In some recent posts, I’ve referenced the ministry in which my husband and I are involved. Today, I want to talk about exactly what it is.
What is The Community Chaplain?
TCC is a non-denominational, inclusive ministry that reaches out to those in need of pastoral care or help and guidance in times of life transition. Our goal is to build and support community wherever we serve.
We work with people on life transitions, which can include moving into assisted living, working out at-home elder care and moving from rehabilitation back home, as well as a multitude of other related needs.
We visit specific people on a weekly basis for the purpose of fellowship, Bible study and simple home repair. This is part of the over-arching ministry of presence.
We make hospital visits for those who need support during times of family or personal illness.
We perform weddings, funerals, baptisms, home blessings and ministry of the sick.
We make twice a week visits to a local nursing home that has no other chaplaincy support, visiting the patients and praying with them as requested.
We lead a service at a local nursing home 2-3 Sundays a month, with the support of several of our ministry partners.
We minister via telephone, offering encouragement and information to those in need or crisis.
We join the community in weekly worship at Allegro Senior Living, celebrating a simple service with the residents and members of the larger community.
We have developed a community garden to offer more opportunity for fellowship and community! There are plots available for those who want to cultivate their own vegetables or flowers, and there are multiple opportunities to join in the larger plot by weeding and helping with planning and planting.
There is no ordinary day in this ministry. We might spend a few hours having coffee with an elderly lady who has asked us to do some home repairs, and then stop at another couple’s home to put together a new kitchen table, and then meet someone else at Panera to offer a listening ear, and then spend a few hours on the telephone working out a delicate assisted-living transition before we devote some time to preparing the next lesson or service.
None of these tasks are paid. All are freely offered. All are freely and joyfully given.
We are doing everything we can to be faithful to the calling God has placed in our lives.
Nothing happens in a vacuum, and God moves us in His ways and time, so this ministry has been a long time in the making.
In 2008, God led Clint to attend seminary after twenty-plus years in the military and in private sector business. During that time, Clint began to minister to the homeless and those in need through the Loaves and Fishes program. Following his graduation in 2011, he took a position with a hospice provider as a chaplain.
In 2014, Clint moved from hospice chaplaincy to parish ministry when he took an assistant priest position at the Anglican church we’d attended for four years. He was able to further hone his pastoral care gifts there.
By the end of 2015, we knew God was doing something. The situation at the church was causing our family more pain than positivity, and in light of that, to seek God’s will for our next move, we spent the last week of Advent in prayer and fasting.
God apparently took us seriously when we committed to following His plan. On Epiphany, January 6th, Clint’s position in the church was eliminated because of budget constraints. We both felt strongly that God was leading not to a new parish position or another hospice chaplaincy but to serve Him in a new way.
Since then, we have been working solely as God leads, day by day. It is not an easy process. God does not send a daily schedule of activities, a blueprint for the future or notice of how the bills will be paid. But He is faithful nonetheless.
He has impressed upon us time and again that our mission is to reach His people one by one. Numbers are not the goal. And again and again, He tells us: “Behold, I am doing a new thing.”
We’ve been blessed to minister to those who are not comfortable seeking help from a church, to those who are part of a church that cannot accommodate their needs, or to those who have no religious affiliation or desire for one. We do not proselytize or evangelize, trusting that God opens eyes as He wills.
So without a salary, how are we living? That’s a great question!
God does provide, and over the course of this year, my book income has risen slowly, which helps. We’ve also been blessed by gifts as people are moved to be part of the ministry in that way.
But as you can imagine, we rely heavily on donations. That’s why this Giving Tuesday is so important to us. We’re working hard to raise enough funds to continue the ministry through 2018, to help continue to grow the Garden and to help those in need.
How can YOU help?
–Donate through our dedicated PayPal button: paypal.me/TheCommunityChaplain
-Donate via mail by sending a check made payable to The Community Chaplain to PO Box 195631, Winter Springs, FL 32719.
For more information on The Community Chaplain, you can check out our website, visit our Facebook page (and The Community Garden page!) and sign up for our periodical newsletter.
And prayer support and encouragement is always appreciated!