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Serving Chaplains. Serving People.

Chaplains are special people. They step into our lives when we need hope the most. They are invited to attend to our losses, disappointments, struggles, fears, doubts, and concerns at the most fragile moments of our lives. But who tends to them? Who serves chaplains, pastors, and frontline service providers?

I am grateful for my experience and training in theological education at Southwestern Seminary. Part of my work at the masters level included an elective for six graduate hours in clinical pastoral education at the VA Hospital in Dallas. I thought I knew how to serve as a pastor in these delicate moments of life until I entered the CPE program at the VA Hospital. I was not aware of my own issues that would have blocked the path toward being present with people who needed my help in pastoral conversations. I am forever grateful to my supervisor, Keith Etheridge, and to the director of pastoral care, Dr. Jenny Cook, as well as my peers in our cohort of four. I spent a year in the hospital in an extended unit. What an amazing experience! I was called upon to present devotionals, visit patients, attend to families in crises, and some facing the death of a loved one, all U.S. veterans. This was both an honor and an education for me. I learned so much about myself and at the end of the unit, I wondered why this training was not required for all candidates entering pastoral ministry. Dr. Gerald Marsh was my professor for pastoral care at Southwestern. He was an outstanding teacher and mentor.

Naturally, I have a tender place in my heart for chaplains. I understand them and I want to serve them. Buckner Retirement Services Inc. provides a chaplain for each of Buckner’s six senior living communities in San Angelo, Dallas, Longview, Beaumont, Houston, and Austin. I’ve invited our chaplains to spend a day with me in Dallas for a retreat called “Serving Chaplains. Serving People” during Holy Week on April 4, 2023. I have invited Dr. Irene Gallegos, director of care and hunger ministry at the Baptist General Convention of Texas to speak on Vicarious Resilience; Dr. Bryan Crittendon, a retired Navy chaplain to speak on “Recovery from Relational Trauma;” and Dr. Thom Wolf, a global educational entrepreneur and cultural anthropologist to speak on “The Global Conversation in Texas.” Click here to participate in this online webinar. The cost is $10 for online participants or $40 for those who wish to gain CEU credit through this webinar. This learning opportunity is open to chaplains, pastors, and frontline service providers in faith-based settings.

We are pleased to collaborate with Dr. Gene Wilkes, president of the B.H. Carroll Theological Seminary the Marsh Center for chaplain studies to deliver this retreat experience. I hope you will join us for this encouraging time of learning, training, and conversation.

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