Helen Reed, chair of the CCS Communications Committee, came to Winnipeg a couple of weeks ago for a Central Council face-to-face meeting. When she found out that there was no chaplain lined up for the Educational Ministry learning circle, she shifted her schedule, rebooked her flight home, and volunteered to stay around to provide pastoral support to the students. Thank you, Helen, for your commitment. Here are Helen’s reflections on spending the past two weeks as a chaplain in the learning circle:
Who knew? I came for a Central Council strategic planning meeting and unexpectedly found myself the chaplain in the Learning Circle!
I’ve often thought that one of the ways I could support the CCS Program would be to offer chaplaincy support and this opportunity just opened up like it was meant to be.
It is a privilege to accompany this group of students – most of whom are first-year students — through this journey of learning and exploration in their first Learning Circle together. I have been sitting in on sessions in the circle, which offers the students an opportunity to “check out” as the chaplain, and perhaps be more comfortable approaching me for support. A chaplain on hand can also be helpful for those ‘emergency’ moments when learnings in that circle lead students into unexpected emotions that overflow.
I will admit that being invited to join the circle and not having the pressures of assignments to come means that I learn too, but in a much more relaxed way. Some of the pastoral care that I have offered has been simply to keep the coffee pot full and the tea kettle boiled…not an onerous task. I have had time to relax, do a little bit of preparation for my home congregations, and read some books too.
On Thursday the circle will be done for this session and we will go our separate ways home. Students will begin checking their calendars for the next assignment due and I will be planning for a fundraiser and for the Advent rush. This gift of shared learning will ground us for the work ahead.