New Face in Chaplaincy - Hernan Zapata-Thomack (October 2020)

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I delight in introducing myself, Hernan Zapata-Thomack, as a fish because my Chilean small town seemed like a small fishbowl in my childhood. Because I was growing and growing, my bowl became increasingly small. Then, I jumped into the immense ocean.

Living in three continents, totaling twenty countries, studying five languages and communicating in another two is the result of my jumping, diving, swimming, and crossing the North Atlantic Ocean back and forth. Hence, my global spiritual pilgrimage has led me to new and broader horizons. It has made me the chaplain that I am today. That is; broad-minded, multi- lingual, sensible, culturally competent, and confident in my convictions.

In God’s providence actually, I’m a Reformed pastor with an ample and diverse worldwide view grounded on the holistic God’s Common Grace. Nevertheless, my religious peregrination has empowered me to have confidence enough in my chaplaincy convictions.

My pilgrimage started in Chile, in the Catholic Church, when I was baptized and did my first communion. Later, at my college time, I engaged on campus with an Evangelical college ministry. Then, my Protestantism experience for researching the Bible brought me to a Presbyterian seminary. Next, my captivation for the doctrine of God’s Common Grace based on in Mission and Ecumenism inspired me to study in Western hemisphere.

For me, being in Europe was my powerful turning point in my spirituality because of the great cultural diversity and ecumenical/multi faith expressions. Then, God called me to serve in America, where I serve first the community as outreaching pastor and campus chaplain. In my parish I ministered not only to my congregation but also the city. Thus, my global spiritual journey has guided me to new and broader horizons.

Indeed, my worldwide spirituality has made me the chaplain that I am: called to enrich, broaden, and empower my work place today. I currently live in Haledon, NJ, and am seeking a full-time chaplain position.

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