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Children’s Hospital chaplain honored for teaching efforts

May. 29, 2014, 9:22 AM

The Rev. Raye Nell Dyer was recently honored with the Vanderbilt Divinity School’s highest honor as Field Education Supervisor of the Year. (photo by Anne Rayner)

As the longtime chaplain at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, the Rev. Raye Nell Dyer has been on a mission at Vanderbilt for 17 years, making her mark and guiding people and children who need her most through joys and tribulations.

Her vocation includes being a mentor to chaplains-in-training, steering them to use energy, creativity and ideas in their desire to serve others. In a partnership with the Vanderbilt Divinity School’s Field Education Program, Dyer has hosted numerous interns over the years in the Pastoral Care Department at Children’s Hospital.

Dyer was recently awarded the Divinity School’s highest honor as Field Education Supervisor of the Year.

Each year approximately 80 of the school’s students participate in internships at area churches, hospitals, non-profit agencies and other places of ministry in order to gain concrete experience in the practice of ministry. Each student is paired with an on-site supervisor who oversees their work, helps the student in theological reflection, and often becomes an important mentor to students, said Viki Matson, director of Field Education at the Divinity School.

“Each of (the chaplain interns) came with different personalities, different gifts for ministry and varying comfort levels with the intensity of the work,” said Matson. “One of the gifts that Raye Nell brings to this work is a capacity to be present with each student precisely where they are. Without exception, our students come back raving about their experience at Children’s Hospital, and especially with Raye Nell. I remain grateful for the partnership we have between our school and the Children’s Hospital, and I am especially grateful for Raye Nell’s ministry in serving as a bridge between the two.”

Dyer is a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and has a chaplain endorsement with the Alliance of Baptists. She’s received the VUMC Friend of Nursing Award twice. In addition, other past roles include serving as president of Baptist Women in Ministry and the Association of Baptist Campus Ministers. Before coming to Vanderbilt, she served as Baptist Campus Minister in Arkansas and Texas for 15 years.

“I love working with the students,” Dyer said. “Partnering with Vanderbilt Divinity School in the Field Education Program is a very vital collaboration between our two departments at Vanderbilt.

“The students who come to Children’s Hospital are eager to learn about and understand the role of chaplain and they absolutely live up to the role. As chaplain interns, they offer the ministry of presence and much needed sacred space to our patients, families and staff.”

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