Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Completion of Master of Chaplaincy

What Did I Learn?

I learned where one ministers, such as in businesses and in the community, schools, colleges, and that some large employers have begun to find value in having access to a chaplain.  Even tobacco companies that murder thousands of people a year with their disgusting products hire chaplains.  In-house chaplains may have less efficacy because of their perceived connection to the employer.

I learned that successful business chaplaincy will include: confidentiality; regular visits; prompt return of all calls; not to take money in most capacities, and that prayer is a priority. 

The need for chaplains from a variety of backgrounds and those with ecumenical ministry experience is great. In almost every arena a chaplain will provide spiritual counsel as needed; leading worship services; coordinating services for those of other faith groups; leading/coordinating studies related to faith; providing information to people on the local services, housing, and other support systems; providing counsel on religious matters to the people and participating in important ceremonies to include prayers.

A good chaplain will have experience in grief/counseling or seek to obtain that experience.

Ministering to children and teens includes presence and counsel. One key principle is found in the New Testament taught by Jesus Christ: "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20, NKJV). The location or building is not as important as the people gathered in the presence of God.

As a listener described in lesson 9, I use NLP and hypnotherapy techniques to counsel individuals. 

I learned in lesson 10 about healing touch and the importance of touch in therapy, in worship, in life.  It should also be remembered that there are modern health and cultural considerations to touching people. Sometimes the best thing is for the chaplain to say, "I'm Chaplain Jane Doe. How can I help you?" Chaplains represent the Divine to people. It is often in prayer that our greatest comfort can be extended and Anointing Prayer is often the most comfortable.  It is not a bad idea to carry a small bottle of anointing oil and know that God is the source of healing.

In lesson 11 I learned that chaplains in many settings often face the task of comforting those in grief and I need to be prepared to deal with grief.  People need someone with a strong emotional, mental, and spiritual foundation to come along and give assurance that God is there.  Grief is simply the normal human emotional response to loss. It is not easy to grieve.   Our role as ministers is to help people to go through the process of grief in a healthy way.

My attitude and belief about death and loss are vital as they will come across to the person I am ministering to and confidence in God must come alongside the comfort we offer to those suffering in grief. (as an atheist…I will develop how to deal with this concept over time.)  In lesson 12 I learned about counseling for the troubled.   I apply hypnotherapy, NLP and other processes in my counseling for the troubled already.   I learned about thinking, feeling then acting and teaching people new skills.  In lesson 13 I learned about traps to avoid about myself, my limitations, and others.  In lesson 14 I learned about different ceremonies and the importance of establishing beliefs and criteria with respect to those ceremonies. In less 15 I learned that worship matters; – a time when God and people come together.  My job is to be able to assist with worship. It is my job to create a sacred space, to remove barriers to worship.

In lesson 16 learned about a "soul friend" and that as a chaplain I can be a soul friend for someone who needs one.  "It is the Divine Spirit of God working through your life. As mentioned in an earlier lesson, there is a mark upon those called to the ministry."   While I do not necessarily I am divining rod of the Divine…I believe that my appreciation of someone's faith and desire to improve their faith is helpful to them.  In lesson 17 I learned about accountability.   As a former lawyer and now minister/hypnotherapist, I completely accept the need to be accountable in all areas, to me, my family, a mentor, organizations, etc. including God if I were to so believe in him.  In lesson 18 I learned about burn-out.  I burned out as a lawyer…I have learned not to burn out as a hypnotherapist/NLP practitioner.  In chapter 19, I learned about the Chaplains' toolbox.   I have already started gathering information, supplies, necessities to minister to those who need a minister.   Again, I am an atheist, but I also hold a degree in Jewish Studies, know Hebrew, have been to the holy sites of Israel.   I have worked with others' religion and supported their religious beliefs.

What Helped Me

What helped me was the simplicity of the course material.  Being a minister really is simple in terms of what is necessary.  I think having people skills is the most important thing and that's what this program demonstrated.  Being present with people is simple.   A willingness to lend a hand is simple.   Following simple guidelines is important.   Again, what helped me was the simplicity of this course.  It is like a checklist of what I need to do.  

What I hope I will accomplish as a result of taking this course.

I hope to receive a certificate toward becoming a chaplain.    I want to help people and make a living do it.  I have been a lawyer, a soldier, a first aid provider, hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner.  I have always been in the helping business.    I want to let people know that I take their religious beliefs seriously and that I can help them strengthen their faith if their faith will help them heal.  While I may be an atheist, I know that religion gives people strength.   I am more educated in religion that most religious people I know, so I can teach it even if I am not a firm believer.

Please confirm you received this email.

Thank you.

Christopher Bartow

No comments: