Staff and Students

George Amos serves as a Chaplain Resident starting in August 2016. George Amos is a Catholic Priest incardinated in the Apostolic Vicariate of Bomadi, Nigeria. He has been a priest for over 15 years. Fr. George has served as a chancellor and as a pastor of different parishes in his home diocese in Nigeria. He did his CPE Internship at Holy Family Hospital Methuen, Massachusetts. In May 2015, Fr. George received his Master of Theology degree from Boston College, and in May 2016, he received his Master of Laws degree from Northeastern University, Boston. Fr. George desires to bring his experience in ministry and the law to bear in his service to patients and staff here at Covenant Healthcare. He can be reached at george.amos@chs-mi.com.

Bonnie Ballard, Administrative Associate, joined the Pastoral Care Department in January, 2009. Prior to joining the Pastoral Care Team, she worked in the Registration Department for almost two years. Before coming to Covenant HealthCare, Bonnie worked as a customer service representative/supervisor for many years. She received her Associates Degree in business from Delta College and became a certified professional secretary in 1985. Bonnie is a member/past president of the International Association of Administrative Professionals. Bonnie can be reached at 989.583.6042 or bjballard@chs-mi.com.

Kathy Bonn, Director of the Pastoral Care Department, is a consecrated diaconal minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She brought a variety of experiences to the role of director in July 2007, including being a high school math teacher, college professor, and Hospice volunteer. During her chaplaincy training, Kathy did her CPE internship at Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center (in La Crosse, WI) and her CPE residency at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center (in Toledo, OH). For her Master of Arts in Diaconal Ministry she specialized in hospital chaplaincy, and her Ph.D. is in Curriculum & Instruction. Kathy can be reached at 989.583.6037.

Sherrema Bower serves as a Chaplain Resident starting in October, 2016. She is a native of Flint, Michigan and is a Quaker with a Pentecostal background. She did her chaplain internship at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak (Detroit). She recently completed her PhD in the Anthropology of Religion and Gender at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. Her doctorate research was a qualitative (interview-based), comparative study with Pentecostal women in New Zealand and Missouri (USA) about their spiritual power. She also holds degrees in the humanities and social sciences from Purdue University and the University of Michigan-Flint. Sherrema has been to or lived in more than a dozen countries and uses her variety of abroad experiences to inform her chaplaincy in ministering to "weary travelers" who are in transitional spaces in their lives, adapting to unfamiliar terrain. Sherrema feels honored to serve the patients, families and staff of Covenant and can be reached at sherrema.bower@chs-mi.com.

Anne Breitag is a Roman Catholic Dominican Sister who has worked on Covenant's Pastoral Care Team since August 2000 after completing her Clinical Pastoral Education studies. Before joining Covenant, she was in active parish ministry for 33 years as a teacher, principal, religious education director, and pastoral minister. Sister Anne became a certified chaplain in the summer of 2002. Sister Anne can be contacted at 989.583.4398.

Heather Collins manages the Covenant CPE program and supervises our pastoral students. She moved to Saginaw in 2015 with her husband, David, their three dogs, and two cats when she was offered a position at Covenant. She entered the field of pastoral care and education in 2000 after serving in the congregational setting for seven years as an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. She directed the Chaplaincy Services at the Atlanta Medical Center in Georgia for twelve years until she resigned to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail with her husband. They completed the 2200 mile journey in April 2015. Heather loves the ministry of caring for people, and of teaching helpful skills for artful ministry. She is gratified to be a part of the Covenant team and can be reached at hcollins@chs-mi.com.

Cathy French is serving as a staff chaplain at Covenant, having completed and served as a resident chaplain here at Covenant 2011-12. She has spent much of her adult and childhood growing up in the northeast region of Massachusetts. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School and completed a CPE internship at Haven Wood-Heritage Heights in Concord, New Hampshire. Prior to seminary, Cathy worked in human services most recently as an intensive case manager/family liaison with children and their families in crisis. She is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist with an interest in serving in an ecumenical interfaith setting as a chaplain. Cathy can be reached at cathyfrench@chs-mi.com.

Nikey D. Keels serves as an occasional employee at Covenant Healthcare. She is a native of Flint, and is a dually licensed minister with the American Baptist and the Progressive National Baptist Convention. She received her Masters of Divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. She holds a certificate of completion in Christian counseling from the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care (VIP Care), which preceded her chaplain internship at the Salem Veteran’s Medical Center in Salem, Va. She also holds a BA degree from Grambling State University followed by the completion of an abroad post-graduate studies program in London, England via Florida State University. She has served as a foreign missionary for various Christian denominations, as well as an Associate minister. Currently, she serves as the Transitional Pastor for the Michigan Avenue Baptist Church here in Saginaw. In her spare time she enjoys writing poetry, treks to museums, and various genres of music. Nikey can be reached at NikeyKeels@chs-mi.com.

Liz Knuth joined Covenant as an occasional employee in August 2016. Liz is an active minister at Linden Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) currently serving as Elder and has also served in the role of Deacon. She has completed one unit of CPE and holds a masters in ministry from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Prior to ministry, Liz served in many roles in health care administration at several major hospitals throughout mid and southeast Michigan. Liz and her husband, Greg, have one adult daughter. She can be reached at 989.583.6042 or dorothy.knuth@chs-mi.com.

Bob Koch joined the Covenant staff in 2009 following a CPE residency. As a Board Certified Chaplain he is passionate about improving patient care by integrating spirituality into health care through research, education and clinical practice. Bob earned his DMin degree from the Methodist Theological School of Ohio specializing in grief ministry and bereavement support. Since 2004 he has been an adjunct faculty member of Saginaw Valley State University teaching communication courses in the behavioral and health science curricula. Bob can be reached at 989.583.6042 or rkoch@chs-mi.com.

Alford McClaney serves as a Chaplain Resident starting in August 2016. He is licensed to preach in 1997, and is an Ordained Elder in Full Connection of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Alford has pastored churches in the Montgomery-Opelika-Phenix City, Birmingham-Anniston and Northwest Texas Districts. He is a veteran of the US Air Force. Alford has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Miles College and a Master of Divinity Degree in Pastoral Counseling from Phillips School of Theology at The Interdenominational Theological Center. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry Degree. Alford has four adult children and two grandchildren. He can be reached at alford.mcclaney@chs-mi.com.

Elaine Raymond is a Mission Sister of the Holy Spirit and has been an occasional employee at Covenant since 1984 when former director, Ray Dice, was the only full-time chaplain. Ray saw the need for round-the-clock chaplains and prepared four ministers for this ministry on a volunteer basis. At that time Sr. Elaine was a full-time pastoral associate at St. Andrew Catholic Church after which she was appointed Pastoral Administrator at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Merrill from 1989-1999. During this time she continued her chaplaincy with Covenant. She also directs the Special Religious Education Program (SPRED) for developmentally disabled people throughout the Diocese. In 1999, Sr. Elaine returned to St. Andrew and continued there for nine years before retiring. She continues chaplaincy at Covenant, the SPRED program, and is also a hospice chaplain for the Visiting Nurses Association of Covenant. Sr. Elaine can be reached at eraymond@chs-mi.com.

Rob Schmidt serves as an occasional employee at Covenant. Rob is an ordained clergy in the ELCA and serves as pastor to a local congregation since 2006. Rob has completed one unit of CPE as part of his seminary education at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH, where he earned his masters of divinity. Prior to ministry Rob earned a masters in counseling education and psychology from Western Michigan University and a bachelor’s of science with secondary education teaching endorsement. Rob served in the public school system in the state of Michigan where he taught, coached and served as a counselor prior to pursuing his ministerial credentials. Rob can be reached at robertschmidt@chs-mi.com.

Lafayette Simpson, an occasional employee, joined Covenant’s Department of Pastoral Care & Education in October 2015. In 2014, he completed a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) internship and received his CPE Certification from Covenant’s CPE Program. In 2014, Lafayette was installed as the second pastor of the 63-year-old congregation of the historic Bethlehem Baptist Church of Saginaw. Along his journey serving in ministry for 16 years, he has been ordained and appointed as the Chairman of the Deacon Board, licensed and ordained as a minister.  Lafayette gained ministry knowledge by attending Midwest Bible College in Pontiac, Michigan. He can be reached at lsimpson@chs-mi.com.

Randall Sparling serves as a Chaplain Resident for Academic Year 2016-2017. He has been married to Rachel Sparling for 10 awesome years, and they have a 7 year old daughter, Rosie. He currently is in the Ordination Process with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Prior to his current position he was a Minister of Counseling at Garfield Park Community Church in Santa Cruz, California. Randall is a recent graduate of The Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. It is his goal to return to the United States Army as a Chaplain after completing his resident year. He can be reached at randall.sparling@chs-mi.com.

Juli Stuelpnagel serves as an occasional employee at Covenant. Juli completed a CPE residency at Covenant in 2011. She also did a second year CPE residency at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, TX in 2013-2014. Juli earned a Master’s of Divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary, and is part of the Christian Reformed Church of North America. Prior to ministry, Juli earned a master’s in education from Northern Illinois University. She taught overseas for 5 years, in Saipan, Guam, and the Dominican Republic. Juli can be reached at jstuelpnagel@chs-mi.com.

Carol Wesolek is serving Covenant as an occasional employee. She has completed 4 units of CPE at Covenant, which included a year residency. She has been a licensed ordained chaplain through the International Fellowship of Chaplains since 1999, with emphasis on trauma, grief and loss. Carol is a member of a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and Management team, having taken training through ICISF (International Critical Incident Stress Foundation) of which she is a member, and the IFOC (International Fellowship of Chaplains). She also attended Mid-Michigan Bible Institute. She can be reached at cwesolek@chs-mi.com.