As I’ve traveled down the road of career transition these past two years, the one thing that has been constant throughout the journey is the experience of discovery. I had the opportunity last week to share the mission and vision of Public Safety Ministries with the Ramsey County Chiefs of Police Association at their monthly meeting. It was a great experience and I was overwhelmed with the response of support I received from them. I gave an overview of the ministry, the mission, the outreach and the services projects we are involved in. As I was talking about the Chaplaincy Services Coordination project that I am working on in partnership with The Minneapolis Police Chaplain Corp and The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, I used an image to describe the project that I had never used before.
The day before the presentation I was reading for a book that I received from one of our police chaplains, Father Tim Power, at my retirement from Eden Prairie PD. My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. holds a regular place in my collection of books I use for meditation and devotional reading.
In one of the stories she shares she tells of how she struggled with an assignment she had where she was supposed to “build community” among the employees of a hospice organization. They set aside one morning of a retreat to accomplish the task. When she sought out advice from a colleague she was give the following advice: “You don’t need to make that happen (building the community), Rachael. You just need to make it visible.”
As I described the efforts we have made towards identifying and coordination chaplain services around the state I have found the same thing to be true. We don’t need to create a chaplain services community, we just need to make the existing one visible. Of course there is a lot of other work to do as we strive towards building continuity of services, standards and identities and professionals in police chaplaincy, but the community is there and it is active. Making it visible, first to ourselves and then to others is a great first step.
There always seems to be plenty of visibility in our society of the problems and challenges we face. A simple story in a book has given me an image, an image of making visible all that is good in life, that will become a guiding light of this ministry.