The Hubbard House chaplaincy program, established in 2016, is part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to supply complete services to survivors. “Research and conversations right here at shelter led me to understand that providing spiritual help is essential to our survivors, especially women,” explained Hubbard House CEO Dr. Gail A. Patin, who spearheaded the program alongside dedicated volunteer Linda Hill. Currently, three volunteer chaplains, all ordained ministers, serve in-shelter survivors.
When asked what surprised her most about working with Hubbard House participants, Chaplain Kimberly Weir said, “Most of the survivors I’ve met with come to me with a well-established faith. They aren’t asking where was God when their abuse happened. Instead, they want God’s help for today’s challenges or spiritual guidance for what’s next.” Chaplain Kimberly, also on staff with another local non-profit serving the low-income elderly, has been with the program since its inception and is encouraged by the program’s impact.
Chaplain Kimberly explained that many survivors finds it validating when a person they see as spiritually significant sits to hear her story. “I don’t try to offer answers,” says Kimberly. “Instead, I am a witness to what they want to share. I try to speak words of affirmation and hope over their futures. And, if they are interested (and most are), we pray together, asking for God, as the survivor understands him or her, to protect, guide and strengthen them as they heal.