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Department of Spiritual Care

Established in 1977, the Department of Spiritual Care is comprised of full-time ACPE, Inc. Certified Educators, Staff Chaplains, part-time Associate Chaplains, CPE Students, Certified Mindfulness Instructor, and Volunteers. We provide 24-hour spiritual care to a growing healthcare network that is comprised of twelve campuses throughout northeast Pennsylvania and western New Jersey. Our ACPE, Inc.-accredited programs are innovative and collaborative.

  • The central Spiritual Care office is located at the St. Luke’s University Hospital-Bethlehem campus. We have Chapels located at many of our campuses across our network.
  • The Spiritual Care Department serves as a leader in Network-wide education on cultural and spiritual diversity, bioethics and ethical decision-making, resiliency, compassion-based mindfulness and grief and loss.
  • 24/7 in-house chaplaincy coverage at SLUH-B provided by CPE Students, Staff Chaplains, and Associate Chaplains, many of whom are local faith leaders.
  • Mindfulness Programs are provided throughout the year. Mindfulness Practices are skill-based, and you typically learn the practices and skills in an 8-week course. Clinical studies show that mindfulness helps with stress reduction, improvement in depression and anxiety, more balanced eating and decrease in pain sensitivity. Each course encourages you to develop presence, clarity, and emotional positivity. These practices are a wonderful tool to support health and well-being.
  • H.O.P.E. at St. Luke’s is a premier program for the Health, Outreach, Prevention, and Education for persons living with HIV / those at risk for HIV.
  • St. Luke’s Penn Foundation’s primary campus is located in Sellersville, PA and focuses on a community-based behavioral health support system through out-patient care. Penn Foundation’s Recovery Center provides inpatient and outpatient substance abuse rehabilitation services to adults struggling with addiction.
  • Crisis Response Chaplaincy responds to St. Luke’s Allentown, St. Luke’s Anderson, St. Luke’s Monroe County, St. Luke’s Upper Bucks, and St. Luke’s Warren provided by Associate Chaplains.
  • Innovative CPE curriculum provides an intense program of reflection on self and others as we provide spiritual care to patients, families, and staff.
  • Central to our departmental mission: inclusivity and respect for difference within a culture of safety.
  • Promotion of healthy work-life balance across our network.
  • Opportunity for close collaboration with community faith leaders.

Bethlehem Campus Labyrinth

The St. Luke’s Bethlehem’s labyrinth on Ostrum Street, across the street from the School of Nursing. Designed by Tom Fiorini, Director of Landscape Services, and built by his team, it is beautifully and simply made with stone on a grass pathway.

Labyrinths are an ancient symbol representing life’s journey. The oldest discovered labyrinth was found on a clay tablet in Greece, circa 1200 B.C.E., known as the “classical seven-circuit Cretan labyrinth.” The SLB labyrinth was built with this design in mind!

Labyrinths today are increasingly found in health care settings, retreat centers and houses of worship. Multi-disciplinary clinical literature about the use of labyrinths in healthcare settings site these therapeutic benefits:

  • Walking meditation
  • Coping tool
  • Use of silence for self-awareness
  • Problem-solving
  • Calmness and breathing techniques
  • Cognitive functioning and healing

A labyrinth differs from a maze in that it does not have dead ends, forks or obscured visibility. A labyrinth has one way into the center and the same way out. How you walk it and what your goal is differs with each walk and each person. You might walk it to clear your mind or focus your breathing. You might enter it with an intention or a prayer and “leave it” in the center, or you might enter it with a concern or a question and “receive” clarity in the center or on your way out.

In the Medieval period, churches such as Chartres in France began building walkable labyrinths out of inlaid stone in intricate and multi-quadrant and multi-circuit patterns to use for religious pilgrimages, both indoor and outdoor and in varying shapes and sizes. All styles of labyrinths have been discovered in caves and ancient structures, on coins and tablets, and within many spiritual, religious and native traditions. The number of circuits and quadrants are said to be based on symbols in sacred geometry. In a maze, many choices must be made. In a labyrinth, there is only one choice to be made: whether to enter or not.

Please feel free to take advantage of this space and opportunity for peaceful reflection.


Spiritual Care Staff

  • The Rev. Heidi Tierney, M.Div., Network Director of Spiritual Care. A graduate of Drew Theological Seminary, Madison NJ and ordained minister and endorsed for specialized ministries with the Federation of Christian Ministries. She is also a professional member of the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC).
  • The Rev. Dana C.J. Schroeder, Certified Educator and Manager of CPE. Originally from the state of Washington, his career in ministry and pastoral education has taken him from coast to coast, including time in Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio. From 2015 to the spring of this year he served as a Certified Educator and Staff Chaplain in the Advocate Health System in Chicago, IL. He is married to Lynnette, and they have two adult children, Christopher and Emily. They have one grandchild, Henry, and look forward to a second in October of this year. Lynnette is also an ordained minister and hospital chaplain. They especially like the outdoors, walking every evening and escaping to the country to hike and canoe whenever we can.
  • Eugene Search, M.Div., M.S. - Pastoral Care & Counseling, is the clinical coordinator for the network’s spiritual care department. He is also a co-director of the network’s crisis response team, and actively involved in several network-wide committees, including Emergency Management, Bioethics, Council of Cancer, and Gift of Life. Gene is a member of the Reform Jewish congregation Keneseth Israel of Allentown and a professional member of NAJC- Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains. He is a graduate of LTSP in Philadelphia, and Neumann University’s Pastoral Care & Counseling program, and currently enrolled in the Jewish Studies program at Gratz College.
  • Colette “Padma Dharini” Fanning, M.Sc. is the Mindfulness Educator for the St. Luke’s University Health Network. She is an Ordained Buddhist in the Triratna Buddhist tradition and a graduate of London University. Padma is an accredited Mindfulness Based Pain Management instructor, a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) instructor and a Mindfulness Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-EAT) instructor in training.
  • Renee Hagan, M.A. is the department secretary for Spiritual Care. Renee’s office is located at our Bethlehem Campus next to our Chapel. She has a background in mental health and ministry. Renee supports the administrative tasks of the Spiritual Care team and our CPE program.
  • Sister Judith Filorimo, CPS, BCC is the staff chaplain for the St. Luke’s Allentown Campus. Sister is a Board Certified Chaplain with the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood. She is a graduate of Alvernia University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology.
  • Carolee Gifford Staff Chaplain at the St. Luke’s Sacred Heart Campus. She is a Catholic lay woman trained with a concentration in behavioral health.
  • The Rev. John G. Hilferty, M.A., M.Div. is Director of Spiritual Care at St. Luke's-Sacred Heart Campus. He is a graduate of Mt. St. Mary's Seminary and is an ordained Priest for the Diocese of Allentown.
  • The Rev. Sue Conrad Howes, M.A., M.Div. is the Staff Chaplain at St. Luke’s Penn Foundation. She is a graduate of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, IN and is ordained in Mennonite Church USA.
  • The Rev. Fr. Eric Johnson, M.Div is the staff chaplain for the St. Luke’s Anderson Campus. He received his M.Div. from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (now known as The United Lutheran Seminary) and is ordained in the American Old Catholic Church.
  • The Rev. Kelly D. Wilkins, M.Div. is the staff chaplain for HOPE at St. Luke's Bethlehem and Easton clinics. She is ordained and endorsed by American Baptist Churches USA. Kelly Wilkins is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary and United State Army Chaplain School.
  • Naomi Madaras, M.Div. is the staff chaplain for Monroe and Warren campus. She completed her residency at Bethlehem in 2021-22 and received her Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. Naomi is part of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
  • Rev. Grace Newswanger, MA Staff Chaplain at the Upper Bucks/Quakertown campuses as well as a hospital chaplain for another local health system. Prior to working as a chaplain, Grace worked as the Director of a Community Center in Allentown, PA while completing an M.A. in Chaplaincy at Moravian Theological Seminary. Grace is an ordained minister and endorsed for specialized ministries with the Federation of Christian Ministries.
  • Mike Ford – currently interim staff chaplain at our St. Luke’s Bethlehem Campus. Raised attending Presbyterian and Lutheran churches, then found a theological home amongst the Mennonites and pastored in 3 Mennonite churches.
  • Kristy Christian, MATS – currently interim staff chaplain at our St. Luke’s Bethlehem Campus. Kristy is a trauma-informed staff chaplain at St. Luke’s Bethlehem campus and a member of the network’s Crisis Response Team. Kristy is a certified spiritual director and received a Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction and Contemplative Listening from Moravian Theological Studies; presently, Kristy is earning an Integrative Somatic Trauma Therapy Certificate from Embody Lab Institute.
  • Maria Belitsky – currently interim staff chaplain at our St. Luke’s Bethlehem Campus. She lives in Mt. Airy Philadelphia and working toward her M.Div. She has wanted to be a Board Certified Chaplain since she was 16 years old, and is super excited to be here!
  • James “Jim” Browning - is a retired ACPE Certified Educator. Jim is currently serving as the ACPE Contract Supervisor for CPE interns. Jim and his wife, also a United Methodist retired clergy member and live in the Mt. Airy neighborhood in Philadelphia. Jim has been in Ministry for over 40 years and started as a Catholic priest, eventually settling into the United Methodist church, where he served in different hospital settings, a retirement community, a children hospital, and eventually retiring after being at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) in Philadelphia for the last 12 years.

If you are interested in our Clinical Pastoral Education program, please click here.