Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chaplaincy Studies ~ Final Essay by Rev. Murman

Lesson 20 ~ Chaplaincy Studies ~ Final Essay
By:  Rev. Trent Murman, OSM, OSF
This Chaplaincy Study Program has opened my eyes to many facets of ministry which I and probably most of us would not have had the pleasure of contemplating or researching.  In the beginning I was a bit skeptical about pursuing the course.  However, Rev. Amy Long inspired me to continue with it by her words of wisdom that "you can do it" attitude.  I thank her for that inspiration.  I have a fresh conception of the role of the chaplain within the community.  There are many community members that may not have the resources or means to seek out a religious avenue.  In my understanding the role of the chaplain is to seek these people out and not change their ways of worship or beliefs, but to guide them, listen to them and provide the comforting ear which so many of them may need. 
I have been helping people for the past 40 years which started when I was nineteen and had just joined the military.  This part of my life's journey was and is so much a part of my daily life to have the privilege of serving these fine men and women that continuously put themselves in harms way for all us so we may continue to live in the secure nation know and love today.  I think it is imperative that all ministers develop their own style of conducting their ministry, but never lose sight of one of our greatest assets is to learn and develop the fine art of listening.  It is most important to remember sometimes all some individuals want is just someone to use as a sounding board and this is okay.  Granted we are not doctors nor psychiatrists, but we do and should have a good understand of compassion and the will to help/listen to our fellow man, from the small child to the elderly, everyone is most important not only in His eyes but in our own eyes.  Keeping in mind that we and our fellow ministers are not "all knowing" it is not only good networking technique but a continued learning process by keeping in touch with our fellow clergy.  I have learned that much can be accomplished by drawing from others and them drawing from you own life experiences.  Our ministry can be situated in many different places. We are not confined to a physical location such as a church, synagogue or other building, but can actually be anywhere in our travels.  It is also interesting to know that His work is not a passing entity in the night.  I have discovered that there seems to be a new younger generation growing up closer to God.  It is so heartwarming to know that these youngsters and future leaders of this great nation are leaning towards the helping hand of God and are willing to carry out His work.  We need to remember a ministry is not limited to a physical location, but all ministers can and I feel are obligated to spread the word of God whenever called upon, whether it be in a parking lot, at an accident scene, nursing home, private home or traveling from state to state.  I feel it is our duty to help where it is needed and when it is needed.  We don't hang up our collars at 5 pm.  A huge part of our responsibilities is to counsel those who are grieving.  This is not limited to the dying patient, but many times extends outward to the family members.  Unfortunately, many of our elderly and those afflicted with terminal disease may be left in nursing homes.  These places can be very depressing and family members tend to think "well the nursing staff is there, they will be okay".  This is not always true.   It is true the nursing staff is there to attend to their physical needs, but it is not always enough.  These patients need the comfort only family members can provide.  Wen chaplains visit the sick or dying it is best to allow themselves to show compassion, sincerity and even emotion.  We are not cold bricks of ice just going through the motions.  We are obligated to help all persons of all faiths.  Anointing of the sick is accepted in most faiths and I feel no other clergy member would mind if you tended to their people/followers in their gravest time of need.  It is my sole belief that no man, woman or child should pass from this earth to the next part of their journey alone.  I know He would not want this and we being an instrument of Him need to comfort and help whenever possible.  When performing ceremonies, be sure to research out the clients.  Making sure this is what both parties want.  No one should enter into a religious contract unfaithfully.  Ceremonies are legally binding, not only in the eyes of the law, but in His eyes also.  This reaches the part of our ministries known as accountability.  All clergy of all faiths are and should be held accountable for everything they do and accomplish in His name sake. 
I continued to learn, as everyone should, about different faiths, the positions many clergy take and the responsibility of being prepared for anything i.e., accidents while traveling and performing anointing's and rites at the scene of a disaster.  There is a saying I have modified to fit my duties….If when in turmoil, you can keep your head when everyone else is losing theirs God has blessed you and will guide you to do what is right.  (Which is the motto of our seminary)  In my humble opinion:  I found this Chaplaincy Course very well thought out and presented.  This course should not be taken lightly.  However, an ecclesiastical endorsement when the course is completed would be of great advantage.  I believe most Chaplain courses that I have researched offer this to those who complete the course.  As I am sure most people who know me are aware my main goal in taking this Chaplaincy course is to further work with our armed forces vets.  My military service was a great teaching experience and learning experience of my younger years.  I continue to have the utmost respect for our men and women who have and are currently serving in the military.  Many times I have often bought lunches or dinners for a group of soldiers I may see in a restaurant without them knowing it was me who paid for their meal.  It is an honor to see their faces light up when the waitress/waiter tells them "your meal has been paid for".  I also make it a practice to thank them for their service to our country no matter where I see them, i.e., grocery store, shopping center, airport or dining place.  I think it is important they feel loved and we should be honored to be in their presence.  I also feel my personal motto:  No man/woman should die alone.  Everyone should be comforted during this passage, if nothing more than to just be there, gently hold their hand, softly talk with them, even if they can't respond to our voices.  I believe the hearing is the last to leave our physical body and a soothing voice may help them cross over to their Fathers house.   May the Peace of the Lord be with you and everyone in their ministry no matter how big or small it may be.  GO IN PEACE

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chaplaincy Studies Lesson 19

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.
Go In Peace

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lesson 18 ~ Chaplaincy Studies

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. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chaplaincy Studies

Lesson 17 ~ Chaplaincy Studies ~ Accountability ~ Essay

Rev. Trent Murman, OSM, OSF

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. 

Go In Peace

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chaplaincy Studies

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

Chaplaincy Studies

Lesson 15 ~ Chaplaincy Studies ~ Worship Matters ~ Essay

By:  Rev. Trent Murman, OSM, OSF

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.

Go In Peace

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

Master/Chaplaincy Lesson 10

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

Chaplaincy Studies

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.





Veteran's Day

Ash Wednesday

Good Friday

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. 

Go In Peace

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lesson 13 ~ Chaplaincy Course ~ Traps to Avoid

Chaplaincy Studies

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!!

Go In Peace

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chaplaincy Studies lesson 17

1. One of the ways that I am held accountable in ministry is by my spouse. She makes sure that I do what I'm supposed to do.
2. At this point I don't have a mentor, however I had thought about asking the pastor at our church if he'd been willing to be a mentor to someone like me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lesson 11 ~ Counseling someone in grief

Chaplaincy Studies

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. 

Go In Peace

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lesson 10 ~ Chaplaincy Studies

Chaplaincy Studies

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


Office Visitations

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".

Hospital/Home Visitations

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. 

Social Gatherings

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.

Go In Peace

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chaplaincy Studies

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 "… 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.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lesson 8 ~ Chaplaincy Studies ~

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.   

Go In Peace

Master of Chaplaincy Studies by Rev. Akers


ULC Seminary Chaplaincy Course – KaZ Akers

What It Means to Be a Chaplain
In the last year it has become very evident to me what it means to be a chaplain, especially in the hospital setting.
I had to rush a dear friend by ambulance because the blood thinning medication he was taking had thinned his blood to such an extent that he was bleeding out through his skin.
When I found him at home, he was nearly unconscious and had fallen in his bathroom   He couldn't focus and struggled to fight what was happening to him.
At that very moment it seemed like the world slowed down.  I was extremely calm and knew exactly what to do.  While keeping him quiet, I called 911 and spoke to them making sure they knew his vitals and exactly where he was located.   I gathered together all his medicines and clothes, and his cell phone then called his out-of-town family.  Everything was effortless.  I was guided moment by moment by God.  I knew exactly what to do and when to do it. I knew exactly what to say and how to say it. 
Once the paramedics arrived I answered their questions while they worked on my friend.  There was no anxiety, and no panic. I knew he was divinely protected.  I followed the ambulance to the hospital got him admitted to surgery then went about the task of informing his pastor and his friends. 
I visited him almost every day in intensive care.  Critically ill people surrounded him in the ward.  I would enter the ward with a kind of reverence I never knew.  Honoring each person and where they were in their life journey.  Honoring the families in their suffering and worry.  Knowing that I had the ability to be there for them and be strong and supportive.
Of course, I was worried about my friend, but not once did I feel like crying.  I surprised myself that I stayed very present.  I KNEW there was a Divine process occurring.  Something completely out of anyone's control.
In the ICU I was comfortable and knew I belonged there.  My conversations with my friend's doctors and nurses were comforting for my friend. I could be there for him in a loving, supportive way and also be there for him when he needed me as a liaison to the medical staff - expressing his needs and desires when he could not. 
When he needed prayer, I was there.  When he needed a drink of water, I was there.  When he needed a joke or a story or someone to read his email, I was there.    For three weeks I held a type of vigil for my friend.  And made sure each time I stepped in to the hospital that I had a smile, a kind word and a positive outlook for anyone whom I encountered.
I stayed available sometimes in an obvious way and sometimes in a very neutral way.  It all ebbed and flowed depending on the day, the situation, the people around and my friend's health status. 
If I could express it as a freeing feeling to be available to ANYONE there for his or her spiritual unfoldment, that may be the most accurate description I can impart to anyone.
Being in a chaplaincy position is to release the ego and be a conduit for the ailing and their families to access their Divine connection and be at peace in their Divine journey. To know when to step forward and when to step back and to anticipate the needs of the patient and the family at the right time, in the right way.  To remain in the background as a touchstone when necessary, all the while being there the moment you are called upon to serve.
On an even more personal note, my father has been in and out of UCLA Medical Center for two brain surgery procedures.  Of course, this has been extremely stressful for him and for my mother and my sister.  It became very obvious to me what my role needed to be in this scenario.  I needed to be at peace at all times.  I needed for nothing to be too much to ask and for me to be the voice of reason when family members could not.  I ascertained when I needed to speak up either to the medical staff or my family and when I needed to be still. 
First and foremost, I needed to be available to my father without a single thought for myself.  That came easily and effortlessly.  It was a revelation. I transcended myself and put myself in a position of complete service. 
The Medical Center has a beautiful interdenominational chapel and I would go down at least once and day and pray and meditate.  At one point my father asked me where I was going and I told him that I was going to the chapel.  "Are you going to pray for me?"  He asked.  "If you want me to, I will."  "Yes, I need all the help I can get." 
So even in that way, not being in his room or in his presence, he called upon me to help him.    And THAT is one of the most profound things about chaplaincy.  Whether you are in a patient's presence or not, they feel your support.  They know you are a loving, caring component in their recovery, convalescence, or transition.
Knowing when to be present and when to make your presence known even if it is simply at a distance is the delicate but very vital calling for a chaplain. 
The relief I see in patient's eyes when someone is there supporting them, is a gift and a blessings. 
When you stand in the knowledge that you are being of ultimate service to people by supporting their spiritual needs is sometimes all that is needed.
It has shown me that I have a strength I never really knew I had.  And that God is with me at all times showing me the way.  Filling me with peace and that peace I can pass on whenever it is needed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lesson 7 ~ The Chapel ~ Where One Ministers ~ Part 4

Chaplaincy Studies

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.

14.  Target Group that might benefit from Chaplain services may be in conjunction with Parks and Recreation programs which may also be the biggest competition.  
Go In Peace