My boss and I had a brief, pleasant disagreement about the title of “chaplain.” She (I hope this is a fair summation) worries that certain hospice patients refuse a chaplain’s visit because of the title.
Could introducing someone as a “chaplain” lead to a closed door?
I think my boss is right. And . . . wrong.
Even though she’s correct 98.3% of the time (please tell her I said that), I wonder if the stumbling block is what a chaplain is perceived to represent. Wasn’t Shakespeare correct in “Romeo and Juliet:” What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet? Whether the chaplain is Jewish or Buddhist, a layperson or professional clergy, volunteer or paid, they all carry the fragrance (or stink) of . . .
Since ordination in 1977, I’ve had various titles: deacon, elder, minister, pastor, associate pastor, senior minister, lead minister, new church start pastor, campus minister, hospice chaplain, and currently a bereavement support specialist. When a new hospice staff member or a grieving family member asks about my background, I’ll mention I’m a United Methodist clergy.
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