The work of NJ4C responds to the complexity of cancer in our families and communities through individual, congregational, and systemic engagement, support, and advocacy.
- Care for those with cancer – this includes assisting with immediate needs, mental health needs for adapting to living in a new reality with cancer, prayer chains within congregations
- Care for Caregivers – mental health needs, immediate needs, care for medical professionals, and clergy
- Training for Lay-Chaplains – develop a program to train lay people in cancer chaplaincy and place them in non-traditional places such as outpatient centers
- Explore and develop ethical relationships with pharmaceutical companies and hospitals in order to work collaboratively on cancer related research, including immunotherapy. One example could be students at the RWJH Medical School, and students in the seminary working collaboratively on cancer-related research projects that utilize populations in congregations.
- Create prayers, litanies, and resources specific to various types of cancers, treatments, caregivers, and more.
- Create a referral system for NJ CCCC volunteers and clients with and through congregations. This could include a database that catalogs needs and matches with volunteer, a free hotline for congregations in New Jersey to call for support around care for congregants with a cancer diagnosis, accompaniment to congregants and community members going through immunotherapy or other treatments
- Disseminate literature and resources for congregations and communities including opportunities for congregation-based early intervention screenings, working closely with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, both the cancer center and the chaplaincy department, to incorporate educational and community health initiatives into congregational life.
- Advocacy and Fundraising – including sponsoring bills favoring cancer research, walk-a-thons, and better utilizing congregations for fundraising and advocacy for existing cancer research organizations.
The New Jersey Congregational Center for Cancer Care is a new program created to honor the legacy of beloved community member, Franco Juricic. Franco was a long time Merck employee who died suddenly of pancreatic cancer in 2019. Franco attended New Brunswick Theological seminary during his final 10 years at Merck, studying at night. He learned so much after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis 10 years prior about caring for those with the disease. He retired from Merck in June 2018, excited to pursue full-time his passion for ministry. He was to be ordained the very day that, instead, we performed his funeral.
Franco dreamed of starting a ministry for cancer care. Utilizing the strength of faith communities collaborating through a non-profit community development corporation, we are poised to make good on Franco’s dream, and begin the NJ Congregational Center for Cancer Care located at New Brunswick Theological Seminary.
Winter Wiggins is the Program Director for the NJ Congregational Center for Cancer. She is a native of New Jersey, received her B.A. in Communications from Temple University, and her M.DIV. from Princeton Theological Seminary. She has experience serving as a hospital chaplain on the Critical Care and Acute Care for the Elderly units, Center for Eating Disorders, and as chaplain for a Cancer Support Group. She has coordinated mentoring programs, served in youth ministry, and is a trained Spiritual Director. Winter loves nature, coffee/tea, journaling, and supporting others along their spiritual journey.