Greetings from Wesley Living’s New Chaplain

By Chaplain Camille Bradley

Chaplain Camille Bailey
Chaplain Camille Bailey

As many of you know, Rev. Dennis Neenan has retired from Wesley Living and I started work with Wesley Living on September 27, 2021. Rev. Neenan has been allowing me to “shadow” him and we have visited most of the 31 properties that fall under Wesley Living’s missions and ministry umbrella. These ministries are focused on independent senior housing, assisted living, and in-home care. Wesley Living also weaves its ministries with Golden Cross to help provide extra resources for senior residents. Rev. Neenan and I have met and exchanged stories with the staff at these locations and recognize in each other a similar calling to senior care. The web of Wesley Living’s services reaches across parts of Tennessee, Southwest Kentucky, and Jonesboro, AR.  You can find more information about our communities and services at www.wesleyliving.com

I want to introduce myself to you by sharing a bit of my story.  I was born in New Orleans, LA, and raised in the Roman Catholic Church along with my two sisters and brother.  My husband, Charles, was raised in Prescott Baptist Church here in Memphis.  When we married, we knew we wanted to return to the Church and found our way to Mullins United Methodist Church.  We both became active in the Church where my formation and call to ministry began to take on a more formal shape.  I am an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church and served in two different churches here in Memphis for a total of 13 years. I have served on the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Executive Committee for the Memphis Conference.  I have also served across conferences, what will soon be the TWK Conference, on the Orders Committee. My local church experiences, along with my United Methodist Connection, have been instrumental teachings and refining fires in my understanding of my life-long passion for serving others.  Today, that passion—the sharing of God’s love and offering spiritual care–finds its best expression through me as a chaplain.

I received my Clinical Pastoral Education to become a chaplain at the Memphis VA.  For two years, I continued to learn about myself and grow in knowledge and experience by engaging Veteran patients and their families in pastoral/spiritual care.  The Veterans I served came from a diversity of faiths, denominations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ethnicities.  These honorable men and women had every possible health condition sometimes due to or complicated by their military experience. I learned that the best way to serve them is to provide care for the whole person—body, mind, and spirit.  

In my second year of clinical pastoral training I worked with an interdisciplinary team that did just that. Together with doctors, surgeons, interns, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, nutritionists, and mental health providers, the team worked side-by-side to provide the best holistic care for our Veterans and their families. As the clinical chaplain on the team, I provided a spiritual assessment of each Veteran we served. As their chaplain, I visited Veteran patients and provided them with a listening, compassionate, non-judgmental, spiritual presence.  My experiences with our Veteran patients and the interdisciplinary team members have broadened my faith, my spiritual understanding, and my pastoral care. The research I did about spiritual care in relationship to a person’s medical care demonstrates that people who receive regular pastoral/spiritual support as part of their whole-person care usually have better health outcomes and better quality of life.  

As the full-time chaplain for Wesley Living, I will be working alongside you providing an extra layer of spiritual care to our Wesley Living Residents in Shelby County.  I am also working alongside our 14 other “field pastors,” primarily United Methodist Ministers, who are serving the staff and residents in Wesley Living facilities outside of Shelby County.  This extra layer of spiritual care for the Residents in Wesley Living facilities is not a replacement for the Residents’ Local Church Pastors or Churches. Rather, we are called to provide ecumenical care together in a way that offer’s God’s love, for example, to those who may not have a church home, those who may be homebound, those who may be of a different denomination or faith, or for whatever reason need or request an extra layer of spiritual support—all with the goal of helping our Residents live their best quality of life.  This goal is driving by our mission statement: “In response to the love of God, our mission is to provide excellent housing and services which enhance the quality of living for elderly persons and their families.” To do this Wesley Living and its employees strive to embody our Core Values:

  • Service: Selflessly motivated to fulfilling the needs of others.
  • Compassion: Treating everyone with kindness and respect. And,
  • Integrity: Being humble, honest, and ethical in all we do.

I look forward to meeting and/or talking with you about our continued work together through Wesley Living and The United Methodist Church.  I also humbly ask for your prayers as I navigate these new waters!  May you, your families, churches and communities be blessed by the Spirit of this Holiday Season.