Marge Wentland

Grief Requiring Pastoral Care

Mary WentlandMy name is Marge Wentland. I am currently a chaplain at the Saint Cloud Hospital in Saint Cloud, Minnesota.

I've always wanted to serve God's people. When I lost my father and sister to Him, exposing me first hand to a situation of grief requiring pastoral care, I took time off to pray and discern. What's next? God led me to a decision to volunteer in hospice care which I loved. At a Hospice conference, I heard a chaplain speak, and it hit me. This is God's call for me! I'm supposed to become a chaplain.

A friend mentioned Saint John's School of Theology·Seminary to me, so I called and found out they could help me complete my training in less than the expected twelve years. Every door was opening. Surely I was on the right path God intended for me to take. I remember those two years of discernment, working and volunteering for Hospice, saying, "God, surprise me! Surprise me! What's next?" And, all of a sudden, the School of Theology·Seminary was my big surprise.

Recently, I met a woman who had multiple health issues, which she attributed to God's punishing her for having lived a sinful life. Knowing that she was fond of her pet birds, I asked her whether she'd break one of their wings if one of them did something wrong and she just laughed, saying "of course not." Starting with this analogy, I was able to tell her about God's great love for her and how much more loving He is toward us than we can be toward each other, or our pets. When I left her that afternoon, I sensed that she was a great deal calmer than when we'd begun talking about her fear of death. I later found that she died the next morning and I believe it was important that I had a chance to share God's love with her the day before she died. Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary has given me the ministerial skills I need to model God's love to others in ways like this, and I'm so grateful for that.

In fact, my experience at the School of Theology and Seminary has transformed me in a number of ways. I've grown so much academically, spiritually, pastorally, and interpersonally - being with others, learning from others, appreciating differences. All of this would not have been possible without financial help. I am so thankful to those who bless the school and in turn have blessed me. My experience at the Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary gave me the confidence and tools I need to serve God's people as a better pastoral minister.

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