It's a Long Story . . . Part One
I worked as a pastoral care volunteer two mornings each week, and found it to be so rewarding. After about a year, things in my life changed, and I was no longer free during the day because I had taken a full-time job. I found that I missed the hospital work tremendously, and phoned Sister Angela to see if what she thought. What she thought was that I'd had enough experience on the job that she'd like me to come in on Friday nights from six until ten and carry the beeper so that the on-call chaplain could be relieved for a bit. I did that for two years.
It was during those nights when I was the only active pastoral care person in the hospital, responding to Codes, Traumas, and deaths, that I came to believe that this work was what I was called to do.
I looked into it. To get a job as a hospital chaplain, a person had to have a seminary degree, denominational endorsement, and four units of clinical pastoral education. I was woefully underqualified, not having had more than a single semester's worth of college, all told. But the idea never went away. I spoke with my pastor who said it certainly sounded to him as though I was being called to do this, and suggested I not look at all that was ahead but simply to begin to work towards an Associate degree. So in 1989, I left my full-time job, returned to at-home medical transcription, and began degree programs through an unusual model for adults returning to college at Thomas Edison University. I earned a B.A. in two and a half years.
The letter accepting my application to seminary came the day of my 30th high school reunion.