Who We Are

The United Methodist Hospitals Ministry is an outreach visitation ministry of healing and connectional support by the United Methodist Church of Wisconsin.

The United Methodist Hospitals Ministry consists of two parts:

  • The Chaplain
    Our Chaplain visits United Methodist patients and their families hospitalized in Madison's major hospitals, including Unity Point Health - Meriter, St. Mary’s, UW Hospitals, American Family Children’s Hospital and, upon request, the VA Hospital. When patients are hospitalized at a distance from their homes, it is often difficult for clergy from their church to visit them. Our chaplain fills in for local clergy when they are not able to visit, and provides a connectional link between the patients, their congregations and pastors. Our chaplain also visits Methodists who have no relationships to congregations.

  • The Chaplaincy Committee
    A chaplaincy committee of lay and clergy persons oversees the work of the chaplain, sets goals and compensation, and assists in fundraising. The ministry is regularly communicated to congregations throughout the Wisconsin Conference by the work of the chaplain and chaplaincy committee through personal appearances and contacts, informational mailing updates and at Annual Conference. This ministry is an approved Advance of the Annual Conference and funding is solicited from congregations and individuals as well as through the Health and Welfare Committee of the Conference Board of Global Ministries.

Introductory Videos

The informational videos below are available for you to use in worship or other group settings to tell people about this UM chaplaincy ministry.


More Resources

Inform your congregation about this ministry with these stories about how our chaplains provide support and spiritual care to United Methodists in Madison hospitals. You may want to use these as a Bulletin Insert, in your newsletter when you describe this ministry, etc.

Our History

The United Methodist Hospitals Ministry began in the 1950’s when a part-time Methodist chaplain from the Methodist Hospital in Madison visited Methodists in other Madison hospitals on behalf of the Church. In the late 1960’s, when the chaplain in the Methodist Hospital became full-time, this ministry was picked up by one or two local congregations. They affirmed the need to provide a healing ministry within Madison area hospitals to United Methodist patients there. It has evolved from those parish pastors providing care, to a volunteer chaplain, to today’s salaried, part-time chaplain.

The ministry is an Annual Conference Advance program through the Health and Welfare Committee and the Conference Board of Global Ministries. It continues be a viable ministry today as persons hospitalized are sicker, stays are shorter, and parish pastors are stretched for adequate time to visit parishioners in the distant Madison hospitals. Over the years, this ministry has provided spiritual care and comfort to many United Methodists hospitalized in Madison hospitals and has strengthened (sometimes re-established) their connections with local pastors and churches. 

Our Chaplain

United Methodist Hospitals Ministry Chaplain John WellsThe Reverend John Wells is the chaplain for the United Methodist Hospitals Ministry. John who recently retired as a parish pastor, brings with him skills and experiences of over 40 years in United Methodist ministry. As pastor he has brought comfort to many in crisis and as they are hospitalized receiving care for their health needs. He serves this chaplaincy ministry 20 hours per week. John visits or connects with United Methodists and their families in his hospital rounds to Madison’s major medical-surgical hospitals…St. Mary’s Hospital, Meriter-UnityPoint Hospital and University of Wisconsin Hospitals including American Family Children’s Hospital. Patients come from every district in Wisconsin and beyond. When the patient gives permission, Chaplain John Wells contacts the home pastor providing a connection of care and communication on behalf of the patient. The chaplains at each hospital provide team support and resources to assist John in his work. John is willing to visit your church and present to your congregation or church group about this ministry and his work as the chaplain.

Contact him at 5204 Sassafras Dr., Fitchburg, WI 53711, 920-723-5378
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


How You Can Get Involved

Your prayers for this ministry, our Chaplain John Wells and those hospitalized in Madison hospitals are needed and appreciated. Please consider including the United Methodist Hospitals Ministry (# 7630) in your church’s Advance mission planning. It touches United Methodists throughout Wisconsin and across the country. Likely, one of your church members has or will benefit from the chaplain’s ministry while hospitalized in Madison. Please consider a donation to our Current Operation Expenses Fund and to the UMHM Endowment Fund (through the Conference UM Foundation) to help to support today’s ministry needs and tomorrow’s dreams.

United Methodist Hospitals Ministry Committee

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.: UMHM Chaplain, 920-723-5378
  • Jon Traver: Treasurer, Monona UMC
  • Rev. David Sharpe: Retired UM Pastor, Stoughton UMC
  • Paula McKenzie: Blessed Sacrament RCC, Madison
  • Rev. Jeff Virchow: Retire UM Pastor, Concordia UMC, Pairie du Sac
  • Carol Thomas: Dodgeville UMC
  • Rev. Fran Deaner: Retired UM Pastor, Well Spring UMC, Madison
  • Velma Hochenberry: Sun Prairie UMC
  • Rev. Scott Carlson: D.S., South West District
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.: Chairperson, Retired Chaplain, First UMC, Madison, 608-835-9330