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

 

“Gratitude”

Confession – Forgiveness – Gratitude.  These are three big ones in my faith life.  I’m always careful when I start talking about religious theology, because “A man’s got to know his limitations”.   But I’m pretty safe here in saying these three words are critical elements of Lutheran theology. I’d go into more on that if the details were as accessible in my mind as the above movie quote.  But they’re not, so I’ll stick with the focus of this message.

I was a man filled with gratitude on Easter morning at church.  For those of you who don’t know, my official call to pastoral ministry is to Mount Calvary Lutheran in Excelsior.  From there I am considered a missional pastor, deployed to serve as Pastor with Public Safety Ministries.  Mount Calvary is also my home church and the faith community where my family and I worship.

So like most who attend Easter services, it’s hard not to feel gratitude in such an uplifting setting. But… I was overflowing with gratitude, even before the service started, because of an incident in the entryway of our church as I waited to enter the sanctuary.  One of our senior Greeters experienced some medical difficulties that caused him to collapse.  The wonderful response to this event, that lead to a wonderful conclusion, came from a variety of resources that worked together, doing their jobs in cooperation, with strength, compassion and humility.  A church staff member saw the event occurring and caught the man before he fell and guided him to the ground. Someone quickly called 911 to initiate emergency service response, congregants present assisted within their variety of abilities.  The staff, doctors, nurses, parents, kids, all worked cooperatively and calmly, doing what they could to help. All this was done while respecting the greeters privacy, and many appropriately staying out of the way, but still available if needed.

Within minutes, South Lake Mtka Police and Excelsior Fire/Rescue showed up and did their job, with Hennepin Medical Center EMS Ambulance also responding to do their job.  The Church did their job, the congregants did their job, Emergency  Responders did their job… all in a calm and professional manner. I was impressed!  I was thankful.  Gratitude.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to have a personal and professional relationship with the responding community and agencies that simply did their jobs without fanfare, then moved on to what was next.

Thanks!  Pastor Dan

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