The Rev. Cleo Graham, RN, MS, FNP
Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School shared an alumni profile:
"Cleo Graham attended Adelphi University, where she met her husband and began to pursue her career in nursing. She held many different roles in her thirty-year career as a nurse, variously working as a critical care nurse, as director of home care for the VA Hospital, and as an employee health supervisor with over nine hundred employees. She taught for a time, attained a master’s degree as a nurse practitioner, and organized community health programs with churches. She also identified that many veterans living at home were suffering from what she identifies as a “broken relationship with God” and that they needed spiritual care in addition to mental and physical health care. Working with chaplains, she developed one of the nation’s first medical codes for spiritual distress, billable services by which chaplains could provide spiritual health care to patients in need."
"Then, she experienced a catastrophic injury of her spinal disks, caused by a fall while helping a patient. Bedridden for about a year, she would imagine talking to God about her suffering and wrote notes to document this conversation. The result was the book From Mess to Message."
"She began an aggressive regimen of physical therapy and eventually transitioned to walking with a cane. One day, her husband surprised her by driving her to Andover Newton Theological School because he knew that she had always wanted to be a pastor. He brought her to the chapel and she walked inside…"
"Now this chapel was built in such a way that it’s all windows completely around, so you can look in and see. I was the only one in this chapel, and this huge Bible was open. It was open to Ecclesiastes 3: There’s a time and season for everything. A time to be born, and a time to die. The tears just rolled down my face. I felt like I was going to get the pages wet. I stepped back and sat down and thought about it, and I said, “Well, maybe I can do it.”
"After graduating from Andover Newton Rev. Cleo Graham served as an associate pastor at several churches in Rhode Island before accepting the call to serve as the pastor of Hartford’s Faith Congregational Church in November 2020."
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