Mark Buchanan, M. Div., CPE Trained Chaplain, Ordained Clergy
As a Chaplain, my support of cancer patients rests upon the conviction that life is a precious gift. Through this lens every life is valuable and every interaction is an opportunity to share the gift of the present moment with another. This perspective awakens the opportunity to be present with another’s genuine self and the joy and sorrow it holds. As we are present with one another we can share in each other’s lives. This deep inward sharing enables empathy, respect, compassion, hope and love. This sharing opens the door to life-giving dialogue which facilitates needed adjustment to unwanted suffering and new pathways toward fulfillment.
I view every patient’s life as a precious gift that has great value. I affirm every patient’s uniqueness. I acknowledge that each patient’s cultural values, social customs, spiritual and religious beliefs equip them to uniquely fulfill their gift of life. As I acknowledge this diversity my care of patients is grounded in respect. As patients are respected they become comfortable sharing the distress of dealing with an unwanted illness. When I am invited into a patient’s experience, I enter not as a host but as a guest who respectfully waits for an explanation of the patient’s inward experience. Only as I am able to truly listen while gaining understanding, can I compassionately respond. My ability to respectfully be with a patient’s physical, emotional and spiritual pain gives them access to the healing power of compassion.
Chaplaincy is the outgrowth of a career in the professional ministry. In recent years I have gravitated toward serving as an intercultural, interfaith chaplain. My Clinical Pastoral Education (4 units of CPE Training) and two years as a Chaplain Intern at the Simms Mann Center prepared me to provide psychological, social and spiritual support to religious/spiritual and non-religious patients.
I have transitioned to chaplaincy from a 35 year career as an ordained Presbyterian Pastor serving multi-cultural churches. In my pastoral ministry I enjoyed helping people discover the sacredness of life and discerning their call to serve the needs of others. I was a pioneer in facilitating Anti-Racism Training among congregational leaders and actively engaged in mentoring programs for neighborhood youth.
In my personal life, I love theology, storytelling and the outdoors. I enjoy carpentry, gardening and backpacking. I am a life long student of the theology of hope. I am the author of a collection of stories that narrates hope in every day life. I am married and the father of four children.