Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Meeting Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen and exploring the possibility of becoming certified by the Association of Mental Hospital Chaplains was exciting to me.  I was an ordained elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ, but I did not have a seminary degree.  I did not even have a college degree.  I also had several psychiatric labels.  My pitch to them was that the father of psychiatric hospital chaplains was a person with a label.  You can read about Anton Boisen here. ANTON T. BOISEN: A Forgotten and Committed Advocate As you can see from the letter above the Rabbi agreed that it was worth trying.

My goal was to be able to work as a chaplain at South Florida State Hospital.  I never got the chance to do that in any official capacity, but I did get a chance to do it in my own small way on several occasions both with folks living there and with folks working there.

I would have loved to have broken the barrier and gotten peer chaplains certified whether they were trained as I was on the job or in a seminary.  On the mission field in Africa I started preaching as a teen.  I held my first church here in the states before I finished high school.  Peer chaplains have a lot to contribute to the team in psychiatric hospitals and to the teams in community mental health centers.

© Ed Cooper, 12-20-2016, Stoney Creek, Appalachia

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