How can I get better at pastoral care? I can pay attention to my own practice, my own interactions with husbands and wives, parents and children, moments of excruciating difficulty. In each of those moments (or immediately after) I can ask myself, "What am I learning that will help me with the next one of those moments. What questions can I ask myself and others? What can I learn about attending to bits of information and infusing them back into the care all of us provide?"
I think they were nine and twelve. But I’m terrible with figuring out the ages of kids, and I’ve decided that asking isn’t helpful. Instead, I start listening and start talking and calibrate my vocabulary and concepts to the responses I’m getting. Thirty feet away, through an open door, a public hallway, and a closed … Continue reading A conversation with kids about death.
Adriel Booker wrote this for pastors who want to care for parents after miscarriage. What parents need from pastors after a miscarriage 1. Make time for grieving parents as early as possible. 2. Acknowledge the significance of their baby’s life. 3. Attend to both the mother and the father. 4. Encourage them to be honest … Continue reading How spiritual leaders can help in time of miscarriage (link)
Here are the words I use every time I begin a funeral service. We don’t want to be here. Just so that’s clear. We’re here because when God made us, he built us to respect lives, and to acknowledge that when an earthly life ends, something significant changes. There is something that is right about … Continue reading How to start a funeral service
I often hear people talking about God teaching them this lesson or that. Though we have many stories about the ways that Jesus was teaching people, most of them don't fit in our sense of "teaching people a lesson." This video from a few of my friends will help you understand what I mean. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdYWGRfKW9w
Before considering what to do to be helpful, Gavin Ortland suggests four things NOT to do. (Read the full article at "How not to help a sufferer.") In summary, his four things are don't be too quick to talk about what God means by this. don't be too quick to tell how your story turned … Continue reading How not to help a sufferer.
Some of us are squeamish about blood, especially in the hospital. So when we need to visit a friend, family member, or someone from church, especially after a trauma, we're afraid that we'll be distracted, that we'll feel faint. Here's a simple tip: look them in the eyes. https://youtu.be/znZ28-76z88
At our hospital, chaplains are the people with the responsibility and opportunity to ask families what funeral home they will be using for their loved one. It's a difficult time, shortly after the death. And yet, it's a helpful question because it gives the family something to do, a clear sense of the most immediate … Continue reading One way to find a funeral home.
I’m sorry. Nothing: (Sixty seconds of silence) May I take care of that? (and take the tissue out of their hands and give them a fresh one and throw it away and wash your hands) This is hard. Yes, I remember that time. I don’t know. . whether pets are in heaven . . . … Continue reading 10 simple phrases when visiting in the first hours after a death.