I've spent the last week in orientation for my CPE site here in Rutherfordton, North Carolina. I'm serving as a Chaplain Intern at Rutherford Hospital, which is a small hospital in a small town. It's been a blast so far! My supervisor began the week of orientation by blowing a conch shell. We ended the day by standing around, looking up into a tree, hearing a story of a several-hundred year old noose on the hospital property. This story was made up for some laughs by my supervisor, who is a hoot!
I really miss daily chapel at LSTC, but I managed to find an ELCA Lutheran congregation not too far from where I'm staying. I showed up this morning to see the sign reading, "No family in the area? Join ours!" It's almost as if this sign was put up, just for me. The service was great. It was my comforting high liturgy, with ELW hymns, even though LBWs were in the backs of the pews. There was even some gender-inclusive language for God snuck in there! After service, there was a small potluck, to which almost every member of the congregation asked me to attend as a visitor. It felt awesome to be welcomed into this little southern family, since my heart misses my LSTC family and my, you know, biological family. One of the ushers told me that if anything could go wrong with this congregation is that they could love me too much.
I think I'm okay with that possibility. :)