Rev. Dr. Johnny Jeffords, Director of The Center for Pastoral Wholeness and Chaplaincy Studies at MTS

Rev. Dr. Johnny Jeffords writes with an update on The Center for Pastoral Wholeness & Chaplaincy Studies at MTS:

“The early days of CPWCS have been focused on making connections and building an infrastructure to serve our students seeking a specialization in Chaplaincy Studies.  In our collaboration with The Center for Chaplaincy Studies in Chicago, we have a wellspring of course material for those seeking chaplaincy as their call, including Introduction to Chaplaincy Studies which will be offered in the Spring of 2023.

I’ve also been able to speak with a number of our alums who serve as chaplains across the many ways that can be lived out.  If you are an alum and a chaplain, I want to know who you are, hear your story, and receive your input on what type of resources our Center can provide to support and sustain you in your work.  I’d love to have conversation with you.  In person, Zoom, it’s up to you. Email me at jljeffords@memphisseminary.edu and let’s confer. 

Another area The Center is focused on is more broadly community-based. That is, how can congregations understand themselves as chaplains in their communities?  Among the multitude of issues that can be addressed is ministry with and among the aging, especially those living with Alzheimer’s/dementia and other cognitively diminishing diseases. Pastoral wholeness carries a multitude of meanings, not least of which is how congregations can demonstrate pastoral care to one another.  

To that end, in the Spring of 2023, in collaboration with retired Bishop Ken Carder of The United Methodist Church, we will be offering a course titled “Dementia Through a Theological Pastoral Lens.” Over time the intention is to develop specific resources for congregations to minister with and among their congregants who live daily with these diseases. Course details to come.