The Spiritual Life Program at Bridgewater Retirement Community will be able to extend its reach thanks to a $25,000 gift from Carolyn Lantz Hatcher and her husband Wallace.
The gift will allow the BRC spiritual care team to establish a nationally accredited clinical pastoral education center at BRC to provide multi-disciplinary spiritual care training.
Mrs. Hatcher was inspired to make the gift in honor of her parents when she attended the 30th anniversary celebration for Lantz Chapel on the BRC campus last year.
Her father, Charles D. Lantz, served on the BRC Board of Directors for many years and lived in Bridgewater Home for the final year and half of his life. Her mother was Vergie Ruth Carr Lantz. Their $1 million gift paid for the chapel’s construction in 1988, and their company, Lantz Construction, built it.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” she says. “Attending the anniversary celebration made me feel closer to my dad. He died in 1996 but is still alive in my memory.”
One of Mr. Lantz’s requirements was that the chapel would feature stained glass windows telling the story of the life of Jesus, and he was moved by how they turned out. On Mrs. Hatcher’s last visit with him before he died, at his request, they went together to see the windows one last time.
“My dad’s legacy goes on and on in a continuous stream,” Mrs. Hatcher shares. “I had wonderful parents, so generous in helping so many people.” She says her father was a quiet, humble man who grew up as one of eight children in a home with no running water in the mountains, near Criders in northern Rockingham County.
They built and paid for the park in Broadway, and they funded scholarships at Bridgewater College and for Rockingham County students, and supported their community in countless other ways.
Now that legacy will be extended through a training program at BRC, not only for chaplains but also for nurses, CNAs (Certified Nurse Assistants), social workers, caregivers, and community members who seek the skills to integrate spiritual well being into the broader realm of health care.
Russ Barb and Brenda Sipe Barb, BRC Chaplains, will work with the Spiritual Care Association (part of the Health Care Chaplaincy Network) and the Institute for Clinical Pastoral Training.
Their approach is forward-looking, inclusive, evidence-based, and outcome-focused—rooted not in a particular faith tradition but in the belief that whole-person care must integrate spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental dimensions.
Mrs. Hatcher is thrilled that her gift has the capacity to make a difference for an ever-widening group of people: the professionals who will go through the training, and the people whose lives they will touch. She feels that helping people feel more comfortable with end-of-life situations is perhaps the most important.
“It’s a blessing both ways,” she says, “for the person who is ill, and the person who is with them in their last days.”