Hi to you all. Hope your Monday is going well. Just an update on what I've been up to in the world of chaplaincy.
Some of my time in the last two weeks has been taken by dealing with the couple I wrote of earlier. They are still connecting with each other, and both of them are connecting with me quite often. The guy is in jail, but because of the corrections strike, the rules in the provincial institutions have been set aside somewhat. The RCMP
are doing their best, but are not familiar with all the rules, so the inmates have much more time and freedom. The guy I know there spends his time either on the phone or waiting to use the phone from 7AM until 10:30PM. This is not good for people whose numbers he knows, including mine. I have talked to the officers in his unit a couple of times, and they are working to keep him as limited as possible on the phone. He phones his girlfriend dozens of times each day, and has called the police and ambulance enough times to get her kicked out of her apartment (I understand that she has received a one month reprieve, and now needs to be out at the end of February.)
The girlfriend, on the other hand, is having a difficult time letting go. She has had some good contact and good advice from the women of a local church, as well as from people at Family Services and myself. She feels a lot of guilt and has become a mother-figure in this man's life. This makes it tough for her to let go and move on, even though her health and life have been in danger in the past. This saga is ongoing, and I don't know what my part in it will be in the future. I feel I am at the end of the line, as both of them have heard and agreed with what I have said, but still choose to go in a very different direction.
I have also had a chance to connect with a few ex-inmates, including one who is living in Calgary right now and doing quite well. This is ALWAYS encouraging to see. I have also had news about three other men who are back in the community and who I have worked/am working with. All three have jobs and are doing what they can to gain independence and build a new life.
I meet weekly with a group of people from my former church in a loose accountability group. We discuss church life, chaplaincy life, and many other things. It is always good to see them.
Others I've had a chance to talk to in the last week are Helmut Isaac and Fr. Ted Hughes. Helmut runs the P2P organization, and we meet every Monday with "Forward Step" as well as chatting on the phone or in person at least three times a week.
Although I don't have as much contact as that with Fr. Ted, it is always good to talk to him listen to stories of his life in corrections and other experiences. As I write, he is sitting on the beach in the Dominican Republic
(I think??), so we all need to feel sorry for him (...pause...) NOT!!
Although I am not in the office as much as I would like to be, it is always good to be there. I've had the chance for a few coffees and lunches there in the last 10 days or so, and managed to do a little reading, design some new business cards, and make use of the prayer room, which is right across the hall from my office.
I am currently involved in two different church movements. One is Lakewood Baptist Church
, where I continue to preach about twice a month. I find that the work I do with chaplaincy carries over strongly into my approach to preaching. The love and grace of God is so needed with all of us, not just those who are on the fringes of society. I am thankful for the chance I have to continue to do this.
I am also involves in a church plant through the Free Methodist Church in Canada
. The idea for Church of the Exiles
was born about a year ago, and we have been meeting every week since then, getting ready for our official start in the next few weeks. This venture came out of our desire to reach out to people who either are not interested in church, or who are held out by more traditional churches. I am excited to see how God will work here, and how chaplaincy and the Exiles Church can work together.
Another person that I connect often with is Jordon Cooper
. Along with being the driving force behind Exiles, he works at the Salvation Army halfway house, so we have a lot in common and know a lot of the same people from there. Our conversation always drifts back to "So...how's Jimmy doing?". "He's back in for another three months." "Yeah, I thought so."
In between all this, I try and read a little, although that usually happens after the rest of the family is in bed.
Thanks to all of you who read this. Pass the link along to someone who you think would be interested. Take care.