Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Lesson 19 ~ Chaplaincy Studies ~ The Chaplains Toolbox ~ Essay
By: Rev. Trent Murman, OSM, OSF
Write a paragraph describing your "tool belt" and your "tool box." In my personal toolbox/tool belt I carry a few items that distinguish me as clergy. Like most clergy I have on myself at all times my business cards. This allows me to not only leave proof that I was there to visit with the person, but to introduce myself to the family if need be. There are many times you may go to visit with the sick and they may be away for hospital tests and instead of waiting around for them to return, I leave my card in a place convenient for them or a family member to see and make note on the card when I plan to be in that area again or of course they may contact me if they wish to see me at another time other than what is designated. If I am called to see a client in the emergency room I always take my, what I call, situation case with me. Here I have a Ministers Guide Book for particular ceremonies, Communion wafers and drink, Holy Water and Anointing Oil. This allows me to be prepared for which ever situation confronts me at the time of my visit. If a client is not of my particular faith I will ask the E.R. staff if their own particular clergy is on their way and if there is time to wait for them. If there is time to wait, I will stand by to comfort the client and family members and when their clergy arrives I introduce myself to him/her and then promptly excuse myself. I also have at my disposal my personal cell phone which allows me to schedule appointments, web browse, make phone calls, etc. I also carry with me a small pad of paper and of course a pen to jot down particulars. However, I never jot down particulars regarding what the client and I have discussed, please remember this is to remain private and no one should accidentally come across this information….it is usually on a need to know basis and the forgiveness of sins is personal. If the patient is in a critical situation, I usually ask one family member to stay with me, this may also allow the patient to be more at ease or a nursing staff member to remain and they are advised that whatever they hear is strictly confidential and must not nor cannot be repeated under any circumstances. If the patient is too critical it really wouldn't matter because they probably wouldn't be able to talk and I would just simply help prepare them for the next part of their journey. I find it reassuring to the patient's family if they can witness what I am doing, this sometimes puts their minds at ease that their family member was properly prepared. I always carry with me my visitation stole (purple/white). This tends to make things a tad bit more professional. I usually start out by asking the patient if they have accepted Jesus as their savior…if they reply yes then I go on with the anointing, usually on the hand. If they request baptism I do this quickly on the forehead. After all is taken care of I conclude with the Hail Mary [the patient and the family can say it with me aloud]. And finish up with….In the name of the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit….Go In Peace. I find this to be sufficient to be in my toolbox. If the family requests me to stay around for grief counseling with other family members I certainly do. When I feel my time with this situation has come to an acceptable end I professionally excuse myself. Sometimes I will sit in my car before leaving the parking lot and go over the visitation to make sure in my mind I have done my best. Remember, some ER and/or ICU visitations can be very stressful and you may not have much time. Just do the best you can. And, by all means don't forget the first golden rule of chaplains…be prepared to LISTEN.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Lesson 18 – Personal Spiritual Care ~ Beware of Burn-Out!
By: Rev. Trent Murman, OSM, OSF
Look at your ministry. What are the stressor points? What is your week like? At this time I have very limited stressors. My main goal is to complete seminary classes and achieve a Chaplaincy appointment with my intended goal to work with the Armed Forces Veterans. Due to my background I feel this is how I could best serve my fellow man. I have allotted much of my work week toward the seminary classes due to the fact this is a second vocation/journey in my life. Getting away on a vacation at least twice a year and some time off, I try to do this at least once a month for a 3 day consecutive period, this has been a great reliever of stress. Be sure to set up a covering clergyman/woman in advance to help you with these times of "Personal Spiritual Care". Develop your spiritual care plan. Write a brief description of it. My spiritual care plan follows closely a book written by Perry H. Biddle, Jr. "A Hospital Visitation Manual". This manual covers all aspects of ministering to many diseases which the ministers may be confronted with both in and out of the hospital settings. When I go into an acute care setting I do try to limit the visitation directly to the patient to five to ten minutes. I do what I have to do including speaking with the patient [if possible]. Remembering you can always visit with the family in the acute care setting waiting room, this will help not disrupting the vital nursing care functions that need to be performed. The "Hospital Chapel" is always available for your own use or the family may be reminded of the chapel if there is a need for solitude or private worshiping. The chapel usually has pre-announced times of denominational services where Rabi's, Priests, Muslims and other Christian clergy may conduct their own services. Always check in at the nurse's station before proceeding to a patient's room, it is only proper to do this no matter what part of the hospital you are visiting. I do home visitations only if the patient is confined to his/her home and when directly asked by the patient or his/her family member to stop by. It is only common courtesy to confirm your visitation the day before in case situations have changed. Remember if you are to administer "Anointing" or "Absolution" this should be a private rite of passage between you, the patient and their God. Hospital staff and even other family members should be excused from the patient's room to ensure their privacy. The patient and his/her family places an enormous amount of faith/trust in the clergy. This must be honored and kept in strict privacy so there is no break in that trust can never be questioned. Spiritual care should be administered to all persons that request it, for the chaplain administers to all persons of all faiths. And going back to what we discussed in lesson #1….Listen to your people….Chaplains are and need to be great listeners.
GO IN PEACE
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Lesson 17 ~ Chaplaincy Studies ~ Accountability ~ Essay
Do you have a mentor? If not, what is your plan to find and establish a mentoring relationship? If you do, write a brief description and the blessings you have received from it. I do not presently have a mentor. However, it would be prudent to have a mentor to be able to discuss situations you may come up with during your stent as a chaplain. Myself, I would prefer to have a military chaplain because of my background. I have had the pleasure to come into contact with several military chaplains during my military service career. I feel these chaplains are the very well equipped to handle mentoring and usually straight forward and mostly very level headed in their decisions making process. Accountability is most important for all clergy. Accountability leads to trust by the people the chaplain ministers to. Without the trust of your followers your credibility is toast.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Lesson 16 ~ Chaplaincy Studies ~ The Soul Friend ~ Essay
Rev. Trent Murman, OSM, OSF
Who in your ministry do you see as a potential soul-friend? Do you have more than one potential soul-friend? Describe in a paragraph or two how you have been or become a soul-friend to this person and how you would like to improve this relationship. Three is only one person that fits this category. He and I work very closely together and although we have not shared any part of our personal lives with each other, I think this would be a definite way to "seal the deal" as a soul friend. We have had many in depth discussions regarding incidents in our ministry's however small. We do think a lot alike and are definitely on the same page as far as the way we handle situations. I feel it would be nice to invite him into my "inner circle". The only way to improve our relationship on to becoming soul-friends would be to enter into a binding friendship, one that is not only unspoken but is unbreakable by bonding. The greatest asset for both of us to have is trust. At any time this trust is broken it would be very difficult to rekindle the bond. In closing it would be a great honor to have him as a soul friend.
Go In Peace
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Lesson 15 ~ Chaplaincy Studies ~ Worship Matters ~ Essay
Using simplicity, describe how you would develop a "sacred space" in a small or medium space and how it would be led? If I were a military chaplain I would create a "sacred space" inside a small to medium military tent on the front lines of the battlefield and in times of peace or truce I would invite the neighboring clergy of minority sects to provide their religious ceremonies to their followers. I feel this would be more respectful to them and their followers than me attempting to provide them with a botched ceremony. I believe this would gather more respect for me from these soldiers male/female by them seeing me go the extra effort to provide them with a proper ceremony of their own. Even on foreign lands, these clergy could be invited to enter the camps to perform these sacred ceremonies. I believe even in foreign lands the religious persons are usually not also involved with the combatant entities of war and being religious people they would be very willing to provide these ceremonies for those of their own faiths. An altar would be constructed by using a foot locker with a simple sheet or blanket over it with a cross on top. It is very easy to construct an altar which is normally used in every form of religious ceremonies. Simple chairs or wooden benches could be used as the pews. Bread, water or juices could be substituted, once consecrated, for the sacraments. On the battlefield the clergy may only have his visitation stole to use for the ceremony, this is however, acceptable because full priests or clergy dress.
Develop a marriage policy as a chaplain. As a chaplain, one does not usually have a set following or congregation, so my policy would be to: meet with the prospective bride and groom at least 2 to 3 times prior to officiating the ceremony. However, in my state premarital counseling is not required. Chaplaincy, I feel is an exception to this. My goal regarding meeting with them would be to see their position or views on the sanctity of marriage and to be sure this is what each of them wanted. It would also be advisable to meet maybe once with each of the parties individually to get their views and thoughts, so there is no pressure on either partner for the marriage. Once I have been satisfied in my own mind then I would either proceed with the ceremony or simply state to them that I did not feel I was the one to marry them. This policy was also discussed in Lesson 14 and my thoughts regarding the marriage policy and the chaplain has not changed.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Suggested resource involving 'appropriate touch' and conduct in general:
My updated list re: appropriate touch:
1. I will never touch anybody without their permission and if ok'd only on the hand or shoulder for greeting/prayer.
2. I will be mindful of your personal space; I will not hover or crowd you.
3. If allowed to anoint your head and pray over you I will lightly touch the crown of your head or your forehead as I pray over you.
4. I will always make sure somebody in charge knows I am there or, if you are in my office, I will make sure that somebody knows you are there. This keeps things 'kosher' so to speak.
5. I will never be unaccompanied when with a child.
6. Most fellas I know are barely 'huggy' with their own kin, much less a stranger. It's a guy thing and I appreciate that.
7. Most ladies are wary of strangers, even of their own gender. It's better to be safe.
For 6/7 a hand pat/squeeze if allowed is usually enough.
8. I promise will use hand sanitizer that is not obnoxious smelling.
9. As a personal rule I only give really close hugs to the closest inner circle of my family (spouse/mom/dad/grandparents/loving aunts/siblings/REALLY close friends). It's just the way I was raised. Church folk get the minimal 'church hug' and only then after we've known each other for a while. It's just how I was raised.
Rev. K Hyler
My policy on appropriate touch:
I approach this not just as a chaplain-in-training, but also as a sensitive as well as a Reiki and Energy Medicine practitioner.
My Reiki/Energy Medicine teacher set forth some fairly standard guidelines during our training.
1. Always introduce yourself first and be as pleasant as possible without being condescending. Try to exude warmth and compassion.
2. Avoid strong smelling hand sanitizers; find more neutral smelling 'natural' sanitizers (available at any health food store).
3. Always ask permission to step into somebody's personal space.
4. Read the person's body language. That will tell you how comfortable they are with you being there.
5. Stick to the hands if they do allow personal contact. You may feel inclined to hug somebody but this is 2012, not the 1960's/1970's. If they do want a hug then keep it 'easy' and friendly, not personal.
6. The general rule is hand or shoulder. You have no business touching anybody any place else; you are not their physician.
7. When praying for somebody ask if they'll allow you to hold their hand or touch their shoulder gently. Press or touch lightly (and warm your hands!). (I've also simply held my hands over them without touching them and that seemed to go over well too.)
8. Know the policy of the places you visit and be aware that what one might deem appropriate another might see as 'sexual misconduct'.
That's it for now -
Rev. K Hyler
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Lesson 14~ Chaplaincy Studies ~ Essay
By: Rev. Trent Murman, OSM, OSF
Develop a list of holidays celebrated by the institution you minister as a chaplain.
Develop a marriage policy as a chaplain. As a chaplain, one does not usually have a set following or congregation, so my policy would be to: meet with the prospected bride and groom at least 2 to 3 times prior to administering the ceremony. However, in the state of Indiana pre-marriage counseling is not required. Chaplaincy, I feel is an acception to this. My goal regarding meeting with them would be to see their position or views on the sanctity of marriage. To be sure this is what each of them wanted. It would also be advisable to meet maybe once with each of the parties individually to get their views and thoughts individually so there is no pressure on either partner for the marriage. Once I have been satisfied in my own mind then I would either proceed with the ceremony or simply state to them that I did not feel I was the one to marry them.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Lesson 13 ~ Traps to Avoid ~ Essay
Rev. Trent Murman, OSM, OSF
Develop a plan of self-awareness and write it out. How will you/do you avoid the traps common to the chaplain ministry? Every person in the professional community has to be clearly mindful of sinister traps which may lay in wait, whether it be in a doctor's office, a school guidance counselor's office, a gym teachers office or within our private office when counseling or discussing matters with not only the opposite sex but now days even the same sex. If there is any reservation in your mind be on the defensive. You never know what evil may be festering in your visitor's mind. In our profession it is very wise to be aware of these situations which may arise. When I visit a female in the hospital, I always have or request a female to accompany me to the patient's room and stay with me until I can get a good feel of the mindset of the person I am visiting and if I am requested to have a private conversation regarding sins, etc. I will ask the employee to remain outside the patient's room, with the door open. This helps to deter any ill thoughts the female patient may have. If I am counseling persons of the opposite sex especially if it is a younger teenager….during the initial phone interview I ask the teen if she would mind a parent or guardian being with us…if she says yes, this should throw up a red flag and immediately put you on your defensive side. You should then ask if she would mind if your administrative secretary or another female of your choice be present (everyone in the churches employment or volunteers are sworn to confidentiality). This also deters ill thoughts. If the meeting/counseling is male to male….usually this doesn't create a problem. However, with the frequency of clergy being falsely accused of misconduct I have instituted that the office door remain open and I assure the visitor everything regarding our meeting will be kept confidential. For new clergy I would suggest that all meetings be "open door" until they feel comfortable with their meetings. It is a must that we as professionals hold ourselves to the highest of moral standings and keep our personal lives personal and professional lives completely professional. Just be careful!!
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Lesson 11 ~ Counseling someone in grief ~ Essay
By: Rev. Trent Murman
I remember one time when the mother of a service man was brought into her place of business' office and was told her son had just been killed while serving his country in the Iraq war. The woman looked stunned and most like catatonic in appearance. Helping her sit down, I sat beside her and gently took her hand in mine, it was cold, I could feel my hands warming up hers as it rested between both of my hands. There was no crying. She said she just couldn't. She spoke of her son who had just graduated high school, he was a star football player she went on, so healthy, so kind to everyone and full of life. Still no tears. She looked at me with sad puppy dog eyes and just asked "WHY?". I simply said to her "I don't know…I just don't know". Then she simply said "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…I fear no evil…my God he comforts me"….then it was like the flood gates opened up. She wept for her son. I just sat beside her she began squeezing my hand harder and harder, I didn't move…I realized she needed this and I was there for her. She then asked me to say a Hail Mary with her…we said three. I have been with a few others in my time and I have learned more than one thing…but I think the most important thing was to be empathetic and not to say "I know how you feel" because most of the time we don't know and everyone tends to grieve in their own way and in their own time. Once again just listening was the greatest tool I could have used.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Lesson 10 ~ The Listener ~ The Healing Touch Essay
By: Rev. Trent
Develop a personal policy on what you believe appropriate touch is.
Policy ~ Appropriate Touch
The office door is to remain open if a female is being counseled. The office staff is sworn to secrecy at the time of employment, meaning if anything is overheard…nothing is to be repeated. The open door is for the protection of the clergy. A holding of hands may appropriate for consoling, a light touch as in prayer may be done. In the case of male or females seeking counseling the minister must evaluate the situation and let his conscience be his guide. Be careful what you may portray as being within your appropriate boundaries…others may perceive as inappropriate touching. Refrain from "hugging".
Usually in these instances there will be other family members present. If the person you are visiting requests a private session with you, once again be careful. You may sit on a chair at the bedside, never on the bed. You may hold the hand. If Absolution, Last Rites or Rites of Passage are to be administered ask one of the family members to come into the room with you. This is appropriate for verification to the rest of the family as being completed. If more than one family member wishes to be present it is okay. However, Absolution and Last Confessions are to remain private between clergy and the person.
You must remain professional, even out of your collar. Handshaking is most appropriate. A slight pat on the shoulder or back as in "well done" may be appropriate. The length of the "touch" must be monitored by that little voice inside that may say "ok now move your hand away". You must be aware not only of your actions but others that may be watching you and what they might perceive as "inappropriate touching".
Touching is a very sensitive area. Remember most guidelines and of course that little voice inside of you is your best monitor. If you are uncomfortable or you feel the person is uncomfortable with your "touch" then STOP or DON'T START.
Monday, October 8, 2012
Lesson 9 ~ The Listener
By: Rev. Trent
Write a short paragraph on what you have learned about active listening skills and its value to your ministry. Listening has always been not only the road to knowledge, but a great way of showing concern to your fellow human being. I remember many times, especially with youngsters/teens when they would stop in just to say hello and wanted to chat the beginning sentence of phrase was usually "…..no one will listen to me". My reply to them would be in a fatherly form….tell me what's on your mind. They would go on about how older brothers or sisters or parents just don't seem to have the time to listen and how they feel unwanted or ignored. I always try to impress on them they are all very much wanted and needed and are very important to everyone. Then I sit and listen. Some just want to say hello and some may really have something bothering them deeply. I try not to show that I may be in a hurry or need to be somewhere (there are no clocks in my office except for a clock on the computer…I do not wear a watch so this doesn't give me the opportunity to keep looking at it. I try to give them, no matter who it is, my undivided attention. I always remember some people are or can be very troubled about something not only teens. I usually have certain times for office hours and I do try to keep to that schedule…including one day out of the week for evening hours, by appointment. I also remind them everything said between us is just that…between us and is sacred. This seems to put everyone who comes to me more at ease. Listening can be the greatest tool and very valuable for future conversations. I also try not to take hand written notes, these can be seen by others and often misunderstood if the whole conversation is not there, because they are only getting bits and pieces. Listening can be and is the most powerful tool we may have.
GO IN PEACE
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Masters of Chaplaincy Studies
Lesson 8 ~ Trust, Confidentiality, and Compassion
By: Rev. Trent Murman
Check the laws in your state concerning what clergy are required to report on and develop a short paragraph. In the state of Indiana like in most states clergy are required to report incidents of known child abuse or if told in confidence that the act may occur. They are also required to report crimes of the heinous nature which are confessed or are told they are or may going to be committed. Also, thoughts of suicide after evaluation by the clergy deem it an eminent act.
Write a short paragraph on recent action of compassion in your ministry to another. Recently I had the honor of helping an elderly lady deal with the pending eminent demise of her husband. Her immediate family (children) were all from out-of-the-state and she needed help getting her husband to and from doctor's appointments. I assisted in arranging travel help within the community and when they were not available I helped her myself, so the husband could get his comfort needing treatments prior to his demise. This is our work and I feel we should not embellish on it or seek praise. It should be an honor to help others when in need.
ULC Seminary Chaplaincy Course – KaZ Akers
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Lesson 7 – The Chapel – Where One Ministers ~ Part 4
Business and Community. ~ Essay
By: Rev Trent Murman
If you know a chaplain at work, with sports, at a college, or in the community, take time to interview them and find out more of their ministry.
My chaplain friend has a very interesting ministry, not only his service to the US Navy and Marine Corps but also in the nonmilitary community which he is involved in now. Many aspects like in the military are very challenging and most rewarding in his everyday dealings with clients. He counsels a boys and girls league mostly of teens regarding difficulty with their parents or guardians, which brings up the confidentiality aspect these kids have with him and having their trust in him that they may come and talk with him about anything means a great deal to them and himself. Interestingly enough he has found out over the years that if he does not wear his "collar" the teens seem to approach him more freely and tend not to see him as a parental/adult figure and are more likely to open up with their problems and concerns. I will not reiterate the other aspects of his ministry that I have already talked about in the previous lessons, they are there in the previous lesson essays.
Look for a place in your community that could use a chaplain. Develop a plan that you might implement if you feel called to begin a chaplaincy ministry there.
1. Mission statement: I solemnly promise to live my life in service of humanity. I will, to the best of my ability, uphold and promote the honor and dignity of my profession. I will strive to conduct myself so that I may merit the respect and confidence of my colleagues and hereby agree to these standards of the Chaplains Fellowship of Nigeria. I will accept my civic as will as Christian responsibility to practice the charity I owe those I come in contact with. I will make Honesty my goal in service, in counseling and in seeking knowledge through diligent effective prayer. These things I pledge to do, freely and upon my honor to the glory of Almighty God. I understand that my preparation for Chaplaincy work requires my personal commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and separation from sin. I further realized that sins such as stealing, lying, gossiping, backbiting, profane language, drunkenness, sexual immorality, occult practices, cheating and attitude such as pride, lust, bitterness, harmful discrimination, jealous and unforgiving spirit which are to be avoided. SO HELP ME GOD. The Chaplain's Pledge.
2. Marketing Plan ~ groups we plan to target ~ persons of all ages
3. Operations ~ expectations for growth or congregation ~ no one shall be excluded from the ministry
4. Capital Requirements ~ staff will be by volunteers only
5. Who is the sole representative of this venture ~ The Chaplain, all volunteers would work under him
6. Expectations over the next 12 months ~ all persons are welcome, no pressure will be used to gain in number of followers or participants
7. Short background of the sole representative ~ The Chaplain shall meet and maintain the requirements of all chaplains.
8. Expansion expectations ~ growth in followers will be as the community reaches out to the religious community.
9. Will there be a physical chapel or only onsite ministry? ~ As the followers increase in numbers there may be a need for a physical location. Funds for this location would be raised from within the community because these are the persons who would be using the facility.
10. Non-profit or for profit endeavor ~ This endeavor would continue to be a non-profit organization to spread the work and word of God to everyone.
11. Expected competition ~ Our competition might be from religious after school sanctioned programs, the daycare facilities and community park run programs, not limited to these institutions.
12. Reputation ~ A good reputation will be maintained in alliance with The Chaplain's Pledge.
13. SWOT ~ Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats? ~ SWOT would be determined during the first 12 months and specific areas will be targeted for improvement after that time period.