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One Year Later

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

2020 will be a year seared into our collective memory with the impact of COVID-19. It was a year ago in March, that like many of you, my work, as a hospice chaplain for Vitas Healthcare in San Diego, Calif. changed dramatically. I no longer saw patients and their families in person. Our youngest child, a sophomore in high school, began online classes as her high school closed “temporarily.” To this day, she is still online.

Over the summer months, I gradually began to see only a third of my patients in person with all the proper precautions but many of the facilities would only allow the nurse or home health aide to enter. I had to help families figure out different ways to hold funerals and bereavement rituals when they could not be together in person. Zoom and FaceTime became important tools of communication. We even gathered for our annual chaplain training in September via Zoom.

I finished my work as a hospice chaplain on December 31 to begin this new journey as the Director of Chaplaincy and Care. I am thrilled to be the new director and that I will serve alongside Sarah and Carol. Sarah will be working as a ministry consultant and Carol will continue as the administrative assistant.

Our hope for this coming year is to continue our support to you as we now enter year two of dealing with COVID. I look forward to building relationships and hearing from you. And perhaps, as the vaccinations continue to be administered, we will once again be able to see each other in person. May our Lord continue to uphold us in these days and give us the strength to be instruments of mercy and hope! 

Grace and Peace,

Tim Rietkerk

Director of Chaplaincy and Care


Welcome Tim! What a crazy past year it's been. I too look forward to gathering together in person once again. Thanks for sharing a bit of your story. 

Chaplaincy and spiritual care has become an integral part of the marketplace -- where people work. Increasingly, a wide range of businesses, industry and organizations are hiring chaplains or engaging the services such as Marketplace Chaplains (in the US) and Marketplace Care Canada where employees receive one-on-one spiritual and  emotional care. Help is usually just a text message away.

During this COVID season -- however long it lasts -- employees are dealing with a wide range of issues such as suicidal thoughts, loss of employment, crushing debt. Employers, recognizing the need to be stewards of their employees, are increasingly providing marketplace care teams as a valuable benefit to their employees.

While the denomination has traditionally viewed chaplaincy in specific areas such as the armed forces, prisons or hospitals, there is considerable merit in engaging the services of these other Christian organizations. The Kingdom of God is most certainly in the marketplace.

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