NIBIC NEWS:  December 2017

Greetings from Houston, TX and the NIBIC headquarters at Worklife Institute.  We hope you are having a meaningful and joyful Season.  January 4-11, I will be in Washington, D.C. for the annual Endorsers’ and Cognate pastoral care groups meetings, representing NIBIC plus my own faith group, so if you have interests or concerns about the spiritual care movement that you wish to pass on to me, please let me know before I leave.

New Member: We welcome Vona Rose Wilson as a new Clinical Member from Franklin, Tennessee.  She is endorsed by the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education & Ministry and serves as the Chaplain of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee.  She is responsible for establishing systems and processes to provide for approximately 3,000 employees.  The YMCA serves over 25,000 members in Middle Tennessee.  Please reach out to her.  Vona’s contact information is:

Member News from Karen Diefendorf: The Annual Chaplain Training Conference for Tyson Foods, Inc. was held October 2-5, 2017.  The theme was ‘Putting the Pieces Together.’  We kicked off the training with an opening BBQ meal and team building exercise with chaplains building rain gutter long banana splits!  As the new Director, I gave the opening address titled, ‘Where Does My Leadership Fit?’ and shared my philosophy of leadership as it relates to Tyson’s goals.  Tuesday was filled with various workshops and briefings.  Wednesday was a full day of training on the Blended Family by Dr. Ron Deal.  Thursday morning we wrapped up with an introduction of the new Regional Mentoring and Training Program to begin this January.  I have heard a lot of good feedback and excitement about where we are going.  I am thrilled to be in this position and ready to soon begin my second year.  Hard to believe that the first year is almost over.

Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling: Alan Harris continues to represent NIBIC well as our representative on the Journal of Pastoral Care Publication’s Board of Managers.  They now hold their meetings “virtually”, by teleconference.  He and I exchange information before and after the meetings.  NIBIC is up to date on its annual assessment, thanks to the members who turned in their dues this year.  For his own ministry, Alan is active as a staff chaplain and bereavement coordinator with Crossroads Hospice in Kansas City.

Greg Edwards, our treasurer and web site keeper, Alan and I have been in discussion about the continuing problems some of our members are having accessing the Journal from our NIBIC website.  He reports that the publisher, SAGE, tells us that the web site hosting location Greg uses does not allow the necessary security code that SAGE uses to get through their security wall to be placed on our web site.   Greg and Alan cannot access the Journal, but now for some reason, I can.  So, I strongly recommend that we switch to another service that is user and editor-friendly.  Worklife Institute uses Go Daddy.  If you have a good service, please suggest it, ASAP.

As a stop-gap, I can offer a service to those of you who are current with your 2017 dues.  I have downloaded all the articles from the December 2017 edition and can send an online copy of any particular article you want to read.

Following is a list of the current articles:  Editorial – Cultural Resilience; Jung’s Ethics; Grief – Fowler’s Stages; Eternal Life; A day in the life of a Mayo Chaplain; Frames for the Future – training; Faith-based understanding of Moral Injury; Return to Babel; Transcendental experiences vs. mental illness; Pastoral Practitioner.

Hurricane Harvey – Disaster Response Case Study:  Many of you inquired about how we and Houston were doing after Hurricane Harvey struck the last weekend of August.  The Institute is on high ground so got no rising water, but, being on the top floor, we did get a lot of water coming through the ceiling.  This has happened for the past nine years since Hurricane Ike whenever we have heavy storms, so building management knows to haul in new ceiling tiles.

Another staff member and I were able to get to the Institute Resource Center after the roads cleared in the neighborhood and set up a “Welcome Center”, let our clients know we care about them, find out how they were impacted and start with direct aid and referrals.  Within an hour we had almost 100 folks check in.   Many of them were forced from their flooded and unlivable homes, had their cars flooded (est. 500,000 vehicles under water), lost clothing and furniture and many lost their jobs due to the damage to their workplaces, loss of supply chain and customers.

The first round of Harvey Relief grants was given out to selected large agencies that deal with rehousing.  The second round was not given out until November 15th, but we were allowed to bid and won a grant to help people in Harris County become reemployed and provide supportive trauma counseling services, METRO and gas cards and respite space at the Institute.  Until then, we cared for large numbers on the existing funds we had on hand.

We discovered quickly after Harvey that the Insurance, FEMA, Small Business Administration loan program cycle is a quagmire, so we upped our learning curve and began assisting clients to submit their FEMA appeals and look for alternative sources of aid.  Systematically, we have fielded situations in which home, renters and car insurance carriers write damage estimates for less than their deductibles or denied them because of rising water rather than falling water, or that their mold-filled homes are “habitable”.   Next step is FEMA, and the majority of our clients are being turned down or at best given funding far less that what is needed to do the necessary repairs, and then FEMA refers them on the SBA for a home repair or small business loan.  For those on fixed incomes or with low credit scores, this is not an option they can take.

Even more frustrating is that the majority of the $29 MM in the second Harvey Relief Fund was given to large, complex agencies to provide case management, housing repair, and financial assistance.  We have the print-out of services by agency and ZIP Code, but as we refer clients, they have been turned down or have gotten little response, being put into long waiting lists.  We and United Way 211 management have gotten together and discovered that this pattern appears to be area-wide.  FEMA support for hotel housing ends January 16th.  What is certain to all is that Harvey Recovery will be a long process, lasting years.  I know the same is true for the Irma-impacted and particularly for Puerto Rico.  Do keep the people affected in all these areas in supportive prayer.

We have also experienced how “secondary” trauma impacts the entire community.  Since the beginning of the response, we have encountered grouchy, numbed-out social service providers and are trying to take care of ourselves so that we don’t fall into that trap.  On the other hand, we witnessed the tremendous outpouring of neighbors helping neighbors and resiliency, aided, of course, by the Astros winning the World Series. The Institute is decked out for the holidays and offering hospitality, and we will be taking extra time at Christmas to chill out and enjoy company.

Let’s stay in touch with each other and please send in news from your own region.  In January we will be sending out the 2018 Directory Update and Dues form, so please be responsive.  Have a wonderful rest of the Holiday Season and start of the New Year.

Diana C. Dale, D.Min., Ph.D.
Executive Director, NIBIC

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