Among other things, I’m the local Fire Dept. chaplain. I responded to a house fire last night. It was not big, and except for the smell of smoke and the need to turn off power until an electrician can do some rewiring, not much harm was done. Just the same, it was a traumatic experience for the elderly couple who live there. I’ve got a routine at these scenes: find out where the family is, check on how they are doing starting with the those standing closest to the action and moving back to the those farthest away. As I go I ask questions about their well being, is everyone accounted for, do they need to contact anyone, are they on any medications or under a doctor’s care. I answer their questions about what is going on, why is this or that happening, and what will happen next. Eventually I ask if they have a pastor or are a part of a faith community that would be of help. The answer I got last night was fairly typical.
“Oh yes, we’re believers. No we don’t have a church or pastor. We have not found a church since we moved here.”
“When did you move here?”
“Forty-one years ago.”
What do you make of that?