One of the unseen and unsung ministries of our church is hospital chaplaincy. This ministry is filled with volunteers who give up their time to be a listening ear and a slice of community to those in hospital.
“Hospital chaplaincy is allowing people to come to terms with their situation,” says Terry Schuster, a hospital chaplain who has recently completed his training. “It’s to be a friend to that person first of all, but also help that person to work their way through their issues. As one of my colleagues puts it very nicely, it’s like helping that person bring their boat into their harbor.”
Terry cares for people of all different upbringings and faith backgrounds, and no matter who he spends time with, God is always working in each situation.
“Regardless of who you meet with, you are there as a person who brings God’s love and God’s presence to that person. I also like to think of it too, as bringing community to that person who is stuck in hospital.”
Training to become a hospital chaplain is very thorough and includes clocking up 200 hours of placement in a hospital, as well as teaching days, group work, and your own personal spiritual reflection, and as challenging as it has been, Terry loves his new role.
“It would have to be one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I’ve got so much out of it,” says Terry. “One thing you get to appreciate when you visit people who are not Christians is that we all have a common humanity. We might not have a common faith, but we have a common humanity. And we as Christians need to be attuned to that common humanity and the care God is able to give through us to anyone.”
What is Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)?
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is education and formation for the professional work of pastoral/spiritual care. The process balances the practical experience of pastoral/spiritual care, small group supervision/interaction, and personal individual supervision, in an integrated programme of experiential and theoretical education. A CPE Unit is a total learning process of at least 400 hours of supervised learning, and it costs $1630 to equip each hospital chaplain for service in this way. This is one of the projects you can support through the LCAQD 2020 Lenten appeal.
Cathy Brown, an accredited CPE Supervisor, is also an LCAQD congregation member.
More information about Hospital Chaplaincy in the LCAQD.