Diane Stavrum – Wednesday, November 12, 2008 5:42:45 PM

A new threshold for me has loomed into my path and now
 I am the new Chaplain of the Chaparral House, 1309 Alston Ave., Berkeley, CA.
For the past month and half I have been visiting and assisting the Sunday service and alone in the last two weeks.[This is a Reserved Sacrament Service].  For the last month I have assisted and done two services alone with
Rev. Pat Walker-Spraque.  She has resigned as of two weeks ago after a dedicated and faithful ministry of over ten years at Chaparral House as Chaplain.  I am privileged to be accepted by her and the house administrators to take her place in ministry to this community. 

Here are two web links to the Chaparral House for your information:

          http://www.chaparralhouse.org/aboutus.html
          http://chaparralhouse.org/old/chaparral_about.htm

 Another threshold that has allowed me entrance and accreditation is the International Federation of Christian Chaplains.

I will continue my ministry with those individual contacts I have been involved with in the Bay Area Poetry Coalition, as well as my Tuesday Painters, and other individuals that have passed my path, both in nursing and retirement homes, on the street, and in other acquaintances. It is true so many people are church people who have left their church communities due to various aspects of discontent. Some of those reasons aren't so deep as theological debates, but simply language that doesn't mean any thing in their lives today.  Difficult words such as, "grace," or "redemption", or "atonement."  These are strange to them since obviously their catechism clases were non existent due to failure of the clergy and the curch communities in providing faith formation and education that deals with the language of the church.  But be it as it is, people don't like or find those words and others just not fitting in with thier concept of life.
Not only are there words and phrases that marginalize their attendance and activity, but the rituals themselves.  While many people are drawn to the beauty of the candles, the stained glass or lighted surroundings, the dinner table motiif others are turned off by it.  The symbols don't mean anything to them.  Our culture today our American style of living has seemingly been reduced to sound bites, and rapid suggestive language that is now even being shortened into letters in texting.
  The news bites today mentioned the statistic from the telephone company that over 60% of teen usage of their cell phones was texting!  Not calling and talking!  While we seem to be allowing our technical expertize to bring us closer by speed we are actually becoming more and more isolated from one another. Now a days we use the phone for extended conversation, rather than well written letters because of expediency.  In the last twenty years or less we use the phone less and now resort to quick electronic emails. or even blogs if we have more to say. And most currently what seems to be instant conversation by crypted texts over cell phones we carry with us.  Du u get it?  So there you go. 
I have found many marginal believers in the Berkeley and surrounding communities very uninterested and distrusting of a "clergy" type person.  A relationship with clergy person just seems to not fit with their life experiences.  Those people who are trusting and appreciative of the church and its work are often already involved in a religious community of some  kind of faith.
  That all said, it is good for me and my work that now I have a community, all be it, the near dead, to minister to and remind them of the joy of the promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ that we can live in and die in. 

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