A Ministry of Presence

Truth be told, many things set CHRISTUS Health apart from other organizations, from world-class medical services to compassionate, faith-based care. But what makes CHRISTUS Health truly unique is the people who have chosen to call CHRISTUS Health their home. These people are not only experts in their fields; they give their time, energy, and efforts to something bigger than themselves. At CHRISTUS Health, the mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ is more than something written on posters in hospital halls – especially for those Associates who probably made those posters.

When Rayna Rudasill began working as a graphic designer at CHRISTUS Print Services in Tyler, no one in the office had ever heard of the small Southwest Texas she previously called home. But, as good coworkers do, everyone got to know one another better along the way. They built relationships by talking about their interests and families and where they grew up. So, on May 24, 2022, when the town of Uvalde was headlining news broadcasts across the country, Rayna’s CHRISTUS family knew this was more than just a news story.

“Rayna’s family is from the area, so when we got the news, we began to think and to talk to one another and ask – what can we do? We don’t provide medical care or treat patients – we do printing, but we do more than that. So, what can we do?” said Del Shankle, Director, CHRISTUS Print Services and Rayna’s boss. “Kirsten came up with the idea of the signs.”

The yard-style signs, designed and produced by the Print Services team, say “Uvalde Strong.”

“There are no CHRISTUS logos or designs,” said Shankle. “We had donated H-frames and our partners at Designer Graphics screen-printed them at no cost. We shipped them to Rayna’s family, who made sure everyone who needed one – every family who lost someone – got it.”

On graduation day in Uvalde, the football field where students sat was marked with a Uvalde Strong sign for every child that wouldn’t be able to make it to their own graduation.

“It was amazing,” said Rudasill. “It means the world to me … Because I couldn’t go myself physically, but we could still show our support. When I go home at Thanksgiving, and see those signs, it will mean much more. I still cried at every picture I got from friends and family sending me photos of our yard signs, at businesses. Getting to see it in person is going to mean even more.”

“You know, the Postulate visited us at the Print Shop a few months ago,” said Shankle. “She said something really beautiful that means even more to me now: we have a ‘ministry of presence.’ We work at CHRISTUS, but we are not doctors or nurses, so when we can’t cure, we care. We have a ministry of presence… just being there. Having an understanding of what we do and why we do it; that’s what makes our mission work.

“Maybe it’s not at the bedside, but there are absolutely ways in which you can act out how you feel, your ministry and your mission, where it matters and makes a difference in someone’s life,” continued Shankle. “Our connection with Rayna and her connection with Uvalde means we can make a difference there. We can show our mission there. That’s what CHRISTUS can do – all of us.”