A Reflection: One Year of Professional Support Calls
The month of March marks a year anniversary when the COVID pandemic hit our area. It has been a difficult and traumatic year for most of us, filled with changes which include an assortment of losses. Our professional practice has been truly challenged this past year. As the pandemic began, our APC Board saw the intensity of it on our memberships’ professional practice, and it sparked us to use technology in a new way. Our APC office staff were quick to help us create virtual support sessions. Our board members were asked to facilitate these sessions and we were eager to do so because it gave us a meaningful way to reach out during this difficult time. I remember in my first session how one of our NYC chaplains spoke of feeling like a military chaplain helping staff face their fears and live into their callings; and at the same time he shared that he was trying to face his own fears and live into his calling. It was heavy to hear the burdens our colleagues were being pressed with; and at the same time it gave me great pride that our colleagues and our profession was stepping into the fray of difficulty to do what we can and growing as we practiced professional spiritual care through this fire.
It also marks the year anniversary since we started the virtual professional support sessions, and we have had held over 120 professional support sessions serving more than 1.500 members. I continue to facilitate one of these sessions per month and I find them very helpful. I am learning a lot as we all share our challenges, successes, and opportunities. One valuable lesson for me is how community is essential to our holistic health. I believe having a physical community is best, yet it is not always available-especially in a pandemic. I also realize that it may not be possible for some because where one lives is isolated from a community of professional chaplains. Therefore, these virtual support sessions are helping many have community they did not have before. As I continue to participate in these sessions, I am finding them more and more helpful to me personally and professionally; i.e. they are allowing me to share my professional journey with others through the pandemic. If you have not participated in one of our APC professional support sessions, please give one a try.
All Professional Support calls can be found on the APC Events page.
Joseph Perez MDiv BCC is the Vice President for Mission & Ministry at Valley Baptist Health System in Harlingen & Brownsville, TX. He is a past-President of the APC Board and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.