Advice for new Pastors

Subtitle: How I almost failed my vicarage (If my supervising pastor had found out.)

Early in my vicarage, my supervising pastor took me around to visit the homebound.  He personally introduced me to all but one of them.  She lived in a nursing home, and when we arrived at the door she was asleep, so he gestured to her (she was in the right-hand bed) and we moved on.  For a year I faithfully visited at my scheduled time.  She never said much.  Or really anything at all.  She would wake briefly, I would read a verse of scripture and pray with her, and then move on.

Two weeks before my vicarage was ended, I again stopped in to visit.  But on my way toward her room one of the CNA’s asked if she could help.  I told her who I was visiting.  She said, “I’ll take you to her.”  Now, of course I didn’t need to be taken to her.  I had visited her for a year.  But I did not want to appear rude, so I let her lead me into the room.  (You see where this is heading, right?)

Much to my surprise and chagrin, she moved to the bed on the left, and introduced me.  We had a lovely, if somewhat awkward chat – although I did not mention the mistaken identity, and she was not aware of it.

The moral of the story: Always make sure that someone personally introduces,  or that you in some other way confirm the identity of your infirm members.

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