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A Chaplain’s Perspective: Essay II – “He leads me beside still waters”

There are times when being a compassionate presence who can keep their head is all that happens within a patient visit or family encounter and that action can be a very effective chaplain encounter. At the same time, the chaplain is trained to assess and bring forth whatever has given that person or family hope, meaning and strength in the past. To say it another way, the chaplain journeys and encourages the person or family to access within themselves whatever it is that has given their lives hope, meaning and strength. Finally, and for some this is the hardest part, the chaplain must be open and respectful to how that person or family answers that question.

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When Charge! becomes Re-Charge: On Making Retreats (Part I)

When I first went on retreat at my beloved Episcopal, Benedictine monastery, Holy Cross, in West Park, New York, to find out something about the place was a chore. I actually didn’t know anything about the Divine Office or monastic spirituality until I got there. Oh, they sent me a brochure. But it didn’t tell me much.

Today, Brother Google to the rescue! To find out about your retreat center or monastery, well, just google it. All of them will tell you about the rhythm in the house, the services provided, the schedule of each day. You need not fly blind, like I did, back in 1978.

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A Chaplain’s Perspective On the 2020-2021 Pandemic- Introduction and Essay I: Easter

  I began these writings on Easter Sunday 2020. At that time, there was much uncertainty and fear surrounding the Coronavirus and no one knew what to expect during a pandemic. It quickly became apparent that one of the truths of a worldwide pandemic is everyone will have a unique experience, their own personal story of the pandemic. The reflections that follow draw upon those experiences and seek to produce a picture of life, challenge and hope at the bedside as a hospital chaplain in a large hospital.          

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Happy Thanksgiving…

Happy Thanksgiving, Across the world of social media and other avenues of advice and admonitions and things we are told to look at, the message,

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Unlocking lockdown in Sri Lanka

It’s human nature to only just seem to think only of ourselves in times of lockdown and difficulties, We are all  worried and concerned for our safety, our provisions, our family, food, and shelter, Our focus falls only on ourselves. We should, however, take a moment take a look around. There are people around us who require financial assistance, who do not have enough food for the next week if the lockdown continues. There is much  loneliness and frustration in being unable to communicate with their loved ones by phone, Facebook, email, or WhatsApp, as many of us are able. 

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Lifting up our Hearts: Communion and Springsteen at Ground Zero

Another man had a quote to offer from the gospel according to Bruce Springsteen: Badlands, you’ve got to live it every day. Let the broken heart stand as the price you’ve got to pay. Another guy followed with a piece of another verse from the same song: I believe in the love that you gave me. I believe in the faith that can save me. I believe in the hope that one day will raise me from these Badlands.

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Breadcrumbs on the Path by Terence Aditon

And now my prayer is, Oh God, please find me, follow my small patches of prayer like a trail of breadcrumbs through my day. At day’s end, even though thoughts and images fill our minds, we try to say a full prayer, Our Father, Glory Be to the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, we say the prayers we learned as children. Even then, it takes determination, so often, to concentrate on one prayer without the distractions of the day, of the world, invading the tiny space we try to make for holy time.

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Inverness by David Alexander

As the grey skies became darker with the threat of rain, I heard the bells nearby.  It was Sunday, after all, so I wasn’t surprised, but I was curious about the source. I crossed the street to a park I saw to find the bells. They continued to toll.  I walked through the park, hoping with each step that the skies wouldn’t baptize me with the expected downpour.  I had left my umbrella in Perth a week ago.

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The Courage to Be Nobody: Simone Biles and the Art of Renunciation

Few of us can even imagine the pressures of being the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) who is not allowed to fail, the face of the Olympics, America’s standard bearer, and the always dependable foundation of the team’s success. But her renunciation of these burdens, however temporary, may be her greatest achievement insofar as it helps athletes—and society as a whole—engage with issues of mental health and personal well-being as never before, without stigma or shame. 

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The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

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