Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chaplaincy Studies

By Rev. Don Eck

 This course is one of the most enlightening courses not only on being a Chaplain but being a Minister in general.  It is my strong belief that anyone seeking ordination should take this class when beginning their ministry.  There is so much offered in this 20 week course that can help in any ministry.

Lesson 1 begins with giving the history and background to Chaplaincy work and gives a present day trend for our work as Chaplains. 

Lesson 2 talks about the Call to Ministry.  It reminded me of my early years wondering what it would be like to be a Minister.  I think I always had the call but put it on the back burner until age 50 when I decided it was time to listen to God and begin the Ministry work.  Now after completing the courses here at ULC I believe I am equipped with the tools to do the work on this ministry journey.

The course continues with an overview of the skills, qualifications and training of a chaplain.  Lesson 3 reminded me that as a chaplain one must become a good listener and not the talker.  Most often a person will just need someone to hear them out and not solve the problem.  This was a great reminder for me because I am a problem solver and this lesson put in perspective for me that solving the problem for someone else is not always the answer.  The job of the chaplain is to listen and ask the right questions so that the individual can solve their problems themselves.  Again in Lesson 9 the author goes into more detail on listening and I needed to hear that again and will review this lesson again and again.

The next few lessons outlined the many places a chaplain can work.  These lessons opened up a whole new world of work for one to choose from working in hospitals, nursing homes, with the fire and police departments to colleges and businesses.

The lessons on counseling; especially the one on grief has been a great help.  Since I want to continue working with hospitals, nursing homes and hospice I found these lessons to be of great help.  I will continue to study these lessons over time.

Thank you, Rev. Moore for lesson 13 and 17 the Traps to Avoid.  I have seen young ministers ruin their careers because they were unaware of the traps that they can fall into before they know it their career has gone down the drain as a minister. 

In Lesson 15 Rev. Moore talks about creating a sacred space for a worship service.  This lesson brought back memories for me of being in Vietnam and in the jungle the chaplain would have a Sunday Service and how quickly the jungle turned into a very special place for the soldiers.  It doesn’t take much effort for someone to create such a space.

Now we get to Lesson 19 The Chaplain’s Toolbox!
After reading this lesson I looked over the things that I carry with me in the car.  I found that I was well equipped with the tools needed for any situation.  I carry with me a portable altar set which can be used to convert any space into a sacred space.  In my carry bag I added a few things which I had never thought of carrying such as tissue, small recorder and some administrative forms which I had in the office but never with me.  I was reminded of the time I was on a hospital visit to see a member of the congregation.  In the parking lot from the car to the hospital I was stopped by a family on their way to their car.  I was asked if I would stop by the sister’s room and say a prayer over her.  The greatest tool I had at that moment for them was the tool of prayer.  Right there in the parking garage we gathered together in a circle and prayed together. The brother came to tears as we prayed.  They thank me for taking the time which was only a few minutes to pray with them.  After visiting the member of our congregation I stopped by the sister’s room and prayed with her.  For the next ten days I would stop on my visit to the hospital to pray with her.  She was released from the hospital at the same time as our member and she is recovering at home today.  I was shopping one day and there in the store was the brother and his son.  They came to me and again thanked me for the time I took to pray with them and his sister.  These were very special moments for me that I could make such an impact on one family that I may never see again but I know that God worked through me and gave this family peace and hope for better health.  This my friends was the result of having read this lesson.  The greatest tool we have in our toolbox is the power of prayer.  As I left the hospital I knew that this was a sign to continue on with a chaplain ministry at a hospital.

As a Chaplain we will meet individuals from various faith backgrounds and we will need a reference point as we meet with them.  Having an understanding of various faith beliefs is a very important requirement for a Chaplain.  One must have at least a general knowledge of the various faith structures and terms used in various faiths in order to understand where a person is on their spiritual journey in life.

This Chaplaincy Studies is the core to the Chaplain program and I know only the beginning.  I thank you for developing this course and look forward to taking more courses on my way to the Doctorate program in Ministry.  I cannot think of any improvement to this course.  My only  hope is to begin a Chaplain Ministry. I will continue to pray, study and learn more about being the best Chaplain that I can be. 


The Universal Life Church, is free place to become ordained,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button to get started today.

The ULC Seminary was created to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials. The  Universal Life Church has grown over the years and its Seminary has added the continual growth of the church.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Chaplaincy Studies

Master of the Chaplaincy Studies by Rev. Phil Herman
Master Thesis

What did you learn?
This course enriched my understanding of what Chaplaincy is. I say IS because I now recognize that the ministry of Chaplaincy continually grows, expands and, in a sense, is a living ministry. Throughout the course I was exposed to the variety of needs that a chaplain can be called on to serve. Military, hospital, community – these are only a few of the areas where a chaplain can bring the message of salvation to those in need or who are hurting. Hospice programs and schools ca benefit from the services of a chaplain (although we need to be mindful of the type of school so as not to cross boundaries set up by the ACLU and our government).
This course identified that a level of formal education and practical experience is also needed. Before practicing as a chaplain, we need to be confident in our abilities to serve both effectively and efficiently. Effectively, so we do no harm but facilitate efforts to satisfy the needs of those we minister to. Efficiently, so we utilize our time and resources to the best of our abilities. Allowing us to spend time when necessary and where necessary, yet recognize when it is time to move on to the next individual or situation.
Education does not stop simply because we have attained a specific level of knowledge or understanding. As Chaplains, it is vital that we continue to expand our knowledge in human behavior, psychology, sociology and our religion. We need to be multi-talented and skillful voices that are able to respond to various situations. Continuing our education cannot guarantee we will always be ready, but it sure does arm us with skill sets that can surely aid us when needed.
To professionally serve others, we need to be professionals ourselves. This requires a level of ethics and ethical behavior. All professions adhere to a code of ethics. Chaplains also need a code of ethics that call for us to serve when needed, where needed and in a professional manner that causes no additional harm. Most established religions maintain a code of ethics (cannon Laws) that guide ministers. We are the examples and can be held to a much higher level of responsibility. This is both appropriate and necessary.
What helped you?
The format this course uses (internet lessons delivered on a weekly basis) is very appropriate for us "Older" students. It allows us to work on the course material at our own pace without arbitrary time limitations (due dates, etc). Although we had the opportunity to communicate with other students through the Seminary bulletin board, I found it cumbersome to do so. Without a set number of students going through the course together, it is difficult to talk about a particular issue or lesson as others are not at the same level (some ahead and others still behind).
Since the lessons are designed to be completed as an individual, I did not have any difficulties. The knowledge gained was not limited or hampered because I was studying alone. This speaks well of the lesson plan and materials supplied.

What could improve this course?
I have a few recommendations for improvement.
1. Include a reading list that corresponds with the lessons. I used the internet to gain additional information on being a chaplain. With all of the specialized areas a chaplain can go into, I can envision a substantial listing of books, pamphlets and articles that could be used to enhance this course.
2. Although individuals can start this course at any time and complete it in 20 weeks, they do not have the advantage of communicating with classmates unless others begin and end this course at nearly the same time. I believe it would benefit students to begin this course at the same time. A list of students names and e-mail addresses then could be shared and the mutual support could greatly enhance to learning process.
3. If the seminary does not want to begin the course for all students at a specific date, then at least identify among the students currently enroll who is in the program with their e-mail address. Then we can communicate with each other directly.
4. I know it is difficult to manage a large number of students at one time (I taught college courses at Washington College) but it is important to maintain student – instructor contact on a regular basis. Maybe every 5 lesson a short question and answer quiz could be inserted where the instructor can monitor student progress and comment on the answers supplied by the student. This serve several functions:
A. The student must respond to the questions before progressing to the next level
B. The instructor will review answers and guide the student as needed.
C. The student benefits from direct instructor comments.
What you hope you will accomplish as a result of taking this course.
 As a minister and a social worker, I am always looking forward to opportunities to expand my knowledge and understanding of my roll. I also look for better ways of assisting others. This course has helped along those lines.
The other benefit is the diploma or Masters Degree in chaplaincy which, in today's society, stands for formal recognition of an educational accomplishment. I gain a professional skill set needed to perform in a particular setting. Obviously as a social worker I am required to maintain currency in my field. As a minister, this should also be required, even if self imposed. The Seminary programs helps me maintain currency in fields of study needed to serve.
Submitted by:
Rev. Phil Herman, OblSB


Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Saturday, December 3, 2011


If you have ever given any thought to serving as a chaplain, take this course. Rev. Daniel Moore presents the most complete description of a field that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Not a single question goes unanswered. Not a single aspect of the field is ignored.

When I signed up for the course, I was not sure this was the right direction for me to pursue. It had been suggested by a friend when I asked for an idea on how to put my ministry to work. But after spending many weeks learning about all the different chaplain possibilities, I decided that all were too structured. Not that going to a hospital every week and visiting the sick and grieving was a problem. It was the formality that has put me off. I always thought it would be fine to speak to the social worker at a hospital near my office or residence, one in which I knew a staff member or member of the Board, offer to volunteer to visit a particular group of people such as hospice patients and be on my way. Maybe this is still a possibility. But the course cautions a much stricter regimen.

But this dilemma belongs only to me. For anyone taking this course with the intent of completing the entire series, and then becoming a chaplain, there could be no better introduction. For me, I will continue with the series and see where it leads and what possibilities present themselves.

My thanks to Rev. Moore for allowing me the opportunity to glean from his wisdom.

Rev. Judith G. Wolf


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church, as well as an online seminary program and a chaplaincy program.