Pastor Jeff McDowell joined the Westhaven staff as full-time Chaplain in January of 2009. Previously, he served several Des Moines area Evangelical Free churches. He has 5 units of Clinical Pastoral Education obtained through Iowa Health Systems in Des Moines and is a graduate of both Master's Divinity School in Indiana and Iowa State University. He is a credentialed minister through the Evangelical Free Church of America.
What is a Chaplain?
A chaplain is a member of the clergy, serving a group of people who are usually unable to attend a conventional church for various reasons; such as health.
While educational requirements are similar to that of pastors, chaplains generally receive specialized training depending on the type of ministry. They are credentialed ministers within their denomination, and usually have pastoral experience with the local church. Often associated with the military, the term has expanded in more recent times to include institutional care facilities (hospitals, senior care, etc.) businesses, hospices, businesses, and even professional and amateur sports teams.
What Does Our Chaplain Do?
Here at Westhaven Community, we recognize and embrace the concept that spiritual needs are a daily part of many of our resident's lives. Therefore we offer full-time spiritual support. Our chaplain offers regular pastoral care for our residents, their families, and our staff. The chaplain also frequently serves as a liaison for our local clergy and resident's pastors in addition to serving as a contact for the facility within the local community.
The chaplain makes regular rounds of Westhaven Community visiting with our residents and family members, offering encouragement, prayer, Scriptural support, answering questions concerning spiritual issues, and friendship.
The chaplain also conducts Sunday and mid-week worship services on-site, special holiday services, Bible studies, mealtime prayers, hospital visitation and prayer meetings. Additionally, the chaplain can assist with the planning and conducting of funeral/memorial services if needed. The Chaplain also assists the residents with their outreach ministries. In the past, with the residents assistance, bibles have been sent to a Greek village, a project in an African village was provided with the donation of two goals. In the past,there have been many other ministries supported by our residents.