By Gerry Hutchinson
I love the theme of this year’s General Assembly “Woven Together with each other and with God’s Mission.” It prompts me to ponder what threads do chaplains and pastoral counselors bring to the tapestry that is the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship?
In May I attended the CBF of South Carolina’s Spring Assembly. I met Stacy Sergent who serves as a CBF endorsed chaplain at the Medical University of South Carolina Medical Center in Charleston, S.C. She led a breakout session on “Chaplaincy as a Ministry of Empowerment.” She told the story of visiting a patient who was a minister. He was dying and he confessed to her that he was scared. Chaplain Sergent reminded him it was OK to be scared. That even Jesus was sweating things out in prayer the night before he died. As they prayed together he began to feel at peace.
Stacy reminded us that chaplains can help create a safe space for negative emotions like fear or anger or questioning God. By giving people permission to feel what they are feeling and to express it can aid them in dealing with the strong emotion.
Creating a safe space to express oneself is a helpful thread to weave into the tapestry of our Fellowship Family. I affirm the chaplains and pastoral counselors who weave in such a way as to help us all be more honest, more authentic.
Gerry Hutchinson is the CBF endorser for chaplains and pastoral counselors.