Since 1985, the Network on Ministry in Specialized Settings (“COMISS”) has observed the last week of October as Spiritual Care Week – a time when we celebrate the sacred work of chaplains and pastoral counselors. This year’s Spiritual Care Week theme is “Collaborative Healthcare: Chaplains Complete the Picture.” Sometimes a picture is more informative and revealing than words. Often the ministry of chaplains and pastoral counselors extends beyond words alone as they provide emotional support and spiritual care to persons in need, an essential part of the holistic interdisciplinary care that is offered within a variety of settings. Their ministry is an extension of our missional work as a Fellowship, to embody the love of God and hope through Christ, as we work together to complete the picture of putting our faith into action, to renew our world.
Take a moment this week to celebrate and thank our CBF Endorsed Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors for the good and sacred work that they do every day.
Take a Sad Song and Make it Better
By Stan Campbell
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” ~ Desmond Tutu
“Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” ~ Proverbs 23:18 (NRSV)
The National Guard activated around 200 chaplains for COVID-19 response.
I served as the State Chaplain for the Tennessee National Guard and worked with six chaplains who provided spiritual support to Soldiers and Airmen doing a variety of COVID missions across the state.
During this time I enjoyed a free three-month subscription to SiriusXM Radio, so I listened to the Beatles Channel while commuting to and from work each day. The upbeat, fun music of the Fab Four often brought a smile to my face and offered a momentary break from reality. However, as I heard stats about rising COVID deaths and infections in daily briefings, one morning I realized that as great as Beatles’ music is, it does not give me hope. Only faith can do that.
As the COVID crisis ground on, I realized the importance of listening to good music, exercising regularly, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, talking to family and friends, and even finding simple joy in my cat sitting on my lap when I came home from work each day. I also needed hope-filled faith to sustain my resilience.
This train of thought caused me to reflect on chaplain ministry and how chaplains often collaborate with other interdisciplinary team members in the care and support of hurting people. As visible reminders of the holy, chaplains offer a unique gift through their incarnational ministry of presence. They cannot fix people or make bad situations go away, but they can offer comfort and hope through their pastoral presence and prayers. This hope-based way of being truly empowers chaplains to “take a sad song and make it better” when ministering to anxious or broken-hearted people in uncertain and troubling times.
Colonel Stan Campbell is a CBF-endorsed Chaplain serving with the Tennessee Air National Guard.
We have more than 800 active professional CBF Endorsed Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors, serving throughout our country and worldwide, in a variety of specialized settings – all branches of the United States Armed Forces; the Civil Air Patrol; the Department of Veterans Affairs, hospitals and hospices, correctional institutions, fire, police, and rescue departments, colleges and universities, businesses and industries, retirement communities, counseling centers, private counseling practices, church staffs, and many other interdisciplinary settings.
To learn more about the work of CBF Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors, please visit our webpage at https://cbf.net/chaplaincy-pastoral-counseling.