support guidE




As leaders of faith you are often called to enter into the holy space of lives coming undone, such as the waiting room, the hospital room, or even the dreaded family rooms. You are so brave to enter into these spaces, realizing you may be the only person who enters into this room who has no agenda, no answers to give, no blood to take, no updates to share. You are the courageous one entering into the chaos bringing only love and compassion. This is the work of a Chaplain.

We are so thankful for the hands you will hold, the prayers you will pray, for the stories you will carry, for the goodbyes you will say. Your calling to sit in this duality of suffering and love is a heavy weight to carry. We have put together a small support guide of resources, language, and encouragement to help you to answer these callings day after day, to enter into those rooms and keep loving those children of God. 

Bless you my dear, 


A blessing for when it’s too much to handle

God, our bodies remember the sleepless nights and cold sweats and unrelenting stress.
Show us how to process all that we suffer.

“How frail is humanity!
How short is life, How full of trouble!”
—Job 14:1, NLT

Blessed are we, when we decide to make room for all of it,
the fear and the gratitude, the complexity and the suffering.

Blessed are we who pour out to you the whole of it—
unedited, all the terrible truths and fears and what-ifs.

The gratitude for those beautiful hearts in action who came willingly,
into the strange and awkward space that is my need.

Blessed are we, learning as humans together that pain is inevitable,
nurses are wonderful, hospitals are loud,

people are brave.

And we grow and we hurt and we heal, and then we will do it all over again.

Because this beautiful paradox

is what it means to be human.

Adapted for a communal setting from THE LIVES WE ACTUALLY HAVE.

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Kate speaks with writer Kelly Corrigan on how to be present even through the hardest moments.

You can listen to their conversation, here.


Director Luke Lorentzen’s A Still Small Voice follows Mati, a chaplain completing a year-long hospital residency, as she learns to provide spiritual care to people confronting profound life changes. Through Mati’s experiences with her patients, her struggle with professional burnout, and her own spiritual questioning, we gain new perspectives on how meaningful connection can be and how painful its absence is.

This is the official trailer for this documentary. For more information go to


Finding Jesus in the Storm

The Spiritual Lives of Christians with Mental Health Challenges

Disability theologian John Swinton explores the lived experiences and faith journeys of people living with chronic depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental health diagnoses. This book invites the Church to more fully embrace those whose stories both complicate and enrich faith.


With the End in Mind

Dying, Death & Wisdom in an Age of Denial

Dr. Kathryn Mannix has studied and practiced palliative care for thirty years. In With the End in Mind , she shares beautifully crafted stories from a lifetime of caring for the dying, and makes a compelling case for the therapeutic power of approaching death not with trepidation, but with openness, clarity, and understanding.


The Body Keeps the Score

Brain, Mind, and Body In the Healing of Trauma

In this best-selling work, Bessel van der Kolk examines the ways that our bodies store and process trauma over time, even across the span of generations. Van der Kolk brings his background as a researcher and psychiatrist into conversation with some of our most troubling contemporary questions regarding trauma-informed care. 


Between Two Kingdoms

A Memoir of Life Interrupted

Cancer-survivor Suleika Jaouad explores her journey between two worlds and examines her own survivorship in the kingdom of the sick. Using the lens of dual citizenship, Jaouad engages her ongoing work to pursue survival, healing, and honesty in the years following cancer treatment. 

“It sounds like so much of what we learn from the nature of trauma is [that] it gets down to the question of who are we to one another and how do we manage the pain and the beauty of that interdependence.”

—From Kate’s conversation with Bessel Van Der Kolk, on the episode, Our Bodies Keep The Score, Everything Happens Podcast


Tom Long: Number our Days

Tom Long talks with Kate about how we can learn to journey with families and communities through death. What true things can we say in the face of death, particularly when loved ones die in difficult circumstances or carry painful realities? Examining funerals as ritual care, Kate and Tom describe the necessity of ritual in drawing us into a wider, truer story than the trite version our culture likes to tell us.


Sunita Puri:
The Uncertainty Specialist

Kate interviews palliative care physician Dr. Sunita Puri to ask questions about pain, comfort, and the limits of modern medicine. Together, they explore what palliative care is and is not. Palliative medicine is about finding compassionate and precise ways to give voice to life’s hardest subjects: what it means to live a good life and to die well, what we want our lives to look like when we are seriously ill, and the ways we would want our bodies and souls handled when our bodies approach their natural limits.  


Sister Helen Prejean:
The Face of Love

Kate talks with Sister Helen to discuss how to love others in all their particularity, especially when those we love are battling social injustice. Sister Helen’s pen-pal friendship with death-row inmate Patrick Sonnier transformed her life and gave rise to the book Dead Men Walking. Together, Kate and Sister Helen examine tough questions about love, presence, and advocacy. How can spiritual caregivers show up our most vulnerable neighbors and accompany them through unjust systems?


Rabbi Steve Leder:
Don’t Come Out Empty-Handed

Drawing upon his Jewish faith and decades of ministering to families in crisis, Steve Leder speaks with Kate about the beauty and complexity of grief work. How do you show up for people in grief? What do you say or do? Rabbi Leder and Kate share stories about their own loved ones and invite listeners to tell honest and complicated truths in the face of grief.


If you need a reminder to feel it all or you would like to pass this reminder along to someone you love, click on the image below. Then save, print, or set as your phone wallpaper.

  1. One of the gifts of a chaplain can be called the “art of presence.” In what ways is presence an art form that you develop and get better at over time? 
  2. Lament is crucial to grief work. Theologians like N.T. Wright have urged faith communities to reclaim lament as a practice. As a chaplain, how do you invite others to grieve honestly? In what ways are you honoring the need for lament? 
  3. How do we create spaces of deeper belonging and friendship in a world without easy answers? How do you work to create spaces of belonging in complex environments like hospitals, rehab communities, or hospice facilities?