Initial reflections on 9 months of chaplaincy

Earlier today I completed my 9-month hospital chaplaincy (a three-unit CPE residency).  All ELCA seminarians are required to complete one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, usually in a hospital setting as a chaplain, and usually over 12 weeks during the summer.  My experience was just like that standard summer experience – only longer and, becauseContinue reading “Initial reflections on 9 months of chaplaincy”

Authenticity & Pastoral Identity

Over the past nine months one of the keywords in my CPE Residency has been "authenticity."  We have sought what it means to be "real" and "authentic" in the practice of chaplaincy.  I got appropriately grilled when my peers and supervisors sensed a high dose of phoniness in a patient encounter that I presented inContinue reading “Authenticity & Pastoral Identity”

Baptism Without a Faith Community?

In the hospital chaplains are occasionally asked to baptize babies, particularly those who are very sick or deceased (an issue for another blog post).  Recently, however, I was asked to baptize an adult.  He is not in immediate danger of death but rather is a long-term patient on a closed psychiatric ward.  In his mid-50s,Continue reading “Baptism Without a Faith Community?”