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

Lesson for ULC Discussion Board - Chaplaincy Lesson 3

Thank you for posting my lessons. this is lesson 3 for the Chaplaincy
Lesson 3.  A self-evaluation of present skills and abilities reveals strengths in listening, observation, and healing. Other strengths are the qualification of the call, faithful, have good character, and good testimony. I have strength in teaching as I have completed courses in teaching and teach crafts including crotchet lessons. I think the sound in doctrine is adequate but has room for improvement.
A weakness is trying to suggest opinions and solutions when talking with a person. I must wait and try to merely help the person to find an answer themselves. I will seek to improve my patience and not to be hasty in attempting to help someone.
I will seek to improve my doctrine soundness. There is always more to learn.
A chaplain of pastoral services job description shows that the chaplain will report to the Director of Pastoral Services with accountability to the team facilitator and team, assist with faith issues in the healing process and provide crisis intervention, and visit with patients, families and staff making spiritual assessments.
A Master of Divinity Degree, Master of Arts in Religion or Master of Pastoral Counseling is required. A certification by the Association of Professional Chaplains or National Association of Catholic Chaplains, or certification eligibility and must obtain certification within two year.
Regards, D

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Universal Life Church Chaplaincy Course Lesson 2

Thank you, Rev. Dorothy
Lesson 2
1. Describe someone you know who has the Divine Mark. What set them apart?  Has anyone observed the mark in you? Write down what they have said. Consider your calling. Describe it in a paragraph or two.
I met a minister for the Church of God who has a divine mark. I met him many years ago and was drawn to him. He was unassuming in a crowd, yet I went up to him and said hello. He merely smiled and said he noticed me also. Later during a conversation he said he saw the divine mark in me. At the time, I told him that I was not special and could never do what he does.  He merely smiled and said when I was ready, I would know. However, whenever I would contact him he would bring up the topic. I was young and embarrassed that I was not able to do as he requested.
I have had a strong urge to help since a young age. People and animals would be drawn to me and I to them. I wanted to be a nun as a child; however, I never considered a calling as such, as I always thought I was unworthy. It is impossible to ignore the tiny voice that directs my life. As I review my life I find that my actions and careers are all in the assistance fields. As a child, I was a lifeguard and playground coordinator. As an adult, I have been an emergency medical technician, worked in a hospital, and now work for the American Red Cross as a phlebotomist technician and disaster relief responder. I became a Master of Reiki and ordained in November 1999.

Lesson 6 ~ Chaplaincy Studies ~ Where One Ministers ~ Part 3

Chaplaincy Studies

Lesson 6 – The Chapel – Where One Ministers:

Police Departments, Prisons, Fire Departments – Part III

By:  Rev. Trent Murman


If you know a chaplain in a police department, fire department, prison, or part of an emergency response team, interview them and discover what their chaplaincy is like.


Once again I had the pleasure of chatting with a chaplain assigned to the Emergency Services of the city which did include the Police Department, Jail House, Fire and Rescue.  He stated there are times when he has been required to work with these different agencies in his official capacity. 


In the jail house he has been called to meet with both men and women learning to cope with being incarcerated and being away from their families and loved ones.  The most sad was those mothers of young children being incarcerated, remembering their children are suffering also from not being with their mothers.  Or the young teenagers being thrust into the general population of the older more seasoned male inmates, because they barely know what life is all about, but since they have committed this crime, they have now put themselves in this situation.  But, he also reminded me that a chaplain is there to listen to the inmates regarding their concerns and must not get emotionally or personally involved. 

While working with the Police Department he has been required to attend suicides and other acts of violence.  Tragically when this happens the chaplain ministers not only to the victims, but their immediately families and may be called upon to help with crisis care for the police officers themselves to cope with the tragedy they have just witnessed.  

He doesn't get called out much with the Fire and Rescue teams, but has occasionally been called for assistance in motor vehicle fatalities where part of his duty was to go with the State Police officers or local police to notify the next of kin of a death.  This he remembers was very stressful and as a chaplain you need to silently evaluate the family's need for your services and know when they should be referred to other counseling agencies either because of non-believers in faith or the stress of the incident was too much for them to handle and they needed more than immediate counseling.

The chaplain stated to me he feels he does play an intricate part in Emergency Services and he feels he has always been accepted by the victim's families and members of the emergency teams.  In fact there have been some situations that when he arrived on scene it did have a profound calming affect on everyone involved just seeing and knowing he was there to assist, guide and just plain listen.  Which we as ministers we are primarily taught and sometimes that is all people want….just someone to listen.

Go In Peace

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chaplaincy Studies ~ Lesson 5 The Interview

Chaplaincy Studies

Lesson 5 – The Chapel – Where One Ministers:

                  Hospitals, Hospice, Nursing Homes – Part II

                  The Interview

By: Rev. Trent Murman


I had the pleasure of interviewing a chaplain, who has been in the ministry for over 30 years, during this interview there were many topics we discussed.  His journey, as he called it, began after his college days he joined the chaplaincy program as he got "the calling".  He continued on to minister in the military for 20 years and was assigned to duties which included an aircraft carrier, destroyer and ultimately his last ten years with  the USMC.  He being of the Presbyterian faith worked alongside all denominations of chaplains.  Many friendships were formed and he says some still remain today.  Once leaving the military he decided he still didn't want a congregation of his own.  He was still "hooked" on serving many different persons all around the world.  He states his "calling" was to be "on the road" as he puts it.  Not being married this type of ministering seems to fit him well and his lifestyle.  More recently he has been attached with the VA Hospitals in the area and is also involved with the Wounded Warriors Program.  He is so thankful for this opportunity to minister in this way.