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Meet our dedicated Chaplains.
Available 24/7 by calling 803-256-5300
Read their Chaplain Chats for inspiration here.
Though Yu-Fong has been local for 44 years, he was born in Malaysia, lived in Singapore for four years, and lived in Atlanta, Georgia for two more before coming to Columbia. Called to the ministry at the young age of 14, Yu-Fong began his professional life as a high school teacher and pastor in Malaysia. “I always wanted to be involved in specialized ministry rather than a parish minister,” says Yu-Fong. “After my seminary and clinical training, I became a chaplain.” He first worked with the SC Department of Juvenile Justice for 32 years and then was a chaplain with Agape Senior assisted living for 10 years.
Yu-Fong says compassion is the most important trait for a chaplain. “Without compassion, being a chaplain is simply a profession and not a vocation.” Yu-Fong also enjoys writing, and he has one book published called "Help! I am Getting Old." He hopes to have two more books published this year. He was certified with the American Correctional Chaplains' Association in 1982.
- Bet you didn’t know… Yu-Fong’s favorite movie is The Quiet Man, and his favorite trip was when he went back to China and was able to learn about his own culture that he felt he had taken for granted.
Jimmy Montgomery is originally from Williamsburg County, Kingstree, SC. He wanted to become a chaplain to help provide God’s love and grace to the infirmed, discerning God’s spirit to those in need of comfort. For him, it is most important for a chaplain to listen without presenting oneself as having all answers. People need a compassionate listener… not someone who thinks he/she has all the answers. His favorite question to ask a person in need of support is “What is your greatest love?” It is the most direct route to what the person values in life at the moment. Jimmy holds a Doctor of Ministry degree.
- Bet you didn’t know… Jimmy’s favorite movie is Barber Shop, and he recommends the book King Among the Theologians by Noel L. Erskine. He cheers on the Carolina Panthers and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and his favorite trip took him to Kenya, Burundi and Zimbabwe Africa. If you ever get an invite to his house for a morning meal, take it -- he makes a divine bacon, egg and grits breakfast!
Originally from Chester County, South Carolina, Charles Robinson was called by God to be a chaplain and called into ministry from early childhood. He emphasizes how important listening is in pastoral care, because a chaplain needs to do his or her best to truly understand the story of the person needing support. The question he likes to ask is simply “How are you today?” It’s straightforward and open, allowing the patient, family or staff to dictate the dialogue and depth of discussion. Charles completed the South Carolina Department of Mental Health’s Clinical Pastoral Education program in 1999.
- Bet you didn’t know… Charles’ favorite hobby is watching sports, and his favorite teams to watch are the Carolina Panthers and the Charlotte Hornets. He enjoys reading The Bible, and loved his vacation travel to Seattle, Washington. What’s the best meal he can prepare? Anything breakfast.
John Schumacher considers Augusta, GA his hometown, but he served for 19 years in a hospital in Florence, SC, and 5 years in hospitals in Atlanta, GA. He has been in Columbia since October 2015. John was called into fulltime ministry during a youth camp in 1975 and was ordained in 1979. During the illness and death of his Mother-in-law in 1988, John was searching for God’s will for his own life and received care from board certified hospital chaplain. That’s when he realized his own path in pastoral care. As a chaplain, John cherishes the invitation extended from a patient, family, and staff member to walk beside them as they face struggles and concerns. “We have the skills and training to totally accept the other person, allowing us to open and hear concerns regardless of who they are or the difference we may otherwise have in our lives,” says John. “Though we have our own religious foundations, we understand and accept that spiritual concerns may or may not be related to God or organized religion.” He likes to ask people what they do for fun. It gives insight to a person’s life joys and pleasures. John received board certification from the Association of Professional Chaplains in Indianapolis, IN in 1992.
- Bet you didn’t know… John enjoys Ham Radio as a hobby and recommends reading The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. Any of the Star Trek Movies could be considered his favorite film, and if you hear him cheering, it’s probably for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Originally from Muncie, IN, “home of the Ball jar,” Donna enjoys SC, where she can be close to both beach and mountains. She was introduced to hospital chaplaincy when she volunteered in Morehead, KY, and later was a Chaplain in 3 trauma hospitals in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana, as well as in a Chicago Housing Authority building. After a break from religious life, she helped her mother for 11 months before her mother died after a long struggle with cancer. Losing her father at age 54 and her mother at age 62, Donna and her family learned to enjoy each day and appreciate each other. “I felt called then to continue hospital Chaplaincy,” she says, and she returned to school to complete her degrees and prepare for certification. Donna feels the most important thing for a chaplain to do is to be truly present with people to see where they are at that given moment. Donna was certified with the National Association of Catholic Chaplains in 2003 and certified with the Association of Professional Chaplains in 2008.
- Bet you didn’t know that… Donna enjoys fishing, participating in Autocross with her husband, and calls Fatima, Portugal her favorite trip.
Originally from Norwood, NC, Kim Thompson first worked as a Youth Minister in two different churches. During seminary, she did an internship at a retirement home in Richmond, VA, and fell in love with Chaplaincy. “I loved meeting people where they were in life and journeying with them. I loved even more not having to prescribe to one particular theology of a denomination; I felt more peace and freedom in the world of Chaplaincy,” says Kim. She then came to Columbia in 2009 for a Chaplain Residency at Palmetto Health. Kim embraces the importance of non-judgment in her work. “Our goal is to provide attentive listening to hear not only what the person says, but also what they left unsaid. We all want to be heard.” Kimberly likes to ask: How are you really? “When I ask this question, I genuinely want to know how someone is doing,” she says, looking for more than small talk. Kimberly received board certification as a Chaplain in January 2014.
- Bet you didn’t know… Kim loved reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, and her favorite movie is You’ve Got Mail. The ‘vacation’ she liked best was driving to, and living in and among nature, in Rocky Mountain National Park for the summer of 2008.
Chris Wade and his wife and moved to Columbia in 2015 after having living in Eugene, Oregon and Keaau, Hawaii where he served as an EMT, Firefighter and Police Officer, as well as a Fire Chaplain. Chris found his calling as a chaplain while working with a local fire department on a cardiac arrest call. The current Chaplain couldn’t respond because he was starting to feel the effects of ALS. When the Chief learned that Chris had theological training, he was asked to take on the role. “It took me about a month of prayer before I took the position," he admits. “I had been praying about a direction in my life about that time, and the Lord brought this before me.” Chris believes a Chaplain’s greatest asset is listening. He likes to ask people to tell him their story. “I like to hear how God has moved in their life in the past because it reminds us that He will continue to work in their present situation, too.” He and his wife have two children, both in college, and his wife has completed her MA in Intercultural Studies at Columbia International University. Chris is a Master Fire Chaplain and serves as the State Fire Chaplain for South Carolina and as Vice President of the South Carolina Public Safety Chaplains Association.
- Bet you didn’t know… His favorite movie, Always, is about a wildland firefighter. Chris was a wildland firefighter for five years out in the Pacific Northwest. He also roots for the Oregon Ducks, and his favorite book is, of course… the Bible.