Word began to spread this morning from both Memphis and North Carolina that I will be moving to become the Vice President for Faith and Health Ministries at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. This is a similar role that I’ve played at Methodist Healthcare for the past seven years, although the systems are quite different and, of course the social/economic architecture of the region is even more different.
Wake is a mature academic medical center in a university where I did undergraduate work lo many years ago. Karen became a PA here and both daughters learned to shout “go deacs!” before they walked. So I’ll be glad to teach in the seminary and department of public health on that campus.
The division itself has a long history in CPE and a network of 21 counseling centers scattered from the mountains to the ocean, just for starters. The hospital system plays a regional role that is relevant to statewide religious networks, most obviously with the 4,300 Baptist congregations affiliated with the North Carolina Baptist Convention. But the North Carolina Council of Churches and United Methodist Annual Conferences are already working partners, too. The National Baptist Convention have a long history going back to Dr. John Hatch at UNC, but except during ACC Basketball Tournament time, also work with Wake.
So what if all that could blaze with the creativity and spiritual energy I’ve experienced in Memphis? Tantalizing to wonder.
I’ll be sharing that learning journey in this blog as it unfolds. But before another syllable is typed, I need to express my deepest love for Memphis and the people and institutions that have been so generous to me.