Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC

Pentecost Sunday
Acts 2:1-21; John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

SJD EYC 1981



all learning

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

The Day of Pentecost 
Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

(Gospel text is provided at the bottom of this post)


Three years ago, as part of my seminary education, I was an intern chaplain at Grady Hospital. This Clinical Pastoral Education, as it’s called, or CPE, is a time to see what it’s like to be a hospital chaplain, and also a time to learn more about yourself, as a pastoral care giver.

NHS-hospital-ward-recepti-006The various floors and departments of the hospital are divvied up to the six chaplain interns, and my parish, if you will, was a couple of the surgical floors. Now, patients on surgical floors aren’t usually there for a long time. They’re given a room after surgery and stay just long enough to be ready to go home, or go to another rehab facility.

hospitalSo, as a chaplain on a surgical floor, I made a lot of cold-calls, popping in, introducing myself as a chaplain, and seeing if the patient or their family wanted to talk or pray. My hope for my ministry was to be one person from the hospital team that interacted with the patient without poking or prodding them. I wanted to be a presence for them in whatever way might helpful.

Sometimes my invitation was well received and other times, not so much. But, that’s the way it goes.

I remember one day in particular, near the beginning of the summer. The resident chaplain suggested I visit a patient who had actually been there for several weeks. I’ll call the patient Bill.

I learned from the other chaplain that Bill and his girlfriend had been riding together on Bill’s motorcycle. They were riding through Atlanta on their way back to New York after a vacation in Florida. They had a wreck and Bill’s hip was badly injured and his girlfriend – I’ll call her Sue – had extensive injuries including brain trauma. She was in the intensive care unit (ICU), and although Sue was still alive, after several weeks she still hadn’t regained consciousness.

They were in an unfamiliar city with family far away; in different rooms and on different floors of the hospital. Read the rest of this entry »

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