Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 214; Preaching to The Choir

 Preaching to the Choir
Most of us are familiar with the term, “preaching to the choir,” that’s probably because we have at some point been the proverbial choir. The term is used when someone is speaking to someone else who already understands the message that the speaker is trying to convey.
Yesterday, I spoke at a Diversity and Inclusion summit for the CHS, Carolinas Healthcare System. In a system of over 49,000 employees about 500 volunteer to participate. I was told that they are the choir. 
I thought about the phrase “preaching to the choir” for two weeks before going to Carolina. I wondered if anything I would say would make a difference and then I thought about being in the choir.

·         The choir gives a message before the minster allowing their music to soften the ears and hearts of the congregation.

·         The choir typically sits behind or near the minister and are visually a part of the message.

·         According to popular preacher lore (and yeah, I made that phrase up) before his fall from grace, Satan was the heavenly choir director. This is not biblical however and most likely derived from Dante’s Divine Comedy. At any rate, lots of things can happen in the choir loft so they can stand a bit of preaching to.

·         Most importantly; the choir sets the mood.

When I arrived at the event, which should be called an experience, I was moved to tears by the meeting of minds and hearts. A staff member with the voice of an angel opened with a song called Amazing Love.

Laura Liswood, (Read More) the Secretary General of The Council of Women World Leaders; whose resume reads like a novel opened the conference and made even the most diverse of divers thinkers think again. I attended a break-out session called the Elements of Success and was wonderfully surprised when the presenter, Christine took us through the 4 elements; earth, water, fire, and wind enabling us to identify our dominant force or forces while seeing the unique and awesome strength of others.

As I looked around the room at people who were physicians, nurses, surgeons, managers, HR executives, account managers and any other position found in a hospital, I could see that this choir was deeply engaged with each presentation. No one was on a phone or sleeping. I wondered why there was no constant traffic to the bathroom and I remembered that these folks worked in health care; they can hold it.

I was moved by the commitment of the choir to learn yet another song and I was hopeful for the future of healthcare because of this one choir.
Diversity as we learned and relearned is not about getting along; it goes beyond that. It is about creating a new way of thinking, seeing, working and being.

I was heartened and uplifted and able to see more clearly and I felt like I was back in my youth when someone would say, “The choir really sang today.”

Be you, be well, be the choir.
Bertice Berry, PhD.


  1. Even reading your blog I was moved again. You just have a way with words... You rock and continue to be awesome. Simone ("bald head")

    1. Thanks so much. Keep a look out for tomorrow's post, you will be in it. Thanks for your inspiration

  2. Thank you Bertice for a very memorable CHS Diversity experience...when I repeated the story of your mother and how a nurse giving a foot message brought attention to a caring, compasionate heart, I was in tears. Many times care givers get little respect from families of the patients. I'm in the choir and proud to be part of a fine organization.

    PS I ordered your book- cant wait to get started on a wellness for my life. God speed to you in the healing process.

  3. Darlene Campbell (CHS Mercy Hospital)August 1, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    I can't stop talking about you to everyone and anyone that I saw today. You had me laughing, you had me crying, you had me laughing and crying at the same time. You, your story touched and inspired me in so many ways. You are a light that God lidded. Keep shining bright and lead the way for all those who fallow you.

    Thank you Bertice Berry for being YOU.

    Darlene Campbell

  4. Thank you so much for coming to CHS. I remember years ago when you had your own talk show and I've read one of your books...when I saw that you were one of the speakers I had to register and I so looked forward to hearing from you at the CHS Diversity and Inclusion symposium on Tuesday... as I expected you were awesome!...I could have listened to you for hours and hours... your spirit touched my was truly a pleasure being in your are an inspiration and a blessing to all. May God continue to bless you and thank you again!!!

  5. Can I just say that I haven't laughed so hard in quite a while! I have been going through some things quietly but your words were so inspiring and your delivery so infectious that I left the conference feeling like I can take on the world again. Thank you for a wonderful afternoon feast of motivation.

  6. Sometimes the choir needs preaching to. Thank you, Dr. Berry, for your uplifting message at CHS on Tues. As a hospice marketing & development professional, your story of getting a "clean slate" hit home and was especially beautiful. If you want a good read on this very subect of generational healing, order a copy of the tiny, 106-pg. paperback book by Craig Hill called The Ancient Paths. It's a biblical examination of generational healing centered on Jeremiah 6 and the healing power of getting "rest for your soul." I pray that message blesses you as much as your message blessed me this week. God bless you & yours. Hope to see you back at CHS soon!

  7. You are truly an amazing inspiration to me. As a "NTI Junky" I look forward to the rejuvenation in my passion every year. Your stories, your laughter and even your smile inspire me. I now have a mid-summer boost to get me to Boston!

    As part of the CHS choir for 20 years now I am truly blessed with the family I work with. We face challenges like any family but when we focus on our mission to serve patients and their families we do all we can to get it done! Thank you for sharing your experiences to remind us of our mission.

    Good luck to you in your journey of paired exchange and know not to far away you have an old college friend Matthew and myself readily available for any support you may need or want:) Until we meet again virtual hugs and love!

  8. Thank you so much Dr. Berry. After your message at the Symposium I felt as if I had overate at a buffet, sat talked for a while, and then returned to the buffet for seconds. You inspired me like none other to continue my journey as a nurse aware and excited by the differences I am blessed to see in human nature daily. Your story of your mother gave me insight from a different point of view that I rarely get to witness. Please continue sharing it. I've always felt blessed by this ministry of nursing that God has placed within me. I can't remember a time in my entire life that I did not think that being a nurse was the road I was born to travel. Hearing your words, your enlightenment, your soul speak on the privlege I have, has only fueled my fire. Thank you for speaking and sharing with us. I am buying your book and many others to follow. Don't ever change, your beauty is beyond words. I hope to hear you speak again sometime in the near future.

    Veronica Rankin RN