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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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Master of Chaplaincy Training Essay


                  Master of Chaplaincy Training study course
By: Rev. Dr. Charles P Mulvaney DD. PhD.'s
How the course on Master of Chaplaincy with twenty lessons enhanced my knowledge and ministry. What did I learn from this course of twenty lessons? What helped me? What could improve this course? What I hope to accomplish as a result of taking this course?

This course taught me that there are various approaches to use when dealing with people of all cultures and religious beliefs. As I approach an individual I need to observe their entire behavior, body language, tone of voice, posture, energy level and their mood. This course has motivated me and given me more tools to work with in these modern days we are living.

This course opened my eyes more and helped me to see the much need for Chaplains in this world in which we live in today. It has given me a deeper desire and my passion is stronger to fulfill my calling by God. We as Chaplains need to assist the Police Department, Fire Department, and Sheriff's Department and Prison Systems. Also, assist in Hospitals, Hospice, Nursing Homes and Corporations. Chaplains are also needed in Grammar Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools, College, University's and Trade Schools. All Chaplains need to be able to communicate with Christians and Non-Believer's, as well as individuals with various religious beliefs like Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Buddhism, Hinduism and Moslems, etc. The course should me how to communicate properly all the do's and don'ts in being (Politically Correct) in the world we live in today.

When communicating with a patient and or individual do not be overly optimistic to a fault… When a patient and or individual bring up a concern or problem one must listen closely and avoid insisting that all is well. We need to encourage the patient and or individual to have a positive outlook; but this is not always the answer or the case. One must be open minded and approach them with an open heart and kindness. Keep yourself focused on the individual; be aware of your posture and body language. Always orient yourself directly towards the individual and avoid closed posture. Do not interrupt or pass judgment in advance. Probe for more information, but do not force them to speak of something they would prefer not to. Do not preach to the individual on how they should feel or what they should do, etc. Be an active listener; repeat back what you understood them to say, with a brief preface. Don't ask open ended questions; don't ask (yes or no) questions; ask questions that will give more detail of their feelings.

The information I received from these lessons will help me with my Chaplaincy skills. I must believe the information that the individual and or patient shares with me regarding their pain and or coping mechanisms. Do not discount their perception or experience, even mildly. Do not say "I know how you feel." The information will help me in my visits with patients in the hospital or nursing home and in their home settings. I must introduce myself and ask permission if I may enter. Allow them to feel the freedom to express their religious beliefs. At the end of our visit ask if the individual has a religious preference and if they would like to pray.

Often people will ask for advice not because they really want it but because it provides them with an opening to talk about their own problems. Instead of answering their questions in detail turn the conversation back to them as quickly as possible. Give them helpful phrases and establish your willingness to listen. You must be able to discern / interpret the meaning behind the information or words they are speaking, hearing and acknowledging their feelings. Assisting the person think about what he or she already knows and feels. One must assist the individual person in making a proper decision with proper dialogue; by using scripture or therapy… depending on their beliefs.
I must be careful with my non-verbal communications; like facial expressions, tone of voice, posture, and clothing. Also gestures made with hands, arms, legs, face and body, etc. Do not avoid eye contact. All of the above will help me counsel all the patients and or individuals I should come in contact with.

As I prepare myself to go out into the world and do Gods work I must be prayed up. I pray and ask Gods Holy Armor to clothe me, I ask for the Fire of the Holy Spirit to surround me and cover me with His Precious Blood and his Holy Angels to go before me and to cover and protect me from all evil. I ask him to use me to heal the broken hearted and suffering, and to bring peace into their lives. I clear my mind and relax… I have a positive mental attitude; meditate with God's word, knowing that he goes before me. I must also be prepared with a map with directions to the address and phone numbers. I must carry a note book and pen to take notes. I will approach each case and or individual as led by the Holy Spirit; to guide and assist me with the individual in their spiritual and personal needs and problems. I trust and know that the Holy Spirit will direct, convict and enable me and the individual in their process of healing. I will seek to apply biblical principles in leading an individual to find freedom from each specific problem they struggle with. We do not judge an individual for where they are or have been. But we seek to follow the direction to the Lord to resolve and lead the individual to freedom and peace.  

The course I took back in 2009 on the subject matter called Soul Clinic, helped me to become well versed and knowledgeable on assisting individuals of various religious backgrounds. I feel confidant and have the desire and passion to help those in need as a Counselor and Chaplain. I received a Religious Counseling Therapy License from the Universal Life Church. In December of 2011 I took a course on Crisis and Trauma Counseling and a course in helping those going through the process of Grieving Crisis. I also have the training as a first responder with the City and State Crisis Intervention Management of the County of Dallas, TX.

Also, I have read the book on {Death and Dying} What the Dying Have to Say, By: Elizabeth Kubler-Ross M.D. It is about the five stages of how people deal with death and dying. This book taught me how to assist the patient in the transition to death. I can help them to deal and to accept the death and life thereafter.

I also took classes from School of Oncology Counseling and received the following Certificates of Certification in Distress Management in Cancer, Cancer a Family Affair, Loss, Grief and Bereavement, Communication and Interpersonal Skills in Cancer Care. These Oncology Counseling classes assisted me to be a more knowledgeable and fluent in the understanding for the terminal and critically ill patients. 

 In these current times that we live in with all the budget cuts from government to state and within the cities; I see the positions of Chaplains being cut out of the budgets. At the same time there is a crucial need for spiritual guidance with all the violence erupting throughout the country.

Currently in American society, there is an increasing awareness of the value of spiritual interventions in the lives of people involved in crisis at the national and local levels. However, there is also the realization that Ministers and Pastors cannot rely solely on their seminary training and CPE to prepare them for the demands of critical stress management. In fact, it is common for Chaplains without appropriate training to become frustrated by the lack of improvement in the people they are trying to help or to become so enmeshed in the situation that they are worse off after the crisis intervention that at the beginning.  I have the training now to work as a crisis and trauma Counseling Chaplain with my certificates in Training and Spiritual Care. Training recognized by Police, Fire and EMS Departments and with FEMA, grief following a trauma. I am also trained for School Crisis and Trauma, Death Assistance.

As an Ordained Chaplain my dreams and desires of my heart are to be the best Ambassador and Representation of God on this earth for fellow man kind. I desire to work with individuals of all walks of life, (all faiths). My future desires are to enroll in a class for Homeland and Terrorism Crisis and Leadership Training. I desire and want to make a difference in this Country Nationwide (USA) and if possible worldwide! Our country is in such turmoil, a state of violence, in which we need to step out and reach out to those who are willing to listen and be helped. I desire to work with the local schools and communities, in hopes to decrease the violence in our schools and cities. My goal is to reach as many individuals as possible so that each one will have a proper and better understanding of God's love and his Word. So that this individual's heart will be right with God; and furthermore be at peace with themselves and others.

My recommendations on how to improve this course would be to add a crisis trauma training lesson. It should include on how to work with families and individuals on dealing with acts of violence in the work place, schools and public locations.
I truly appreciate and enjoyed taking the course on Master of Chaplaincy Training. The quality of the study course gave me a broader spectrum of the duties of a Chaplain in today's society.
By: Rev. Dr. Charles P Mulvaney DD. PhD's

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