“Let’s write something, something to share…”

It’s Saturday morning, Cam is out running errands on her day off, and I’m at home alone (yes, we are again empty-nesters again) thinking about the chores I need to get done before heading off to Marinucci Arena for an afternoon Gopher Hockey game.  As I finished a healthy breakfast (I say healthy because that’s clearly not aways the case) I heard that voice in my head say “Let’s write something, something to share…”  At this point, I’ll not go into any detail about that voice, but I’ve found it’s a good idea to listen to it. So I put on another pot of coffee, and here we go… 

In the neighborhood of 15-20 years ago, while I was still a police chief, there was  a very special day in my life.  I was sitting at my desk at the police department when Father Tim popped his head in my doorway and said “Hi Chief!”  I always enjoyed Fr. Tim’s presence and asked what brought him to the PD today.  He replied that he was making his rounds and checking in because he felt the need to see someone.  Tim was one one of our department chaplains and our department was currently struggling with a  particularly challenging issue.  I jumped up and asked him if I could help him locate who he was looking for.  His simple reply was, “Well, I’m here to see you Chief.”  A little surprised, I invited him in to sit down and I immediately felt something.  I don’t want to get too mystical, nor dramatic here, but simply said, I felt something calm enter the room.  It’s a feeling I continue to experience whenever I think back on that day.  Father Tim was not only one of our department chaplains, he was my chaplain… and he cared about me.

I honestly don’t remember specifically what the department issue was at the time, but I can narrow it down to one of the four or five most challenging I faced as chief.  I also can’t remember the details of the conversation, or anything he said to comfort me, guide me, or calm me.  But I will never forget, that he was there, and he cared.  

I have been a full time police, fire and EMS chaplain for more than a dozen years now.  I have served in a variety of chaplain roles to dozens of public safety agencies, organizations and associations.  I have had literally thousands of chaplain interactions with cops, firefighters, and medical responders, as well as with those who are served by these dedicated public safety professionals.  In those interactions I’m often asked what it is that I actually do as a chaplain?   What I do, is what I was taught to do.  I was taught not through words, but by actions, by one of the best people I’ve ever known:  “Be there and care.”

Thanks for listening!

Pastor Dan, Chaplain

A Check-In…

This past year has been a time of some personal and professional change (spoiler alert, all good changes I believe).  I’m about to conclude my 12th year of full-time work as the Chaplain of Public Safety Ministries.  Since this is a simple “Check-In” as opposed to a full fledged “Ministry Update”, I’ll try and keep it short. There are two things I’d like to share with you regarding some good changes.

First, The most important thing I’ve learned since January 2007 (when I retired from EPPD).  I became a pastor after I retired, with a mission to be a Spiritual Care Provider to Police, Fire and EMS personnel throughout Minnesota. I was engaging the professions intending to work my way in as a chaplain and provide them with care… to care for them.  What I learned very quickly, was that if I truly wanted to care for these cops, firefighters and medics, I first needed to care about them.  Get to know who they are, what they do, and why they do it.  And most importantly, stay out of their way  while doing that!                    **Important Lesson Learned: “Care for people, by caring about people.”

Second, I’ve changed “where” I focus my ministry work.  When I started engaging the public safety professions I first engaged the professional associations such as the Hennepin County Chiefs of Police Association (HCCPA) the MN Police Chiefs (MCPA), the MN Law Enforcement Association (LEMA), the MN Fire Service Foundation and others. This provided the opportunity for high visibility, high attendance engagements where I could share ideas for promoting and providing Spiritual Care and Support.  Those efforts were very productive and now I have hundreds of agency and individual Care relationships. Through those relationships,  seeds were planted for other providers to grow their opportunities for providing care in their local communities.  So, I’ve disengaged from the majority of those large associations and agencies  (while maintaining active relationships with those that have replaced me).  And now my ministry work focuses on going deeper with many of my local agencies  (those within the west metro area of the Twin Cities) and their personnel.  Because of my move from high visibility, high volume personal relationships, I intend to maintain communications with those I’ve served and those who are now engaged providing similar services, by providing  more activity on this website.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and we’ll be in touch!

With Care, Pastor Dan