DRE Column for May – Chaplaincy Institute Graduation and Ordination

It is with great joy and excitement that I announce that I have graduated from the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley and have been approved for ordination as an Interfaith Minister and chaplain.  The ordination ceremony will be held on September 22, 2018 in Berkeley.

In the world of Religious Exploration, we DREs are responsible for finding creative ways to encourage, inspire, and support the work of faith exploration and formation at home and at church. As Westside’s RE program evolves to keep pace with the evolution of the needs and availability of children, volunteers, and parents, I am ensuring that the RE Program and I will be appropriately prepared to support the faith formation of our children and youth, and their learning to articulate their credo or faith.  I want to help our children and youth believe they can be a part of making a difference, making a future where hope, peace, love, and joy are real possibilities for all beings. I want to be inspiring and to support children and youth to grow and mature spiritually.

Witnessing the changing needs and requirements of RE here at Westside, I wanted to be better able to serve and support our children, youth, and parents in meaningful ways. It was clear that morphing my role in some important ways would serve Westside. For instance, there are many times right now when the minister’s presence is imperative for the sense that a ritual in RE is complete. However, with the many pressing obligations on our minister as our congregation grows, this can be extremely challenging to schedule and arrange. I have come to see that it is important to actually be a minister in my service as the DRE for Westside’s children, youth and families. Having that title and also being an ordained minister will shift the perception of my role here and allow me to oversee rituals and ceremonies in RE as a minister. I am also responsible for pastoral care for our families, children, and youth. In many ways it will be clearer to families and children that I am there for their pastoral care as a minister. More and more DREs are becoming ordained. A few in the Pacific Northwest are either already ordained or in the process of becoming ordained.

Therefore, I pursued the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley’s Interfaith Ministry program to be ordained as an Interfaith Minister and chaplain. This training, and my master’s degree from United Theological Seminary in Minnesota, allow me to meet the pastoral care needs and ministerial needs of our RE program. I look forward to seeing how this will all unfold!

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