Open Accessibility Menu

Season of Gifts and Celebrations Brings Major Awards to Christian Health

Season of Gifts and Celebrations Brings Major Awards to Christian Health

From left, are Stephen J. Dumke, LNHA, FACHE, Christian Health (CHCC) Executive Vice President & COO; Rev. Jim Knol, LCSW; Rev. Dawn Rivers, DMin; Rev. Phyllis Palsma, MDiv; and Douglas A. Struyk, CPA, LNHA, CHCC President and CEO.

LeadingAge New Jersey recently honored Rev. Jim Knol, LCSW, Christian Health (CHCC) Director of Pastoral Care, with the 2018 President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Aging. The organization also recognized CHCC’s Faith & Grief program with the 2018 Excellence in Community Service award. LeadingAge New Jersey is a statewide association of not-for-profit senior-care organizations dedicated to advancing quality aging services through advocacy, education, and fellowship.

The Lifetime Achievement award presented to Rev. Knol is a wonderful way to recognize the contributions that he has made to CHCC and the surrounding community over the course of his career. During Rev. Knol’s 27-year tenure at CHCC, he has expanded the Pastoral Care team from a department of two to include five ordained ministers, two licensed clinical social workers, one administrative assistant, and five interns working toward advanced degrees in pastoral care and/or social work – a testament to CHCC’s important commitment to the spiritual healing of all those entrusted to our care.

Rev. Knol has dramatically enhanced the breadth and scope of spiritual care for individuals of all faith traditions at CHCC. The Pastoral Care team’s responsibilities encompass individual care and counseling; small-groups to help residents and patients more deeply explore their faith; bi-annual memorial services; regular religious services for CHCC residences and programs, and the CHCC community-at-large; arranging visits from outside clergy including local rabbis and lay pastoral-care providers; and meeting with family members for comfort and consultation.

An impressive and diverse roster of programs has been developed to nourish the body, mind, and spirit of area clergy with Rev. Knol’s guidance. Offerings include Clergy Days often featuring national speakers; half-day Pastoral Colloquiums; Parish Nurse Ministry Forums, presented twice yearly in conjunction with Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair; Oasis from the Office for religious administrative staff; and clergy and clergy spouse support groups. No other local organization offers the types of programs for clergy that CHCC offers.

“We are so honored that Rev. Knol’s many years of outstanding service and leadership to those entrusted to our care, our staff, and the community, were recognized with the prestigious President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Aging Services,” says Douglas A. Struyk, CPA, LNHA, CHCC President and CEO.

Under Rev. Knol’s leadership, the Pastoral Care team at CHCC began to offer monthly Faith & Grief luncheons. Open to all faiths and welcoming to all community members, the complimentary monthly luncheons are opportunities for those mourning the loss of a loved one to gather together and be strengthened through sharing, scripture, prayer, and reflection. CHCC is the only health-care organization in New Jersey and in the entire country to offer this bereavement support group.

“Faith & Grief luncheons are a blessing because they have given all of us who suffered the loss of a loved one the opportunity to share our experiences together and to encourage each other. It is important that we show respect for each other because we all handle grief differently,” says Ruth Knyfd Wynbeek, Faith & Grief participant, facilitator, and former CHCC trustee.

Read more about Pastoral Care at CHCC and the Faith & Grief at A calendar of upcoming community support groups and events, including Faith & Grief luncheons, can be viewed at