministry from Luther Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul, MN and numerous sales and management awards through 3M. Sandy survived a critical auto accident, was in 37 day coma and with a traumatic brain injury while in college. While serving as a volunteer fire fighter and Hazmat Technician in New York he was diagnosed and successfully treated with quadruple bypass surgery January 2011. Sandy can be found in the Upstate Emergency Department every Friday morning, at Crouse every Monday morning and at the VA hospital on Thursdays.
- Bishop Ronald L. Russell spent 24 years in the US Air Force and then became a minister in the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee in 1981. Rev. Russell became the Bishop over Northern New York and Senior Pastor of the Lighthouse Mexico Church of God in January 1994. Bishop Russell has also produced the radio program "Look What the Lord has Done" covering Central and Northern New York for the past 16 years. He has also run feeding programs for the hungry, feeding well over 60,000 people in the last 8 years. He serves Upstate as an Assistant Chaplain.
- Gracia Sears came to volunteer in Spiritual Care via nursing (University of Rochester) and art (BFA from Syracuse University.) She began her career in public health and then moved on to work with the needy in community settings using art as a healing modality. In 2001 she completed one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, and is now an Assistant Chaplain. She authored the manual "Art and Spirituality." When a terminally ill patient finds a bit of respite while coloring a mandala and thanks her profusely, she knows she has succeeded in comforting them.
- Rev. Betsy Spaulding started her chaplaincy training with a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. She was ordained in Connecticut and has ministered to several small Unitarian Universalist congregations in New York State. In 2007 she attended the Pediatric Chaplain's Institute at Little Rock AK Children’s Hospital. Currently she visits with patients weekly and she serves as "On-Call" chaplain once a month. One special joy is being a member of the Upstate Hospital Choir. "I get satisfaction from being present with patients, listening and lifting spirits with a prayer, a conversation or a song, so I keep coming back."
Spiritual Care Volunteers
Spiritual Care Volunteers may be lay or ordained persons who volunteer four or more hours a week to do patient visitation, assist in the office, provide music ministry, or other needed functions.
- Rev. Dolores Card was Director of the Syracuse University Rape Center and has worked with victims of violence for the past 25 years. An ecumenical minister, she conducts classes, seminars and workshops on metaphysical concepts and principles as well as Reiki certification training. Volunteering at Upstate fits right in with her philosophy.
- Jody Carney can be found at the keyboard in the Chapel most weekends as our musician/cantor for Mass. She is also an Eucharistic Minister.
- Barbara Dayton is one of the faithful Saturday gang, serving as Eucharistic Minister.
- Shirley Hermann worked for many years in the Research Development Office at Upstate. A member of the Reformed Church in North Syracuse, she volunteers to "give back" and says she gets much more back from the patients she visits.
- Gloria Hoffman started out as a bookkeeper, became an ob-gyn nurse for 10 years, then moved on to become a certified K-12 teacher working as a sub in many schools. She is a lifelong member of Pine Meadows Wesleyan Church in Altmar, NY. Living in Pulaski, she drives an amazing 40 miles one way to volunteer as an office assistant and choir member in Spiritual Care. A veteran of 50 surgeries, Gloria knows the healthcare system intimately as a patient. Because of this, and her faith commitment, she felt led to join us.
- Rev. John Hottenstein is ordained in the United Church of Christ and taught for many years at SU's Newhouse School. His wife Pat is a retired nurse and sees Spiritual Care as "the best part of nursing." John states, "I'm retired and here I feel that I'm needed."
- Bertha Jacobs has been a Spiritual Care volunteer since early 2006. A former psychiatric social worker and current member of Tucker Missionary Baptist Church, She states, "It is truly a wonderful opportunity to encourage our patients and their families to reach to their faith traditions for strength and support not only when they face the challenges of life, but every day!"
- Patricia Leonard comes to Spiritual Care remembering that from the time she was a child, her grandmother Nana felt she had a gift for praying and being present with those who are ill. Pat has expressed that gift throughout her life in many different ways—she is an artist, poet, and a natural story teller with a great sense of humor. In addition to these forms of ministry, Pat has also enjoyed a long career as a professional clown, with a focus on children and fundraising for children's causes. Pat seems to be living out her Nana's prediction as a welcome partner in spiritual care!
- Lois Murphy is retired from her nursing career. She has five children and ten grandchildren. She volunteers with Spiritual Care because she wants to give something back. She enjoys interacting with patients and families, giving Holy Communion, and supportive listening.
- Ann Owens has been a very caring and concerned nurse at University Hospital for the past 16 years. In recent years, she wanted to do more with her patients using God as her main resource. She began volunteering in Spiritual Care about 5 years ago.
- Vincent and Andrea Pace have been married for 45 years. They both enjoy volunteering at Upstate immensely, and also volunteer once a week at Francis House, a local home for the dying. They are devout Catholics and enjoy bringing God into the lives of patients and families. Vince can be spotted easily, with his pinstripe shirt and his Yankee bow-tie.
- Rev. Marilyn Plaza has a special ministry to Hispanic patients. She and her husband, Bishop Luciano Plaza, have founded many churches.
- Louise Powless was an administrator for Verizon for 42 years. She is a Eucharistic Minister and she enjoys volunteering with Spiritual Care because she "gets more back than she gives."
- Elsie Schwickrath is our dedicated administrative assistant who from home helps us keep tabs on the statistics of our work. She's pleased to be able to give back to her community in a way that she likes.
- Bob Sedgwick has been a part of Spiritual Care here at Upstate for over six years. His volunteering has provided a wonderful and diverse opportunity for growth and knowledge in a clinical setting; as well as an opportunity to serve. Bob also volunteers in his Catholic parish and local community as a Eucharistic Minister, lector and visitor to senior housing.
- Rev. 'Jerry' Shave, Protestant Chaplain at Upstate for 41 years, continues with us as a weekly pastoral visitor and on-call clergy.
- Steffany Thomas is a graduate of Wells College, where she majored in religious studies. She has had various human service positions since her graduation and also received a paralegal certificate from Syracuse University. She is certified as a Level I Reiki (a healing touch therapy) practitioner and does Reiki here at Upstate. She loves graphic design and assists with many Spiritual Care publications. She also recently developed the PowerPoint presentation featured on the Spiritual Care Channel, Channel 40. Volunteering in Spiritual Care is a very fulfilling experience for her, and she is happy to assist with any project she is assigned.
- Mary Tolone is retired from Upstate, where she worked as a surgical technician. She volunteers because she likes being with patients and staff. As a member of the choir, she loves to sing and shares that with patients on Tuesday afternoons.
- Lenore Vaccarello is a volunteer whose background is in formal and life education. She is semi-retired, keeping a hand in her educational foundation by substitute teaching. Her work with children and parents throughout her career inspired her to volunteer at Golisano Children's Hospital where she assists the Pediatric Chaplains. Storytelling is one of her keenest interests. She hopes to be a published author someday./li>
- Walt Wasilewski, a Catholic lay volunteer, prays with and supports people of all faiths at Upstate University Hospital. A good friend, Fr. Innocent, invited him to join the team four years ago. He teaches journalism at Syracuse University, where he earned a master's degree, and writes for magazines. His undergraduate degree in English literature is from the State University College at Oswego. He worked at The Post-Standard for 27 years as a reporter and editor before retiring in 2007.
- Mary Winter was Director of Probation for many years. She is a dedicated member of the Cathedral downtown and divides her time between the golf course and being a Spiritual Care volunteer.
- Dona Wonacott is a Certified Music Practitioner who has been providing music one day a week through the Center for Spiritual Care since February 2010. Using a small harp, she plays live therapeutic music at the bedside to create a healing environment for those with acute and chronic illness, for the dying, and for those who care for them. She is a graduate of the Music for Healing and Transition Program™ and did her internship at Upstate to receive certification. Now retired from Physical Therapy, she feels that using her love of the harp to provide therapeutic music is a way to hopefully bring soothing, comfort and peace to patients and their families.