Note: The following is an article writen by my Head Chaplain at the Hospital where I am a Chaplain.
I so appreciate James Richardson and his wonderful caring spirit. Director OCA William Dillon
There are various human emotions that are distressing and painful, but few affect us as much as the pain of guilt. Almost everyone experiences guilt in their lifetime. Guilt involves awareness that a person’s action or inaction has injured someone else. Acceptance of personal guilt may be followed by feelings of conviction. Sometimes guilt motivates a person to make amends, to confess and seek forgiveness, and to change their thinking and behavior.
Like frustration and anger, guilt can slow down or totally inhibit an individual’s progress, and at times, it can completely restrain his/her thinking and actions. When guilt is repressed, it can eventually take control of every aspect of a person’s life. It can totally dominate the thinking process, decrease motivation and productivity, undermine self-esteem and sense of worth, and crush any hopes and dreams. Each day can become more troubling and depressing. A mother, Karen Lang, wrote the following about her experience with guilt: One night after my nine-year-old son had just gone to bed, he asked me if I would lie down with him, as he was scared. I was getting ready for a busy week and was tired, so I replied, “No, you’re fine. Go to sleep.”
When he died the following afternoon after being hit by a car, I remembered what he’d asked me. The guilt that followed me from that day on was overwhelming. The guilt I felt after my son died burdened me for several years. Every anniversary, I would go over and over what I hadn’t done during those last few days before his death. I would remember every conversation, every request. The guilt beat me up, it made me replay my mistakes, and it wasted enormous amounts of my energy, re-enacting how I could have done something differently. It made me feel bad even when I didn’t feel bad!
I think one of the reasons it was so hard to give up and let go of my guilt was because I felt the need to push myself after his death for all the things I hadn’t done in his life. I would pretend that if I had made different choices, I could have changed that day. People would remind me of all the things I had done for my son and the wonderful life and love he was given, but it wasn’t enough for me. I constantly questioned why I hadn’t done more. After a few years, I realized that guilt was consuming me and in order for me to move on, I needed to find a way to let go and forgive myself. I was weighed down because I was living a life consumed by the past. Guilt did not allow me to be fully present with my family, or to see all the good that I had in my life then and now.
Studies have proven that many are helped with their guilt when involved in the religious practices of church, prayer and reading the Scriptures. A discussion with a minister, rabbi, priest, or other religious leader can be very supportive for processing feelings of guilt. Still, there are others who may also need the assistance of a psychologist in an individual or group therapy setting for finding peace and healing in their struggle with guilt.
By His Grace,
Rev. James Richardson, Chaplain
If you are currently serving as a chaplain
WE WANT YOU
Roger J. Roth
In April of 1980, I came into this wonderful truth in Bremerton, Washington on my way out of my enlistment in the US Navy. I met a young lady in the church there and two and a half years later we were married. Kathy and I now have 5 children and as of June this year, 16 grandchildren. We assisted in the church in many capacities including Head Usher, teaching Sunday School, Youth Leader and assistant pastor. After working in the Shipyard until 1993 as a Shipfitter and Nuclear/Radiological work procedures instructor, we moved to Gig Harbor to start a Home Missions work. Three other churches in three other towns came out of that work and it is still going but starting all over.
I went to work in the Funeral Industry and began to get a burden for people in crisis. I knew the local PD Chaplain (he was a Nazarene Pastor) and one day during lunch he let me know that his wife finally succumbed to cancer. We had been expecting that but did not expect that he would soon be leaving town. I told him he couldn’t leave because then there would be no Chaplain. He smiled and said let’s go for a ride. He took me over to the Gig Harbor Police Chief’s office and introduced me as his replacement. That began a very long and rewarding tenure as a Law Enforcement Chaplain.
I went back to school and obtained a degree in Psychology and Sociology through Apostolic School of Theology. The intention was to get an emphasis on crisis intervention, grief and bereavement and perhaps someday a position as a paid chaplain. One month after completing my degree the position for the Staff Chaplain at Pierce County Sheriff’s Department opened. I applied thinking that it would be an interesting experience and hopefully learn a bit more about the process. I knew some of the people that were also applying and thought I had no chance pitted against them. After several very intense meetings filling several background questionnaires and meeting with different levels of leadership, the wait was on. I was called about a month and a half later and told that I needed to meet at one of the county training buildings as myself and six other people made it to the oral board portion, which would be the time you present yourself in impromptu situations and respond to anything they want to ask. Two days later I was told that myself and one other person were the finalists, but that I had an edge. Next top, polygraph and about an hour in a chair that is very reminiscent of an electric chair to the point that the only thing it was missing was the head band.
After the polygraph was the psych eval which is where I thought I would get the boot but passed that with flying colors. On December 18th, 2017 I was called in to the Sheriff’s office and offered the job if I still wanted it. My official start date would be January 8, 2018 but for now I would be getting uniforms, and other assorted pre-hire things. I would now be responsible for the spiritual welfare of almost 700 commissioned personnel and those civilians I would be called to the scenes of. That was a major change from the 20 I dealt with at Gig Harbor PD. This was after years of Crisis Intervention Stress Management, Psychological and Mental Health First Aid, Debriefing and Defusing, Notifications, On scene protocol and a long list of other topics you need to know to do what Chaplains do. I was already a Master Chaplain with the International Conference of Police Chaplains and a Chaplain with Tacoma-Pierce County Chaplains Association (T-PCC) both of which provide world class training. I had gone through the Chaplains Academy sponsored by T-PCC and a few Regional Training meetings with ICPC.
The night before I was to begin my tenure as the staff chaplain for the sheriff, I was sitting on the edge of my bed at about 2350 thinking that I needed to get some rest as tomorrow was going to be a big day and I told my friends that I really wanted to hit the floor running at my new job. I laid back and let my head sink into the pillow then at 0002 the phone rang. The guy that was doing my job until my official start date called to let me know that we just had a deputy shot and it didn’t look good. I asked him where he was at and where the deputy was being transported to. No one was exactly sure, but I knew the hospital that had trauma that weekend and headed there. I told him to call me and update me, but I knew it would be obvious if I was right because there would be so many first responder vehicles around that hospital, I might not be able to park close.
I got to the hospital and headed for the ER ambulance entrance badge on my belt ID around my neck and once I got in the door I ran into the sheriff and two of his top captains. They told me where the two deputies were that were performing CPR on the scene and that the peer support team was with them. When I got there they let me know the deputies wife was enroute and about half an hour out, so I called a female chaplain in that had already called me three times wanting to know if she could help. I put her with the wife, and I took the deputy’s family. The rest of the night and ensuing week at the Emergency Operations Center was intense. You train for LODD’s, but you hope you never have to be involved. A few years earlier on Thanksgiving morning, four of our deputies were essentially ambushed in a coffee shop and I had a part in that, but not as big.
Before that first week was out, there would be another Officer Involved Shooting (OIS). The next few months put me and my team on more homicide and suicide scenes than I had been to in 16 ½ years at my former agency. I was personally on 24 suicides. Much of what we do is called ministry of presence and involves being a calming agent. I have told so many people that don’t get what we do or why we do it that if we do our jobs right when we walk on a scene it is spiritual chaos and when we walk off the scene if we have done it right, you can see people begin to smile again because with the help of the Lord we have begun to instill hope and healing.
Chaplain Roth is Occupational Chaplain’s Regional Director for the northwest which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Chaplain Roth is a chaplain with the Gig Harbor Sheriff’s department, while also responding to several other agencies when called. He is also is extensionally trained in suicide prevention by obtaining a degree in Psychology and Sociology. His work in the funeral industry has given him much experience in grief care.
William N. Dillon
Distance Learning Primary Site
(click on picture of books to go directly to Ministry Central)
Level one and two distance learning can be found on Ministry Central (click on picture to link) You can take both levels on Ministry Central. To apply for endorse status you must complete level one training and pass the tests. These are open book tests so feel free to review the material as many times as you need to. You can either take this training though our live training taught by Dr. Sidney Poe or take the training on line. The courses are offered at a very reasonable cost compared to industry standards. When you apply there is a charge for application processing and first year dues. After the first year the renewal fee is $90.00 a year.
Within one year after being endorsed you are required to complete level two. This training is designed to give you tools to use when the need arises so that you will be able to help those in crises.
We have two sites for distance learning. Below you will see the link to OCATeachable.com. That site was our first training site and only has level one training. Because of the program limits level one on this site had to be split up in to parts A&B with test. It takes both A&B and the test to complet level one training.
We sincerely pray that your journey into chaplaincy will be an anointed and fruitful path. If we can help you in any what please contact my administrative assistant Lori Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you need to talk to me you can call 870-814-0901.
Thank you for your interest and burden.