Episode 16: Small Town Reverend

Rev. Katherine Lee Baker

If you’ve recently seen a new colleague helping to meet the spiritual needs of patients and families in the NICU or on 3 Lacks, 7 Main or in other parts of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, that’s because The Rev. Katherine Lee Baker has been a member of the Mercy Health Mission Integration team since October 22.

She’ll be serving non-Catholic patients at both ends of the life spectrum, as well as those who can benefit from multicultural spiritual care. “I will assess my patients spiritually and emotionally and work to coordinate spiritual care with and for them,” said Rev. Katherine. “Doing so could involve a patient asking to speak with me, a rabbi, an imam or, perhaps, a pastor from their own faith community.”

Born in Seoul, South Korea and adopted by a family here in Grand Rapids, Rev. Katherine is happy to return to West Michigan, where she calls home. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hope College but moved to New Jersey for her graduate studies. “I completed my theological education at Princeton Theological Seminary and my denominational work at New Brunswick Theological Seminary,” she said.

Now living in Eastown with her two dogs, Rev. Katherine hopes to serve as a role model for up and coming generations as they, too, live into the spirit of the Gospel and become faith leaders in the community. “Growing up, I didn’t see many women in ministry who looked like me,” she said.

“Recently, I felt a call from God to pursue pastoral care as a full-time vocation, and God has opened many doors for me.”

That’s what brought her to Mercy Health from her previous community outreach, discipleship, educational and programmatic work–serving as a Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church and Central Reformed Church. Rev. Katherine comes to us with a variety of experiences in parish ministry, nonprofit work and as a part-time hospital chaplain with another local health care system.

Rev. Katherine is excited to use her gifts and talents in her new full-time role as hospital chaplain. “I’m equipped differently, and I bring different experiences to the table that many chaplains might not,” she said. “I love the culture at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. I’ve been encouraged to think creatively and to work with my team and hospital colleagues to dialogue about how we can work together for the benefit of all.”

No stranger to the world of medicine or hospital environments, Rev. Katherine wants “to be a presence of calm; to interpret the holy and sacred in a space that is often intimidating; and to care for people emotionally and spiritually in a time of crisis and uncertainty.”

A friendly person who loves to laugh, our new chaplain extends this invitation to readers: “Please approach me if we have not met, and introduce yourself. I want to meet my colleagues. Please feel free to call me Rev. Katherine or Pastor Katherine or just Katherine!”

We welcome Rev. Katherine Lee Baker to our Mercy Health family and wish her the best as she helps us continue to be a healing, transforming presence in our community.