I am appointed by The United Methodist Church in an extension ministry as chaplain to Methodist Charlton Medical Center (MCMC). I grew us as a Roman Catholic and converted in my teens to Pentecostalism. In my twenties I became aware of United Methodism through my marriage. The emphasis on the various dimensions of grace which is a centerpiece in United Methodism as well as the denominations mission to bring about the Kingdom of God in the here and now have shaped my theology of pastoral care. One of the centerpieces of this theology is “radical love” – meaning a love that is unconditional, ever-present and inexhaustible. It is this love I try to emulate in my day-to-day interactions with patients and staff alike. This love calls me to be mindful and respectful of the religious beliefs of the other, or the lack thereof. This love does not judge, first and foremost it recognizes the divine in the other and his/her inherent dignity. This love does not seek to lecture but to listen. This love persists even when it is rejected. Finally, it is a love that celebrates life, but also doesn’t hesitate to support the other during the raw moments in life. I am aware that I am a recipient of God’s loving grace, a gift I have not deserved, not can I do anything to deserve it. The Methodist emphasis on social justice and the Kingdom of God in the here and now commands me to do my part in moving our world a little closer to Christ’s return.
During my faith journey from Catholicism followed by Pentecostalism and ending in Methodism has caused me to value the many spiritual practices present in the Christian faith and other religions. This awareness has caused me to put special attention to the way patients and staff connect spiritually with the divine. As God is unlimited, I believe there is an unlimited “toolbox” of spiritual practices allowing us to connect with Godself. This has caused me to incorporate smell (aromatherapy), sound (music), touch (blessing with oil), taste (communion), centering prayer and sacred art in my pastoral practice. Being attentive to the spiritual needs of the other has made a real impact on the quality of healthcare provided in my hospital setting.