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One year ago, I started work as the Chaplaincy and Care Director. I love the work and the amazing people, Sarah and Carol, that I work with. I also work with other denominational employees and have found them to be dedicated to the church and ready to offer assistance to Chaplaincy and Care Ministry.

Most of the collaboration occurs virtually. During a window last September, when it was fairly safe to travel, I flew out to Grand Rapids and had several in person meetings with those that I had only interacted with before on Zoom. I anticipated that I would be able to start traveling to see other chaplains and attend some endorser conferences.

And then Omicron. I had to cancel travel plans.

This has been a roller coaster year. I loved roller coasters when I was a young person. Today, not so much. I find I don’t deal as well with sudden changes and new directions.

This past year has been full of sudden changes and new directions. Many of you finally took trips to see loved ones and then had to go back into limiting or canceling your travel again. For those who work in healthcare and long term care settings, there was a break and then the numbers went up again of those affected by Covid.

As we continue in this new year, my prayers for all of us will include the gift of divine patience. Patience in our interactions with our families, with those we serve, and with fellow workers. Patience with ourselves when it feels overwhelming and the tank feels empty.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

Grace and Peace,

Tim Rietkerk

Director of Chaplaincy and Care

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