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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Chaplains curb work worries

What worries you at work? Health problems? Another terrorist attack? Relationship problems? Although you try to leave your personal life at home, it creeps into your workday thoughts.

Enter the phenomenon of the workplace chaplain.

"You take your problems to work and your work problems home with you," says Gerald W. Montgomery, chaplain of the Boeing Fire Department in Everett, Wash. Montgomery describes himself as a "country parson" to a "city" of 80,000 employees. It's common for him to make hospital visits, marry employees or help someone through a divorce.

Workplace chaplains should meet the qualifications of an employee assistance provider who offers counseling and be able to "relate to the rank-and-file as well as the management," says Diana Dale, director of the Worklife Institute in Houston.

Both Dale and Montgomery say accessibility and confidentiality bring employees to chaplains.

Under law, chaplains may not evangelize. Montgomery says he talks about faith if he's asked how he copes.




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