terminally ill pastor

Specialties Parish


Looking for suggestions and ideas to assist the congregation in preparing for the death of our pastor. He has been fighting multiple myeloma for five years and has reached the end of treatment. He has been very open as to his illness and long range prognosis from the beginning but because he has remained so active most are in denial most of the time. A round of shingles in June, and a bout of dehydration last week has pushed it to the forefront. I had hoped to have the chaplin from hospice for a program when we start our weekly fellowship times in October. Any other ideas?

JUst realized I should update this. Warren died on October 24, 1998 in the late evening. He had preached the preceeding Sunday. The church is in the healing process. We did have the hospice chapline in for a program in early October and a social worker from hospice in Novemeber. We now have an interim pastor and are working through the loss. Thought we were doing well and then a week ago it became appearent we are still looking for Warren to be our leader. I know healing takes time but some want to rush.

[This message has been edited by Pam Evans RN MN (edited June 26, 1999).]


1 Post

Dear Pam:

The situation you describe is a difficult one and I cannot help but see a parallel between it and the one our parish has recently gone through following the move of our pastor of 18 years. The grief process has been showing itself in a variety of ways that were unable to predict, and it has required a strength of lay leadership that has been difficult to maintain. I wonder if what you have to do will be more evident later on. I think that the skills of a hospice chaplain would be helpful but is your pastor open to this? It could be difficult for him and yet, it might be helpful. In answering your post, I cannot come to a firm conclusion and I guess the best advice I can give you is that prayer and presence are essential. I wish you God's peace and blessings in your struggle.

Pam Shamess, R.N.

Parish Nurse

Kingston, Ontario

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