St. Mark United Methodist Church in Lakeland, FL Team Up with Good Shepherd Hospice to Reach Out to Black Families

Yvonne McShay holds a flier for her church's upcoming program, "Navigating Life's Final Journey." RICK RUNION | THE LEDGER
Yvonne McShay holds a flier for her church’s upcoming program, “Navigating Life’s Final Journey.”

Members of St. Mark United Methodist Church have teamed with Good Shepherd Hospice on a free program to increase the black community’s awareness of what hospice offers patients and their families.

The 9 a.m. to noon event Saturday will give an overview of hospice; explain advance directives; give advice on coping with loss and grief; stress the importance of “care for the caregiver”; discuss life, death and spirituality; and provide time for questions.

Along with that will come dealing with myths about what hospice involves.

Some incorrectly see hospice care as conflicting with their natural desire to pray for healing, said the Rev. Delano McIntosh, part-time pastor of the small church at 1640 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.

“They think if you agree to go to hospice, there is no hope,” McIntosh said. “That you’re saying there’s no way for God to bring you out of this situation.”

That isn’t true, she said.

“God goes with us into hospice care,” she said.

“We know from Scripture nothing separates us from the love of God.”

Yvonne McShay, a St. Mark member, suggested the church sponsor the seminar, which is called “Navigating Life’s Final Journey: Improving the Role of Hospice Care in the African-American Community.”

Part of her motivation was concern about the low percentage of hospice patients who are black. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization estimates blacks make up 8.6 percent of all hospice patients.

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Source: The Ledger | 

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