Sat., June 9, 2018
Psalm 16:1 – Protect me, God, because I take refuge in you.
I never anticipated having a polo shirt with these words on it: Chaplain Vielhuber and Poynette Police Department. But I do.
This winter, our local Poynette Police Department started a volunteer chaplaincy program. I was asked to be a part it. I think it’s important to be involved in the local community, so I agreed. Along with three other local clergy, we comprise the Poynette Police Chaplaincy Program.
One day for each of the last three months, we attended training provided by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Seasoned chaplains guided us in our new roles. We were encouraged to ride-along with local police. This has been a great way to understand the department, local officers and our role as chaplains.
The clergy volunteer to be on-call for two-week increments. I am currently on call. Unfortunately, my first opportunity to serve was an epic fail.
My phone rang Thursday night. Hubby Rick and I were about 30 minutes from home. I had just dropped off Mr. Jeep for his summer adventure. Rick had been golfing with a couple buddies. I joined them for dinner. An officer called and asked if I could assist in a death notification to a family. The conversation continued:
Me: Sure, would love to. Unfortunately, I’m 30 minutes away. I will hop in the car right now …
Officer: Maybe I should see if one of the other clergy is available.
Me: OK. Please let me know what you find out. But I can start driving now.
Officer: Just wait. I’ll call you back.
He called back. Another clergy was available and was on his way to assist.
While I was thankful another clergy was nearby, I felt crappy. I had an opportunity to serve … and it hadn’t worked out.
I know. There will be another time when the on-call clergy won’t be immediately available. I will have an opportunity to step-in. But in the moment, I would have preferred to be available when the call came.
Friday, I saw the officer who had called me the previous night. He assured me everything had worked out fine. I thanked him for contacting me and asked he call again.
By becoming involved in our local police department, it has been confirmed these positions are under-rated. Law enforcement personal work rotating shifts and deal with situations no one yearns to be a part of. They are the ones charged with protecting our community. As a chaplain, I am to support them and be a safe place for them to land if need be. As God protects me, I pray that I can be an extension of God’s protection to others.
On Friday, I received my official chaplain polo shirt. I still am amazed the words police – chaplain – Vielhuber are all on one shirt. It is a new adventure I never expected.
Yet, for this opportunity, I am grateful.
Lord God – thank you for the people who have been called to protect and serve our communities: police, firefighters, EMT’s and others. I pray they see themselves as extensions of your cloud of protection. I lift up those families who have been lost a loved one in a line-of-duty incidence. May your grace be especially with them. Amen.
If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.