Chaplaincy and Care Director's Note October 2020

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Wonderful Whirlwind

These last two months have been a wonderful whirlwind of activity and change in our ministry. We’ve prepared for and hosted our annual Chaplains Training, fielded chaplain inquiries, endorsed two chaplains, prepared for a staffing change, geared up for celebrating Chaplain Sunday on November 15, and brainstormed for our year-end fundraising. Throughout all of this, The Holy Spirit’s presence has been felt and guidance has been clear as we reflect on the past two months.

We hosted our first virtual Chaplain Training “Come to Me: Sufficient Grace, Perfect Power, and Humanity” in late September. The Holy Spirit strongly wove this theme throughout our worship and our plenary sessions. One hundred and ten chaplains attended our training event, and it was an honor to spend three days together. While the overall training format changed, our time together was incredibly meaningful during our worship, fellowship, learning together, and discussions. Throughout the conference, our chaplains shared about the joys and challenges in their life and ministry. I am so deeply thankful for all of our chaplains who are providing frontline spiritual care to people who are so lonely, in crisis, in pain, and filled with grief.

While we wished we could be together in person, there were surprising benefits to meeting virtually. Chaplains who had been unable to take time away from work in the past were able to attend our conference. Throughout our conference, we were broken up into small groups, and chaplains were incredibly open and vulnerable during these times. Chaplains shared that they were able to get to know more chaplains in the virtual format because it is easy during in-person gatherings to gravitate to the folks you know well or become overwhelmed by a room filled with lots of people. Most of our chaplains would be interested in attending a virtual gathering in the future, and we hope to brainstorm how we can provide or facilitate future virtual gatherings.

As some of you may know, I’ll be voluntarily stepping down as Director of Chaplaincy and Care Ministry and transitioning to a part-time role in our ministry. I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue to serve chaplains and our ministry while having the ability to become more engaged in my local community. I know that the Holy Spirit has already prepared another chaplain to step into the director role, and Carol Vander Ark Champion (our new senior administrative assistant) and I look forward to working as a newly formed ministry team. We hope to be able to introduce to you the new director in the winter/early spring 2021. I will continue to work full-time as director until the position is filled.

This is an exciting opportunity for our ministry to grow and provide meaningful ministry to our chaplains while serving our churches. We look forward to developing our regional networks of chaplains, providing mentoring to students and prospective chaplains, develop relevant mentoring materials and relationships with newly endorsed chaplains, and providing more opportunities for chaplains to share their knowledge and expertise with one another and the church. Please join me in continuing to pray and support this vital ministry.

In Christ,

Sarah Roelofs 
Director of Chaplaincy and Care

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