“Hello, my name is Justin Tigerman and I am one of the summer chaplains. I am calling to see if there might be a time when we can meet and visit each other for a bit.”
CPE has finally begun. The long awaited summer of trials, tribulations, and testaments of pastoral care has finally come. My father and friends recount often of how CPE was one of the most dramatic and formative times of their pastoral lives. I am so excited. For the most part, my ministry experience has been in camp settings for the past four summers and, while I loved my time there, I believe I am ready to broaden my ministry experiences into another setting.
I am at a retirement community for my CPE site. My colleagues and I have split up the residents so that each of us has about 40 rooms to visit. Some people have been quite receptive to the introduction at the top of this blog post. Others have been less receptive. One of the first lessons I am learning is how much weight the title of “chaplain” bears, even if “student” is directly in front of it.
One thing is for sure, there is a certain level of authority that I need to better understand and learn how to use in my endeavors this summer and beyond. The truth is, however, that I am not the authority; God is.
Already in the first week, I have learned much (partially from the overwhelming orientation to the program). I have learned a little about authority and about the graduality of a relationship. We haven’t even gotten to family systems, story theology, or verbatims yet! Oh what fun I have to look forward to this summer! J
Until Next Friday!