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Rev. Dr. Martha R. Jacobs
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Rev. Martha R. Jacobs, BCC is the author of A Clergy Guide to End of Life Issues, a new book that has received excellent reviews and is being widely used by seminarians, Clinical Pastoral Education supervisors, local clergy and laypeople. She is the Senior Pastor at First Congregational Church in Chappaqua, New York and works as a per diem chaplain at NY Presbyterian Hospital. She is also an adjunct professor at New York Theological Seminary and coordinates the Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Care for Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisors and Directors of Pastoral Care. Martha was the founding managing editor of PlainViews, a position she held for eight years. Prior to that position, she was director of pastoral care at New York United Hospital in Port Chester, New York. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, she is the past-president of the New York Metropolitan Association of the UCC, and of the UCC Professional Chaplains and Counselors, the national association for UCC chaplains. She is a Board Certified Chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains. In 2010, Martha received the APC’s highest award, The Anton Boisen Professional Service Award, for demonstrating a commitment to excellence in professional chaplaincy and making unique contributions to contemporary pastoral care. She has been a long-standing member of The Riverside Church in the City of New York, where she sang in the Chancel Choir. She assists in worship when she is able.

Entries by Rev. Dr. Martha R. Jacobs

A Case for Watching Time of Death

(3) Comments | Posted November 7, 2013 | 2:35 PM

Last Friday night, I decided to spend an hour watching people who were dealing with their dying. I watched a show called Time of Death, a Showtime documentary. It reminded me of Bill Moyers' On Our Own Terms, Moyers on Dying, a series that PBS aired...

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Continuing to Learn What's Important

(1) Comments | Posted September 26, 2013 | 8:12 AM

Two weeks ago, a mentor and colleague died. Dr. G had been in good health until symptoms surfaced and he was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. Upon receiving the diagnosis, he decided not to undergo any form of treatment, opting instead to spend whatever time he had left with his...

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A New Must-Read Resource for Healthcare Consumers

(3) Comments | Posted July 31, 2013 | 4:25 PM

I received many emails from readers following my last blog "An Educated Consumer is the Best Customer... Even in a Hospital Setting," asking me what the best way is to "get educated" especially about the greatly varied and broad area of end of life and the ethical issues...

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An Educated Consumer Is the Best Customer... Even in a Hospital Setting

(0) Comments | Posted July 15, 2013 | 3:19 PM

A woman who had been declared "brain dead" wakes up while surgeons are preparing her body for organ removal. A shudder went through me when I read about this in the International Business Times and then again read about it on a CBS News Web posting....

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The U.S. and France: Same End-of-Life Struggles

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 5:08 PM

I was recently the keynote speaker at an end-of-life International Congress in Strasbourg, France. It was an amazing professional and personal experience. What I found particularly near and dear to my heart was learning and hearing about how people in another country deal with end-of-life issues -- or do not...

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Following Jesus Means Loving All Kinds of People

(55) Comments | Posted May 2, 2013 | 4:53 PM

Is someone a "bad person" or one who did "something bad" when a person does something that we think of as unthinkable?

This question has been on my mind since before the Boston Marathon bombing. One Sunday in March, when I was doing the Youth Sunday message, I commented that...

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Faith Communities: What Binds Us

(1) Comments | Posted March 19, 2013 | 5:03 PM

I have been thinking a lot about community recently. How communities form, how the members of the community support each other and what it means to be a part of a faith community.

After the Sandyhook shootings, Samuel Freedman in a New York Times op-ed, lamented about...

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You Might Be Surprised at How Helpful a Professional Chaplain Can Be, While Not Being 'Religious'

(16) Comments | Posted February 4, 2013 | 6:23 PM

I guess because I have been a professional chaplain for many years, I am always surprised that people don't understand what it is that professional chaplains do. In a recent HuffPost article by Gina Rider, entitled, "Accepting Spiritual Support at the Hospital", Ms. Rider talked about...

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If We Don't Love Our Neighbors, Then We Don't Love Ourselves

(122) Comments | Posted December 28, 2012 | 10:52 AM

I don't usually comment on the negative comments that others make about what happens in our society. However, I am having a very hard time keeping my fingers from writing about the comments that have been made about God and what happened in Newtown, Conn.

First, for anyone to claim...

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Your Feelings Are Your Feelings and You Are Entitled to Them

(2) Comments | Posted December 10, 2012 | 4:28 PM

I went to visit my father several weeks ago. While there, the 14th of the month occurred. I didn't realize that my dad observed the 14th of each month as the commemoration of the "monthly anniversary" of my mother's death. When he mentioned it to me, he was crying and...

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Nothing You Can Say Will Make Them Feel Better

(7) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 4:00 PM

Diana Bletter, in a recent opinion piece in the NY Times, mentioned, without knowing it, one of the things that stymies clergy and laypeople: What do I say and how do I say it? Should I say anything? Should I acknowledge the death (or "loss" as most prefer...

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The Price We Pay for Loving

(5) Comments | Posted October 4, 2012 | 7:05 PM

A week or so ago, we were visiting with friends who I had not seen since my mother's death in July. I had forgotten that I had not seen them, and so was not prepared for their very kind words when they first saw me and hugged me. So, I...

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Can We Forgive Others as Well as Ourselves?

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2012 | 11:27 PM

Forgiveness is not something that many people seem to take seriously. And yet, for those of us who are Christians, forgiveness is a part of who we are and what we believe. Matthew 18 reads as follows: "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I...

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The Surprising Communities That Surround Me

(1) Comments | Posted August 28, 2012 | 12:07 PM

Recently, I have had the opportunity to reflect on how important community can be in someone's life. While I have been supported over the years by many different communities as I have celebrated certain markers in my life and dealt with the more difficult things that have cropped up, where...

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My Wound Is Deep, but Clean

(1) Comments | Posted July 31, 2012 | 7:26 PM

The late William Sloane Coffin, former Senior Minister at The Riverside Church in the City of New York, preached a sermon entitled, "Alex's Death" the Sunday after his son, Alex, died in a car accident. Dr. Coffin described the wound he felt as "deep...

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'Allowing' vs.'Do Not': Language Makes A Huge Difference in End-of-Life Decisions

(20) Comments | Posted July 6, 2012 | 11:33 AM

This past week I had to do something that I hoped I would never have to do. I had to sign a do not resuscitate order (DNR) for my mother. When the doctor told me on the phone that we had reached a point where it would not...

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Call Them 'Compassion Panels,' Not 'Death Panels'

(24) Comments | Posted June 11, 2012 | 2:36 PM

I was recently talking with someone who asked me if I thought that the public debate and private conversations people have about end of life issues were parallel conversations.

This question assumes that there are private conversations going on about end of life issues. Unfortunately, based on my conversations with...

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Are You Making Decisions About Your Health Care in a Vacuum?

(6) Comments | Posted May 18, 2012 | 1:13 PM

We live in a world where information is at our fingertips. You can download just about anything and have access to it almost instantly. We take control of so many aspects of our lives -- we stay "informed" about our money, our financial investments, and perhaps even our health issues....

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Can a Person 'Suffer From Life'?

(32) Comments | Posted April 27, 2012 | 6:26 AM

Is there such a thing as "suffering from life"? This phrase caught my attention when reading a NY Times article about two weeks ago. It was entitled "Push for the Right to Die Grows in the Netherlands," and is about expanding euthanasia in the Netherlands. There is a...

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Death And Taxes: Why We Need To Talk Openly About End-of-Life Care

(25) Comments | Posted April 13, 2012 | 2:29 PM

This coming Monday, April 16, is National Health Care Decisions Day. It was started to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. I have written many times in this blog about the importance of people having advance directives. This is...

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