Welcome to the Rivers & Lakes Presbytery website. We are delighted to tell you about ourselves and to invite you to participate with us in Christ’s mission. – Paul Heidebrecht, Stated Clerk of Rivers & Lakes Presbytery – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ted and Caroline Tromble
Ted Tromble, pastor of Christ Alone Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin, starts every weekday at Aurora Bay Medical Center where he serves as a part-time chaplain. From 6-10 a.m., he visits patients in “Pre-Op” offering words of encouragement along with a brief prayer and Scripture reading. He also chairs the General Assembly’s Chaplains Work & Care Committee which oversees the endorsements of all EPC chaplains. His wife, Caroline, serves on our Ministerial Committee and is a key leader at Christ Alone.
Ted, how did you become involved in hospital chaplaincy ministry?
Eight years ago I began course work in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) because I was not sure I would be able to continue as a pastor in my former denomination. I also wanted to gain chaplaincy skills that I could share with my congregation. I discovered what an amazing ministry chaplaincy can be especially in our increasingly secular culture.
Chaplains meet people in crisis, in their time of need, when they are open to questions about the purpose of life and their mortality. They can ask the question, Where is God in all of this? They are allowed to approach the sacred, personal, private places of the soul.
Are there restrictions on what you can do or say?
Chaplains are not allowed to proselytize, but there really are no restrictions. It all depends on how you approach a person. I always ask, Would you like a prayer? Would you like me to read a verse of Scripture? Not everyone says Yes, but many do. My job as chaplain is to help patients draw on the resources available to them to get through the challenge they are facing, and these are primarily spiritual resources.
It’s really quite amazing how secular institutions give us opportunities to meet people in their times of vulnerability and be there in the name of Christ.
How does your work on the denominational committee fit into this?
Until I got on the Chaplains Work & Care Committee, I didn’t realize how significant it is that the EPC endorses chaplains. Many of our chaplains have told me they feel validated in their ministry because of the EPC. And the EPC has a reputation for endorsing excellent chaplains. We have maintained high standards for the men and women who serve in the military as well is in hospitals, hospice care and police forces. I credit Mark Jumper who used to be in our presbytery for raising the profile of chaplains in the EPC. The CWCC and our chaplain endorser, Mark Ingles, are doing valuable work for our church.
Do you recommend combining pastoral and chaplaincy ministry?
My primary call is to my congregation. Chaplaincy is a major commitment but extremely satisfying. I have the most remarkable conversations with people almost every day, and I witness the work of God’s Spirit all the time.
At Christ Alone, we have just gone through a revitalization process to determine how God wants to use our church in the greater Green Bay area and throughout the world. We identified five core ministries to enable us to introduce people to the life-transforming Jesus in an ever-changing world.