Why People Become Ordained

Here are some stories about why people became ordained through the Universal Life Church and have trained through our online seminary. They readily share their stories and knowledge to help you add to yours.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chaplaincy Studies


I have completed Rev. Daniel Moore's course on the Master of the Chaplaincy Studies.  As is required for certificate, this is my submission of the essay of the course and it's meaning to me.  The role of the chaplain comes down to the basic tenants that offer, in essence, an objective friend to those in need.  'Those in need', is a comment that one must consider as a chaplain.  Who are they and why do we think the may need a chaplain.  Is it brash self-centeredness for us to assume we can fill the role for those in need?  As one determines the role of the chaplaincy in progressing through this course, it is my opinion that it is in essence, a role of friendship and an open being for those who have the need.  This need is the need to commune with some sort of figure who can provide some connection to the things that may be happening in one's life at some point in time.

It is also not only an individualistic need of someone else, but a collective need of participants, groups, or families depending on situations.  Whether it be a religious mentor at a time of grief or of one who is to assume duties of a multitude of tasks in blessing, the chaplain is the one who acts as the connections to the spirit and needs of those of which they serve.  It may be an organized grouping or a visit to hospital, family or any number of a wide variety of issues.  The chaplain is the connection to the spirit for those of the need.  In time of disaster or family grieving, as well as,  in time of blessing for good intentions, the chaplain serves the function of the mediator of connection. 

A chaplain must be open and flexible and immediately able to adapt to the constituents of his duties.  As I moved through each lesson, it became so apparent of the value of this position in the culture of society and religion.  There are many who may have no religion or religious preference, but they all may have need for the soothing voice of an independent being who can be their for them to provide the inner and outer faith that one must be prepared for.  The chaplain may have to improvise to the moment.  They may have to give of themselves so that others may obtain peace and serenity.  It seems the chaplain is the crucial link in connecting for someone or groupings no matter the size of such, nor the religious preference.  One must be able to adapt.  As I conducted my reading I felt that manner in which one must give and the means in which they must make change on the spur of the moment.  If one lays dying and a chaplain is alone with them, all of the sudden family comes in grieving and going into a flurry of emotions, it is the chaplain that must step up, or even back away.  A chaplain can sit outside a room and privately in their inner thoughts and prayers still give blessing in the worst of situations. 

Now there is much one can say of the duties and as the Rev. Moore describes so well, one must be prepared and one must as take care of their own being to be able to minister to others.  They provide trick of the trade, so to speak, on how to be prepared and how to deal with conditions that one may be called upon to deal with.  It could be in a hospital, a prison, a field or any other type of setting.  Yet one will ask if prayer is desired and follow such directions. 

During the course of this study, I had personal experience with a chaplain while undergoing a very high-risk surgery.  I was fortunate that where I worked there was a reverend friend who new of my upcoming issue.  He new of my fears of cancer and of the risks of survival.  The morning of my surgery at 6:00 a.m., as my wife sat with me, out from behind the curtain, came my pal and friend and even mentor.  With him was his prayer book, an abbreviated bible, he always carries.  As I lay in fear and such we talked and I thanked him for being there.  Now he did not have to go out of his way to see me, but he chose to do so.  As we spoke and his calmness, strength and belief came forward, he provided comfort to me in his words and our genial chatter; and, as it came near to my operation, he asked if we could pray or if I was so inclined to consider.  Well of course I was ready and he opened his book and frankly I cannot remember even which verses he read to me.  He had selected ones that were pertaining to the area of my surgery and the verses were like a calm that came over me.  He held my hand and proceeded to give me and my wife the comfort I needed to go into the procedure. 

Well as luck will have it, I made it through as is obvious by this essay, but as I think back at what he did and his sacrifice to be with me and his holding my  hand and comforting words to my wife, were amazing.  I felt like I was in the hand of God and his spirit was with me as I was wheeled into the room.  And hours later that evening there was a call to us, from him giving us encouragement and asking of our needs and what he could do.  My response was you have given me the gift of your friendship and of God's spirit to watch over me.  I will forever keep that experience in my mind in relation to what the role of the chaplain is.  I experienced what I was in the midst of studying in the finest of moments and settings that one could ever hope for.  I not only felt comfort from his actions, but now a week after and after reading my lessons for the past few days to catch up, it is so very obvious to me what the good Rev. Moore is saying and what may pal showed me.

I was on this side of receiving such goodness and faith and it provides one with the example of what it is to have such a person there for one's needs.  As I progressed in the course and this last week of recovery, I had a sense of completeness and felt that I too could be able to know what it was like to have such a person be there.  I had past conversations with hospital chaplains because of family illnesses, and they were meaningful.  However my experience of being the one in the bed and having the service of one who I am trying to be, was nothing short of a miracle of coincidence.  And yet, there seems to be a fate of connection that I have benefited from during this course.  I cannot understand why this happened when it did.  But, I am thankful that the actual course occurred to me and I was party to the teachings and receipt of what was placed on the table to me by this course.

So in conclusion, I hope that I have gained the insight of the course and I have experienced it first hand as a benefit of life and I hold dear the lessons within.  As I review what I have read, it becomes so evident of the role and need for the chaplain to go forth.  And, I am blessed with actual experience to understand what the role truly can be.  I hope it will make me better in my directions in the future to accomplish the same type of benefit to others.

 Now as asked, how can this course be improved, I am not sure.  Personally, I think it met my needs and showed me how one must be ready to do the commitment of the position if so gifted to receive such commission to do so.  Being of a non-affiliated religious direction, it is more difficult to make the inroads to be considered for such a position.  And yet, in everyday life it is something I do each and everyday, via an email or phone call or contact.  I find that I use this training now in most situations as I recognize them happening and that my non-affiliation, still allows me to act in the capacity of helping to fill the needs of others.

So, basically this is my submission.  I have no negative critique.  I think the course was one of almost a feeling of pleasantry in how it comes across and it is one where others who may take it, should feel the content flow in a positive manner.  I am glad I had this opportunity to learn from it. It is provided in a manner that gives the feel of a chaplain writing it and for that, I think it is very positive and serves well to all who may take it.

Sincerely ,

Reverend Adam Rocke


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