Your stand as demonstrated in the interview and in your responses to replies impressed me as being articulated with such grace, inclusiveness, consideration for others, integrity, and the patience of (and with) the saints. The LORD is obviously blessing and affirming your ministry, and it sounds as though you have found a satisfying, worthwhile, and challenging niche in hospice chaplaincy. Since the Deity is rewarding your intelligent, faithful, spiritual, sensitive, and godly efforts, why in heaven’s name is the Church on earth keeping the kingdom supposedly closed with its keys? You are injuring no one and are manifestly pro-active for the good of so many others. And your career and increased effectiveness are stalled because of lack of necessary and deserved recognition.
My late Mother went through hospice and was laid to rest in the Lord as gently as possible. I know what a comfort it is to have support at such a time. Are not those on the right hand of favor at the second coming commended for visiting the sick? Are they instead given a questionnaire or told to wait in limbo? I do not see how anyone’s interest’s, or the church’s either are served by this travesty of justice in regard to your earnest and faithful service.
I have been told by those coming from an area of the country where they might otherwise have discriminated that when wounded in battle it didn’t matter to them at all that they were cared for by one of another race; indeed it ever afterward made them as close to that person as to a brother.
Amazing how one can sometimes find more welcoming, friendly, caring fellowship outside of one’s own denomination. From 2011 through the end of this year I came to be a regular part of the choirs of another church (I won’t say faith–there is one faith) These warm and caring people supported me through their prayers and interest, whether they believed as I did or not, while I went, as it was soon to turn out, through the sad wrench of divorce, for which I was criticized by my own church members; and not long after, through the slow demise of my cherished Mother. God used the experiences with these other choirs to sustain my life during its trying ordeals through the fellowship of the choir members, the spirituality of the directors, and the Biblical content of the music we sang. I stayed with my Mother on Sabbaths in order to free up other family members for church responsibilities. Toward the end of this period, when members noticed that I was not rehearsing with our choir on Sabbath afternoons, the question was raised as to why; and it was related to them that it was “because” I was singing with the [*] church choir–not at all the reason.–The latter met Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays, and there was no conflict. (I was not rehearsing with the SDAs because I was at Mother’s side to cheer her Sabbaths.) The revelation of my supposed straying caused consternation in the ranks, as people began to fear for my salvation and some came to labor with me about it, when earlier no attention or support had been given me while I cared for Mother. Since I was worshiping on a “false Sabbath,” there was indeed true concern for me, concern that I appreciated, from those who spoke up to talk to me about it. Others simply were stand-offish with me, evidently thinking me less spiritual for my prolonged absence, when I began to come back to our services again after Mother’s death. I had also been told earlier, when asking about some church communal activity of interest, that If I would attend, I would know what was going on at church. These attitudes grieved me during increasingly difficult times, and burdened my already taxed energies. I would have been most glad for your skilled and well qualified ministry at such a time, Terence; and I felt keenly the loss of support from and standing in my local church. Fortunately, as you say, the Lord’s affirmation is of infinite value, and His undergirding strength, essential. He used the other choirs in a wonderful way, though, in addition to giving me His stamina and courage and help in my personal relationship with Him.