News Headlines Article

Fewer people are religious. But they still want prayer if they are sick
The Sacramento Bee

Californians say they attend church less often, pray slightly less than a few years ago and fewer claim an absolute belief in God.

None of that seems to matter for area residents when they are hospitalized. The demand for spiritual and religious care within hospitals hasn’t waned with the years, according to Sacramento-area chaplains and national spiritual care officials.

All of the hospitals in the Sacramento area provide chaplain services, and Sutter Medical Center is building a new prayer room that is slated to open in June.

“The studies say we’re becoming more secular but it doesn’t mean we’re any less cognizant of that which is greater than us,” said Rev. Tom Harshman, vice president for mission integration of non-acute care at Dignity Health. “Our value in being able to connect with that – which provides hope and comfort – is heightened. A chaplain should be able to help (patients) identify that.”