Shaped by God
Monday, March 6
Dorie Griggs, member of RPC since 2005
Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest. - Luke 12:22 (NRSV)
When I was a student at Columbia Theological Seminary I struggled to identify my particular call. I began with a vague sense that I was supposed to help people, but I wasn't sure how. I never really felt I was being called to traditional church ministry. Through a very positive experience as a student minister at Northminster Presbyterian Church I began to wonder if in fact I was called to congregational ministry. Then I experienced a series of events that led me to my calling.
In a pastoral care class where we were learning about self-care I began to draw correlations between what we as soon-to-be ministers were learning about self-care, and the stories my friends who are journalists told me about their stories. Both sets of people listened to people struggling. Ministers hear all types of scenarios from their parishioners. Journalists listen to all types of stories often times from people who have been through terrible events. That is when I began to ask more questions. I know seminary students are encouraged to have a support system in place, but what about journalists. They are often on the ground shoulder-to-shoulder with first responders. How do they deal with the tragedies they witness?
I began to research the topic of journalism and trauma and found the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. They are not a faith-based organization, but the leadership appreciated my background and we began to correspond. The Clinical Pastoral Education supervisor at St. Luke's Training and Counseling Center interviewed me for a spot in her CPE group for my last year in seminary. My context for ministry was journalists. My classmates worked with the homeless in downtown Atlanta. My CTS classmates would say things like, "What do journalists need a chaplain for? And isn't that a really small niche?" No one seemed to understand, that is until 9/11 happened two weeks before I was to begin my year as a Chaplain to Journalists.
After 9/11 the same skeptics came to me in appreciation for my ministry. They watched the reports in the days and weeks following 9/11 and saw just how hard it was for all of the reporters to report on this tragedy. A professor on campus called me over as he walked with a visiting scholar. He introduced me, and my ministry to journalists, as being very forward thinking in the world of ministry outreach. God showed me where I was called in small steps that are still evolving.
Gracious and loving God, Please keep my heart and mind open to the opportunities you put in front of me. Amen.
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