All Courses Forums Caring Presence Program Introductions / Caring Presence Program

5 replies, 2 voices Last updated by Rick Underwood 2 years, 8 months ago
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    • #3865

      Rick Underwood
      Moderator
      @RickUnderwood

      Dear CPP participants,

      Please reply to this thread and introduce yourself. Normally, we share something personal, something professional, and why we are drawn to this particular seminar.  I shall begin.

      I hit the 70 years of age mark this year. I never really thought I would reach this age so I’m not sure how to act or think, so I’m just making it up.  A part of that is continuing as the director at the Oates Institute, serving as a bi-vocational pastor of a small, rural church and teaching a course or two in the Organizational Leadership graduate program at our local university. It also includes hanging out with my 6 grandkids and watching them face the challenges of life, some painful and others joyous.

      For many years, I served as professional pastoral / marriage and family therapists and supervisor and lived some of what we will be discussing in the next few weeks.  I am convinced that we are created with 2 ears and only one mouth because we are intended to listen twice as much as we talk.  Hence, I will stop talking and listen/read your introductions.

      Rick

      P.S. Please remember to check the email return at the lower left-hand part of this page in order to receive reminders of other’s posts.  Also, check your Junk mail. For some reason, notices from our learning platform continue to end up there for me.

    • #3873

      Rick Underwood
      Moderator
      @RickUnderwood

      Dear new friends in caring,

      As promised, I will share a time I received spiritual / pastoral care.  Karen Lovett, a long time friend and, who I hope will chime in during our time together has been a constant support to me through the years in many ways. The specific time that comes to mind, for which I will forever be grateful, was a day many years ago when my son who was 18 years old at the time made one of many bad decisions.  My son who has been clean and sober for 9 years now, was a senior in high school.  His addiction had already taken hold and his behavior was irrational and out of control.  His academic performance was almost non-existent that year, but the school offered a “deal”.  If he would attend a make-up class for 6 weeks, every day, they would give him a diploma.  He made it 5 weeks and 4 days. The night before the last day, he came in extremely drunk.  I completely lost it with him and an altercation ensued.  I extricated myself from the situation full of fury, guilt, sadness, and hopelessness.  My first call was to my friend who compassionately listened to me pour out my heart without judgement or advice.  She actively listened and empathized with my feelings with non-possessive warmth and congruency. While the caring I received didn’t change anything about the situation, I was able to pull myself together and to determine what my next steps would be.  It was very clear to me that I had just had an open-eyed prayer that was a trialogue with my spiritual caregiver / friend, the Holy Spirit and me.  Similar conversations went on for 13 years before my son finally got sober.  The support, guiding, sustaining, and healing that occurred through the years were greatly enhanced by these pastoral / spiritual conversations. He has now finished his undergrad degree with honors, applied, has been accepted and begun law school, while raising a family and running a business.

      Rick

       

    • #3878

      Toph
      Participant
      @Toph

      Hello!  My name is Toph Whisnant, and I am the Community Pastor at University Baptist Church in Waco, TX.  I grew up a preacher’s kid in East Tennessee, and my dad was the Minister of Education and Outreach at my home church for 33.5years.  I come from a long line of pastors: grandad, dad, uncle, and my older brother.  My two main roles at UBC are to be the primary pastoral care person for our college students, and to help the congregation engage locally and internationally in strategic partnerships.  I have been working in ministry for over 15 years in various ways, and I have been married to my wife Melissa for 10years.  I look forward to getting to know you all through the course of this training.

       

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Toph.
      • #3882

        Rick Underwood
        Moderator
        @RickUnderwood

        Welcome, Toph and others to our introductions,

        You obviously come from wonderful pastoral, shepherding stock there in East Tennesse.  It is no wonder that you find yourself providing spiritual / pastoral care to college students.  Your lifetime of experiences, training, and calling are a wonderful foundation for the work you do and for participating in this collaborative learning experience. I look forward to sharing and learning from you.  I hope others will share their introductions soon.

        Thank you for jumping in.

        Rick

         

    • #3880

      Toph
      Participant
      @Toph

      A moment of pastoral care that was unexpected, but exactly what I needed.

      My sophomore year of college, my grandfather passed away from several types of cancer.  This was the first person close to me to die, and this was a very difficult season for me.  The funeral was beautiful, and I had the honor of being a pallbearer.  I learned much about my grandfather that I did not before: about his time in the navy, the churches he lead before I was born, about his relationship with my grandmother, and about his heart to see the Kingdom in breaking until his dying breath.  A few weeks after the funeral , I was back at my home church visiting my family, and young man named Robbie approached me.  I grew up with Robbie, he was about 10 years older than me, and Robbie lived with down syndrome.  Robbie was never able to pass more than a 4th grade educational level, but he was always one of the kindest people in the church.  After the service, Robbie came up to me to give me a hug (which was his usual custom, or I usually went to him I should say), but he stopped short.  Robbie put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I am so sorry about your grandfather.  I love you.”  Robbie then proceeded to bring me in a for big bear hug, and I immediately started to cry.

      In that moment with Robbie, I was seen.  I felt known and understood.  I had not told Robbie my grandfather passed away, nor had I seen him for the three weeks between the funeral and that Sunday.  I’ll never forget that moment, nor will I forget that sometimes the best pastoral care is given through a simple well timed word.

       

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Toph.
      • #3883

        Rick Underwood
        Moderator
        @RickUnderwood

        Torp,

        With all of the ministers in your family, I would have thought you would have picked an incident that involved professional spiritual caregiving.  However, the one you shared is wonderful.  It was serendipitous, compassionate, simple, and profound.  I sometimes worry that our/my attempts at sophisticated ministry get in the way of our natural caregiving.  Our next door neighbor is a22-year-old who has downs syndrome and autism.  Her spontaneity is refreshing.  She seems to sense when others are hurting and almost always reacts with a hug.  It also reminds me of a research study I read many years ago when I was studying to become a professional pastoral counselor.  The study involved a mental health center where a few persons who possessed natural caregiver skills like your friend and my neighbor sat with clients who shared their problems. The professional staff also sat with the same clients and listened to their issues.  In the end, the clients rated the natural caregivers group as being “more helpful” than the professionals.  The clients didn’t know there were two different groups.  We hope to capitalize on that kind of wisdom in this seminar to remind us what is really important as we sit with spiritually injured folks.

        I hope others will share a snapshot of a time they experienced spiritual care.

        Rick

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