Episcopal Cafe

Something for New Year’s Day: An essay from Stephanie Painter

Then I wrote a Family Mission Statement and placed a copy on the refrigerator for a daily reminder of my priorities. The tenets include mentoring her spiritual growth and showing her the importance of helping others. “Remember to add joy and humor to daily life!” I also wrote. When my younger daughter was born, I had a perfect lullaby and thoughtful plan to share.

If I could talk to that frantic new mother in the nursery, I’d say, “Hang in there. The spiritual journey, with its opportunity to grow into a better human being, one who can raise good people, will thrill you.”

The Christmas Creche

“This year, as we celebrated communion round the breakfast table and its creche, I realized there was one manger that did not have to be put away. And that is the creche of our hearts, where this Christ child snuggles in filled with warmth and love, and with the power of God to light our way home forever.” 

The Way of Jesus: 2022

“Presiding Bishop Michael Curry offers a prescription that addresses this very concerning decline participation in many of our churches and our lives. Why don’t you consider forming a small group in your congregation to explore how to change our lives to “Live and Act More Like Jesus” in 2022?
‘By God’s grace …'”

A Chaplain’s Perspective Essay V: A Barge Boat

As an Emergency Department chaplain who also covers COVID+ intensive care units (thirty-two beds). I am called to serve in crisis ministry situations several times a day. In this way, I am frequently present in times of pain, confusion, loss and death. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and her stages of grief theory continues to provide a valid starting point when understanding and being with those experiencing loss and grief. Today it is commonly understood that for most, the grief journey is not linear (simply one stage to the next) but rather more accurately describes the emotions felt in the “pool of grief”, and these emotions are then experienced in a more haphazard manner. Kubler-Ross identified the emotions of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance within the grief journey.       

A Chaplain’s Perspective Essay IV: The Journey Continues

The most difficult visits for me occur in Labor and Delivery and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. These visits drain me emotionally and I am continually amazed by the heroic teams of professionals called to work in these units day after day. Labor and Delivery and the Neonatal units are for the most part the happiest areas of the hospital full of new lives, but at other times, they are the saddest units in the hospital. The sadness and intense grief seem to fill the hallways and enter the hearts of all associated with the death of a baby.

Meditation and Prayer: Awaiting the Nativity offered by Terence Aditon

As the days advance to the arrival of any baby, there is both joy and trepidation, a new blessed being, emerging from labor, and love. So with Advent, awaiting the Birth that marks another beginning for the world.

It is mortal pain that brings forth the Christ child from Mary’s body. His mortal life begun as any babe’s, wrenched away from the warm ocean of the womb to the cold air of earthly life. The Child lifted from the Mother, a sign that this most precious Life will end in being lifted on the Cross, and lifting us up, with Him, to the hope of heaven.

The Promise of Good News

“I think of the sweetness of my grandmother’s smile when she recognized the images from Isaiah. I recall the years that my grandmother’s love for God has shone in my life, even though I didn’t always hear or receive it fully at the time. She believed strongly in scripture and the power of asking for wisdom before reading holy words.”

A Chaplain’s Perspective: Essay III: It’s Been Three Months

The beginning point of every chaplain encounter with patients, families and staff is to be a compassionate presence who can keep your head when frequently the people around you cannot. In this way, a chaplain becomes acutely aware that there are times when the reality of the moment can be too much, and a patient or family can be overwhelmed with emotion and the ability to think is unattainable. Emotion can overload the cognitive brain; this can occur in times of crisis such as a new and very difficult diagnosis or the death of a loved one.                 

More thoughts on making a retreat: Hints to make your retreat experience special

Think of your retreat as wine tasting.  When you go to taste wine you don’t drink everything, you don’t like everything and you don’t buy everything.  The same can be said for your retreat-you are going to like some of the program and not like some of the program.  And you are going to wonder which parts you should do and which you shouldn’t.  Taste them all, or most of them but don’t “buy” the ones you don’t like.