Health Care Staff: Rev. Fletcher Simpson, Horizon Home Care and Hospice Inc.

Born and raised in a pastor’s home, the Rev. Fletcher Simpson never thought he would qualify to follow in his father’s footsteps.

But through his service during the last seven years with terminally ill patients at Horizon Home Care and Hospice Inc. Simpson has provided patients with a sense of peace during their final days.

Simpson began his professional career as a teacher and went into youth and family work before entering his chaplain training and becoming an ordained pastor with the Free Methodist Church.

“My father had a much stronger impact on my life than on my decision to become a pastor,” Simpson said. “The call came when my wife and I went on two short mission trips and I decided that I wanted to become a servant of God.”

He later joined Horizon in 2002 as the hospice chaplain practicing non-denominational spiritual care for terminally ill patients.

“I feel that God has brought me this placement and this is where I should be. It is a challenging job because I deal with people at the most critical point in time,” said Simpson.

He works collaboratively with the patient and their family members. Sometimes patients are ready and families are not, Simpson said.

“In the hospice it is most often both patients and families accepting the condition,” he said. “However, the family is often at various stages.”

Simpson provides spiritual guidance for the patients and their families. He works to find out about the religious background of the family.

“I dig to find out what sustains the spirit of the person I am working with,” said Simpson.

He often turns to the activity that gives them strength such as hunting, running or sailing. He goes beyond the inquiry and often arranges trips for patients to have those experiences one last time.

Recently, Simpson worked with a patient who had a son serving in Afghanistan who came home from his tour and wanted to be baptized before his father died.

Three days before the father’s death, Simpson arranged for both to come to the shores of Lake Michigan where he baptized the son as his father proudly watched from the shores.

“To see the satisfaction in the father’s eyes to see his son make such spiritual strides on his own is very rewarding,” said Simpson. “No one likes dealing with tragedy, but I love it because I see God using me and I want to do it as long as I can. To be an instrument in the hands of God is rewarding.”

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