Extension Ministry: Chaplain Dina Andrews

By Barry Steiner Ball

Chaplain Dina Andrews (Dina is pronounced Denna) is a Deacon in full connection to the West Virginia Annual Conference and is assigned to the Davis Medical Center in Elkins, WV. Chaplain Andrews came to this ministry by a long journey, sometimes running from God and sometimes following God!

Chaplain Andrews began to feel a call into ministry when, in 2001, she got involved with St. Paul UMC in Woodbridge, VA, and their outreach program for the hungry, homeless, and needy. Through this ministry, Chaplain Andrews began to explore the possibility of ordination for herself and began exploring the offices of Elder and Deacon. The office of Deacon resonated with Chaplain Andrews because of its focus on service and compassion. The plan was to attend seminary, become ordained a Deacon, and then work with the poor in some yet unknown ministry.

While attending Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO) and earning a Masters of Divinity Degree and a Masters of Counseling, Chaplain Andrews was required to do one semester of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE is an intense chaplaincy internship usually in a hospital setting). At the same time, Chaplain Andrews was involved with St. Paul’s UMC in Parkersburg and their outreach to the poor and helped start a non-profit organization, The Circles Campaign of the Mid-Ohio Valley. This community initiative aims to assist families in poverty achieve their goal of self-sufficiency through supportive relationships with allies and the greater community.

Chaplain Andrews continued to work with Circles and in churches and was ordained in 2014. However, the CPE semester planted a seed that grew within her and led to her pursuing a year-long CPE residency program at Summa Healthcare in Akron, OH. After completing the residency program, she was hired by Davis Medical Center in 2017 to be their lead chaplain. As a hospital chaplain, ministry can happen in the patient’s room, with family members in a waiting room, at the nurse’s station with staff, or in the small hospital chapel. Chaplain Andrews has spent the past year figuring out how to be present with patients while wearing personal protective equipment and social distancing. She has held iPads up for COVID patients so they can connect with family members and even held the iPad so a Catholic Priest could bless a Catholic patient. Care of stressed hospital staff has also been a priority during the pandemic.

Chaplain Andrews started two traditions at Davis Medical Center and its satellite locations. Once a year, she offers a blessing over the hands of the health care workers, and during Holy Week, she transforms the Davis Medical Center’s Chapel into a full sensory experience of the stations of the cross. Chaplain Andrews oversees the volunteer chaplains that help her provide 24-hour spiritual care to any connected with Davis Medical Center.

When Chaplain Andrews is not at the hospital, she is pastoring Cross Roads UMC in Tacy, WV.

How we can pray for Chaplain Dina Andrews: “Pray that I will be led by the Holy Spirit to be present with my patients, and that others will experience God’s love through me.”