Thoughts on The Chaplaincy Institute Program

Author: Rev. Nancy Schluntz
Newsletter Issue: March 2008

Beginning The Chaplaincy Institute program, I expected breadth of information and exposure to the world’s religious traditions.

I did not expect the rich tapestry woven by the students’ histories, experiences and perspectives, and the dialogue with instructors.

I expected the lecture format and some exposure to practitioners of the faiths we studied.  I did not expect the depth of experiences reached by sitting with teachers who lived as well as taught their faith traditions, and the richness of immersion reached by attending worship centers and adopting – even briefly – different faith practices.

My carefully constructed barriers began to crumble in my first module, and were eroded by tears over the course of the program.  We were all blessed to see the shy student who did not dance, then dance a sermon on the labyrinth; the student who could not sing, who found her voice; the student who did not do art, who created beautiful expressions in different media; the student who already was a model caregiver, who found new depths of compassion and skills.

ChI is not only a course of study leading to Ordination. It is a deepening, enriching process that opens each of us to the core of who we truly are, with all our gifts and challenges, and provides us with internal and practical skills so that we may better serve.

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