Sister Nora Frost is a Consecrated Lutheran Sister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a Board Certified Chaplain. She is the spiritual care coordinator and chaplain at IU Health Goshen Hospital.
How did you get into this calling?
I was singing opera in Germany after university where I had been a voice major. I believe deep in my heart I always knew that I wanted to serve in the church as I had been very active at the local and Synodical level through high school and college. One day I picked up the phone in Leipzig, Germany and called the Mother House in Philadelphia. Sister Sophie told me that if I could get back to the states in the next two weeks it would be possible for me to have an interview with the directing sister of the community as well as an interview at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
Where did you grow up? I actually grew up at Simonton Lake on the north side of Elkhart. During college my parents moved into Elkhart to be closer to an aunt, grandfather and sister-in-law all who had cancer at the time.
How long have you lived here?
After Seminary I returned to Elkhart and did a year of internship at my home parish — Grace Lutheran Church. I stayed on staff there until 1980 when I began two years of clinical pastoral educational residencies at Memorial Hospital in South Bend. During that time I served part time at First English Lutheran Church in Mishawaka as their music director and started a preschool. I then lived 8 and a half years in Chicago and 12 and a half years in Philadelphia before returning to Elkhart in 2005 to care for my ailing father. After his death I came to Goshen Hospital as the spiritual care coordinator/chaplain in 2010.
How would you describe the essence of this community?
There is a very big difference between the Elkhart and the Goshen community even though it is the same county. Maybe it is the denominational influence or perhaps it is the size, but Goshen feels more family oriented, friendly and accepting. The Goshen community does not feel like a place where people are competing for distinction or honor, but people will readily help each other. My cousin grew up in Elkhart but moved to Goshen after high school and marriage and has lived in Goshen her whole adult life. She often talks about how everyone at the post office, grocery, drug store, library are so friendly, helpful and genuine.
What would you consider this community’s greatest asset?
The Amish, Mennonite and Brethren traditions have had a significant influence and impact on this community. The pace is a little slower. Issues of faith seem somewhat more important. There certainly is a desire for less governmental intrusion in daily life and a desire for peace. It is the latter that resonates with me. The quest for peace ... individual and corporate peace as well as world peace is a topic of conversation in this community. Maybe I should say that in this community the whole concept of “community” is an asset. Coming out of a religious community whose roots are in Germany I have come to appreciate what community means to many who live in Goshen and the surrounding area.
What do you think is the community’s most significant accomplishment over the past 20 years?
I am not sure that I can speak to this question since I haven’t lived back in this area very long. What I have noticed is the growth and influence of Goshen College and well as Greencroft’s expansion to meet the needs of our seniors. The community has welcomed a large and growing Hispanic population and have attempted to assist in their feeling welcome. The community has also begun to address issues of the uninsured, homeless, and hungry.
What is one aspect of this community you would like to see improved or addressed over the next 20 years?
We will need to continue to address the growing number of unemployed and under employed. As more and more persons find themselves without the basic necessities of daily life the churches and the community will need to communicate more to address these needs and perhaps have a long-range plan for meeting the needs without duplicating efforts. I feel that it is such an honor for me to serve as chaplain here at IU Health Goshen Hospital. I have been welcomed with open arms and many people have allowed me into their lives at times of great medical distress and crisis. Though I very much enjoyed living and serving in two large cities, I feel blessed to be part of this community rich in resources and grounded in God’s goodness and Grace.