Chaplain Richard Joyner
WUNC Public Radio’s The State of Things in its April 3, 2017 broadcast featured an hour long interview with the The Reverend Richard Joyner, a Board Certified Clinical Chaplain with the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy. He is the Director of the Department of Pastoral Care at UNC Nash Health Care located in Rocky Mount, NC. In addition, he is the pastor of the Conetoe Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, founder of the Family Life Center and creator of the Community Garden.
The State of Things on its website introduces Rev. Joyner:
For close to two decades, Richard Joyner fought to get away from the farms of Pitt County, North Carolina. He grew up in a family of sharecroppers and repeatedly witnessed racial and economic inner justices. His family was never properly compensated for their labor, and his father was treated poorly by white land owners.
Later in his life, Joyner became the pastor for the small 300-person community of Conetoe, North Carolina. Within one year, 30 of his congregants died from health-related illnesses. He decided to return to farming to grow healthy food for his community.
The success of the Joyner’s Community Garden has been written up nationally due to its uniqueness and the impact on the community's health and well being. Reduced usage of the Emergency Department due to the Community Garden and Life Style Center has been documented. Also, school dropouts have been significantly reduced. Joyner’s program, a unique and valued health resource, feeds and educates a rural NC community.
Listening to the Interview one can easily see how his training as a clinical chaplain has influenced the development of the program. Amazingly, he is not only a clinical chaplain in a medical center but also an innovative clinical chaplain to a whole community. CNN in its CNN Hero Series captures the essence of Chaplain Joyner’s community program.
Many of the Pastoral Report’s readers will appreciate the richness of Chaplain Joyner’s life story he tells with self-compassion and insight. The transformational influence of his CPE training experience will not be missed by the listener.
Danita Maria Perkins, a CPSP Diplomate, is a colleague of Chaplain Joyner's at UNC Nash Health Care. As Director of Nash’s CPE program, Chaplain Perkins provided the following observation:
As a result of CPE’s transformative impact on Richard’s life, he helped to start a CPSP CPE/training program in 2015 that is building bridges between hospital and community care. His vision is that trainees will explore what the chaplain’s role can be in discharge planning, transitional care, preventing 30-day readmissions, health education, discouraging the use of the emergency department as a means of primary health care, and building self-sustaining communities by tending the soil of the land while caring for the soul of humanity.
Although not mentioned in the interview, Chaplain Joyner’s dedication to developing his clinical pastoral acuity and craft led him over time to have amassed 15 units of clinical pastoral education training. CPSP’s Dr. John Edgerton, Past President of CPSP, now deceased, and Dr H. Mac Wallace, CPSP Diplomate and Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Campbell Divinity School, served as two of his CPE training supervisors.
I encourage you to download the State of Things Podcast (available on iTunes or Google Play) or go to the State of Things webpage and listen to this innovative and soulful clinical chaplain and pastor tell his story.
Perry Miller, Editor