Preparing for my final Sunday as pastor of Forest Grove Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Lucas, TX. Sermon is ready. Still have work to do to ready my heart, mind and spirit. Time to pray. I am hopeful, for the congregation and the wonderful people there, as well as for myself and my family and our ministry that goes forth from this place out into the world. We will carry with us so much that we have learned and received. We are stronger, wider, humbler, and hopefully more faithful and loving followers of Jesus Christ because of the time we have spent here. I hope the same is true of them because of our time together. If you need a good cry, FGCC at around 10:30am tomorrow is a good place to be. There will also be some laughter and many prayers and blessings. Sermon notes will be up tomorrow afternoon on Mark 4 – “Seeds on the wind”. And then later you’ll hear more about what is next for me in my new ministry that God is unfolding in and through me.
Lord, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people; you pardoned all their sin.
You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us.
Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? Will you not revive us again, so that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky. The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.
The gist is that clergy may publicly represent themselves as counselors and provide counseling so long as they do not use the title “licensed professional counselor” or hold themselves out as such. Using the terms “Pastoral Counselor” and “pastoral counseling” help to avoid this confusion. Clergy must be affiliated with a denomination or official church body, and be under a professional code of conduct. (See Disciples of Christ Ministerial Code of Ethics as an example). Consideration also should be given to liability insurance, whether part of the congregational insurance policy or some other coverage.
(13) Recognized religious practitioner–A rabbi, clergyman, or person of similar status who is a member in good standing of and accountable to a denomination, church, sect or religious organization legally recognized under the Internal Revenue Code, §501(c)(3) and other individuals participating with them in pastoral counseling if:
(A) the counseling activities are within the scope of the performance of their regular or specialized ministerial duties and are performed under the auspices of sponsorship of the legally recognized denomination, church, sect, religious organization or an integrated auxiliary of a church as defined in Federal Tax Regulations, 26 Code of Federal Regulations, §1.6033-2(g)(5)(I) (1982);
(B) the individual providing the service remains accountable to the established authority of that denomination, church, sect, religious organization or integrated auxiliary; and
(C) the person does not use the title of or hold himself or herself out as a professional counselor.
TITLE 3. HEALTH PROFESSIONS
SUBTITLE I. REGULATION OF PSYCHOLOGY AND COUNSELING
CHAPTER 503. LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS
SUBCHAPTER B. APPLICATION OF CHAPTER
Sec. 503.054. COUNSELING BY OTHER LICENSED OR CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL OR BY RELIGIOUS PRACTITIONER. This chapter does not apply to an activity or service of any of the following persons performing counseling consistent with the law of this state, the person’s training, and any code of ethics of the person’s profession if the person does not represent the person by any title or description as described by the definition of “licensed professional counselor” in Section 503.002:
(1) a member of another profession licensed or certified by this state, including:
(A) a physician, registered nurse, psychologist, social worker, marriage and family therapist, chemical dependency counselor, physician assistant, or occupational therapist; or
(B) an optometrist engaged in the evaluation and remediation of learning or behavioral disabilities associated with or caused by a defective or abnormal condition of vision; or
(2) a recognized religious practitioner, including a Christian Science practitioner recognized by the Church of Christ Scientist as registered and published in the Christian Science Journal.
Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.
We will have our Town Hall meeting with the whole staff this week to begin rolling out this program. I am looking forward to good conversation among colleagues regarding how we can better support one another. The healthier and stronger we are emotionally and as a community, the better patient care we can provide.
The following is a discussion starter for developing a support program among employees as a 40 bed hospital. If you have insights from your own experience, I would appreciate hearing them. And if you would like help thinking through your own situation, I’d be happy to share in that conversation also.
An updated summary version is available here in pdf.
Initial conversation –
In the past few months several of our coworkers have experienced the death of significant person in their lives. Others are entering a new stage of life with parents and others experiencing a decline in physical or mental health. Still others experience stress and grief related to relationship conflicts and disappointments. All of this has prompted a discussion regarding how we as a staff support one another during these difficult seasons.
Some considerations –
Work relationships are important. People spend half of their waking hours at…
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