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.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Master of Chaplaincy Studies by Rev. Osborne

     When I started this course I was trying to get my four Chaplain units to apply for a job.  My interest was to get it done as fast as possible.  Then after a couple of weeks they decided that my units thru you were not enough to qualify me for the job.  They needed like you described " many employers of chaplains will also require candidates for chaplaincy to undergo specialized training called Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). I was very disappointed that these units could not be counted for this as far as they were concerned.   I rattled some people and found that there were many others that were applying for the same job that had certificates from you or similar schools.  After not finding the right person, they were looking into trying to rewrite the description for their applications to include you or similar school certificates.  But it would not help my application at this time.  It took me some time to come to terms with what had happened and how it is to play out in my life. 
     The first few classes came two a week and then slowed down to once a week for the term of the class.  I am very glad that my non responsiveness did not stop the classes coming.  I found that I was enjoying them and learning a lot about being a Chaplain.   During the time that they were looking for the right person for the job I was able to volunteer as the volunteer Chaplain for three months.  I had not been looking for a job at the time and was not aware of all the qualifications that were required.  I learned a lot about looking for qualifications and knowing my community and all the places a person could volunteer or possibly find a job.  There are many ways that I can give, Hospice is only one. 
            I learned during my three months volunteering for Hospice that I could see many people during a day and make a difference.  Some days I would start at 8 am and work until 6 or 7 pm.  I loved the way people would relax, you could see their shoulders drop a little.  Being a vessel for God's love and caring … A hug or handshake or hand on their back or arm was amazing.  All the classes that talked about active listening were useful to remind me to stop with each person and really listen to them and not get caught up in having to see everyone that was on my list to be seen.  Treating each person or client as the only one was a mantra that I said in my head before I entered their home or room.  I take three deep breaths to center and ground myself and clear my space to be able to enter with no baggage from my day or the last client.  I ask God to be with me and to give me the questions and actions that this individual or family needed at this time.
            Being a Chaplain is a privilege and earning peoples trust is very precious.  I take it very seriously and honor the information that is given and shared with me.  Taking the classes confirmed a lot of things that I already have been doing with respect to privacy and confidentiality.  Learning some of the details of when I could or should share or inform other people was very helpful and more informative than what I have had in the past classes that I have taken. 
            I had not had to think about setting limitations or boundaries in the past but am glad about reading Lesson thirteen on "Avoiding Traps".  I let an older gentleman hug a little longer than was really comfortable, but he was very glad for the human touch.  He had lost his wife six months earlier and had not had anyone touch him other than a handshake for so long that it bought tears to his eyes after we hugged.  But when I left that day after a very good visit when we said goodbye he hugged me, which was fine, but then he kissed me on the lips.  It was very quick and it took me by surprise.  After that I have been very conscious of not letting it happen again.  He has not tried again but I am very aware of not giving him the aura that it is ok.
     The "Accountability" Lesson Seventeen, is something that I have had to work on.  My husband works long haul and is out of town during the week.    This makes it so my days and evenings are open.  That did make it so I was seeing people until six or even seven pm at night.  I began to feel a little used in the situation of being a volunteer and having a long list of people that needed to be seen each week.  Also that I could not do the job and be paid for my time but I was good enough to volunteer and do the job.  I prayed about this and was lead to do my job to the best of my ability and to do it in a reasonable timing.  The results were that the person that was hired was held to higher standards than the past Chaplain due to my handling of the position during the time that I was doing it. 
     I am working on what I want to do within Hospice or within another framework.  I may do some time with the new Chaplain that took the job I was volunteering for and shadow her for awhile, while I am looking into other positions in my area or if I want to work more one on one in a soul counseling position in my own business.  This class work has really helped me to look at myself and the position of Chaplain.  I am a Minister and have done births, marriages, funerals.  I have counseled individuals, families or even work partnerships.  What I do know is that helping others and spreading Gods Love is something that I can not turn off.  It is part of who I am and I don't have to make someone convert but maybe just think about them not being alone. 

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