MASTER OF CHAPLAINCY
LESSON 20: FINAL ASSIGNMENT/ESSAY:
The last 20 weeks have gone by in the blink of an eye and so much has happened that it’s been incredible. It’s been a good thing for me, doing this course, though I was reluctant at first due to some financial concerns I had at the time. It was something God was telling me to do because I needed to do this, and I don’t argue with ‘The Boss’. Life goes better when I live life in flow and follow where I am led.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED:
What I learned went far beyond anything this course had listed. I learned that ‘chaplaincy’ is just another name for the ministry (lay ministry) that I’ve been doing on my own as well as for other groups for almost 20 years. This course put a history beneath my feet, one I think goes back even further than we can imagine. I cannot envision an ancient Emperor or Pharaoh traveling without their priest and someplace in my blood are medicine men and medicine women as well as circuit preachers.
It reminded me of the importance of active listening, compassion, loving kindness and awareness and I found additional resources on Grief Counseling and Conflict Analysis, Negotiation and Interfaith Conflict Resolution.
I found a network of chaplains all over the globe; we’re everywhere from the streets of Singapore and Calcutta to the most luxurious resorts on the planet. I found info on and heard from the head chaplain of the Senate (yes, even those colorful folks have a chaplain). I got in touch with a Navy chaplain and a casino chaplain and the feedback I got was outstanding. I joined up with a ministry network and made friends with a mentor who was able to guide me and let me ‘ride along’ with him on visitations.
All that I need is in the core of my being and it doesn’t help to remind us of the vices and virtues that we utilize and experience when we minister to others. This course reminded me of a lot of things I hadn’t thought about for a while such as active listening and remembering to take time off to care for myself.
I also became more aware of current Oregon laws.
I sadly enough learned too that some faith systems don’t like and will not tolerate women ministers and chaplains as a rule unless they are in the ‘right place’ (aka nursery, Sunday school, music ministry, women’s ministries). It’s sad that one or two of them are supposedly, according to Beliefnet.com, the most ‘liberal’ mainline churches in existence. I’m glad I am a CDF and ULC minister!
I was most helped by the encouragement I received from others that I was put in contact with as a result of taking this course. It gave me confidence and gave me answers as well as a basic grounding in the principles required. The massive resources out there are incredible.
HOPE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT:
All I have is one day at a time, one moment at a time. The best any of us can hope for, especially me as a Christian Deist, is to be of service to my fellow man wherever I encounter him/her. My hope is that I am truly being a servant of the Living Creator and working by ‘not my will, Lord, but Thine’.
I do hope to do more interfaith presentations on behalf of the CDF (Christian Deist Fellowship) which I’ve been a member of for years but never fully realized was my faith. I suppose you could say that I’ve found my ‘religion’, for like Dorothy coming home from Oz I learn I’ve had a home only I never knew it. I’d also like to do more on behalf of the ULC and am considering writing a course on Spiritual Deism for the ULC.
I also hope to bring news of the ULC to others and to help remove the stigma others have told me of; a lot of folks see the ULC as nothing more than a massive marriage minister mill or a ‘draft dodger’ church. The ULC has such potential and is much more than that by far!
I would add some information about the potential of the internet as a ministry outreach. It is only just now being tapped by ministers and chaplains and it holds great promise for the future of ministry as a whole. As churches empty out their pews more and more people are searching online as well as in their own communities.
I would also encourage the collection of a resource folder or booklet – something I’ve developed over the years. In this folder should be referrals for ministers of other faiths, free clinics, local/state/federal agencies, psychologists, naturopaths and so forth.
I thank the writers of the course for keeping it clear and concise. I am grateful for the re-learning opportunity and I am very thankful for the network and mentors I met as a result of taking this little part of the journey with the ULC Seminary. My thanks to Rev. Amy for her support and positive spirit on my behalf.
Peace be with you,
And I hope to take more courses as finances improve.
Yours in Faith,
Rev. Kerena M. Hyler DD