Community Chaplain

Community Chaplain

by Rev. Courtney D. Arntzen

Spiritual curiosity and sacred questions exist beyond our church doors among many who are situationally marginalized and/or institutionally suspicious. Where do such spiritual curiosities and sacred questions find a hearing when one is not affiliated with a faith community?

I worked closely with MIC during my years as a pastor. When I tell the story of the Missoula Community Chaplain, it starts with my connection to MIC. After leading a reflection at MIC’s celebration event of music and storytelling, I found myself hearing a different set of stories at the Top Hat while a band played on stage.  I heard stories from individuals who did not know if they would be safe or welcome in a traditional faith community. Yet, they asked big questions about God, faith, and the seeming faithlessness of God’s church. They thanked me for listening and asked if we could meet again. Their request had me wondering: Who will listen to them as they wrestle with big questions? Who will nurture their spirituality? Who will come alongside them where they are?  I wanted to be that person.

Not too long later, I found myself at a Welcome Back Potluck listening to stories of struggle and barriers as well as stories of hope. I wondered again about the barrier that a traditional faith community can be for many people within the Missoula Community. “Who will come alongside these people as they wrestle with questions of meaning or purpose?” I wanted to be that person.

Over the last 17 months, I have found ways to participate and be present for others.  I conducted memorials through the communities of Family Promise and Crosswinds Recovery. I provided a reflective workshop for Common Ground/MIC Core Team Leaders. I offer spiritual check-ins with the women’s house of Crosswinds Recovery and regularly participate with Welcome Back. I see a handful of non-profit employees for one-on-one spiritual companionship as together we explore their spirituality and how it intersects with their life. In all of this, I get to be present with people on their spiritual quest. 

 Over the last year, it became increasingly urgent that accessible spiritual care for those outside a traditional faith community is needed. As a community, we work hard to manage and ensure accessibility for our physical, mental, and emotional health. In the midst of this, my observation is that many ask questions of purpose, meaning, life, and death, questions centered around what they believe about the world, humanity, and many a higher power/god/sacred other. If they do not feel safe or welcome within a community of faith, where do they go? If they don’t have a faith tradition they are familiar with, where do they begin? I hope to be an easily accessible person for those beginning their exploration of faith and spirituality. 

Want to be a part of this work?  

Right now, I am looking for a couple of businesses/non-profits to explore how accessible spiritual care can supplement their employee wellness plan. Please reach out if you are interested in learning more or having me speak/present to a group that you think may be interested in partnering with me. 

As a start-up venture, I am also looking for financial partners to offset the cost of ensuring accessible spiritual care for the broader Missoula community. 

I am grateful to extend my connection with MIC further, as MIC recently agreed to sponsor this work fiscally. 

To financially support Missoula Community Chaplain’s work, please send contributions to MIC with Missoula Community Chaplain in the memo. Mail contributions to 2205 34th St. Missoula, MT 59801

Thank you,

Rev. Courtney D. Arntzen

 

 

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Family Promise

Family Promise in the News!

Learn about Family Promise and where we are headed. Missoulian January 24, 2020

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Uncategorized

We Did It!- Stay At Home Fundraiser 2020

event. Our goal was to raise $20,000 for Family Promise, the Housing Advocate Network, and Missoula Works and you all helped us exceed that goal!  You can continue to send in donations for the Stay At Home event until the end of the year.  

MIC would like to thank the many people who came together to make the Stay At Home fundraiser a success.  

Thank you to the Stay At Home fundraising team: Rebecca, Vicke, Lorraine and Nancy. These three came up with a fundraising concept that worked during COVID. They also coordinated all of the aspects of the event and gave so much of their time and talents to make sure that the event was a success. 

Thank you to the Stay At Home speakers: Courtney and John. Thank you for being there with us all live and making us feel like we truly were all together, even though we were across the country from each other. 

Thank you to our storytellers: Jane, Rachael and Jathan. We appreciate your vulnerability. Thank you for helping us connect our programs to the real-life stories of this work.  

Thank you to our tech wizards: Nancy and Ike. I can assuredly say that we would not have had an event if you were not there. You made the event flow and come to life! 

Thank you to our videographer: David. You took several hours of footage and created beautiful and concise stories for all of us to enjoy.  

Thank you to Immanuel Lutheran Church for sharing your space with us. Thank you to John Floridis for sharing your beautiful music with us.  

Thank you for those who donated door prizes and gifts – we “drew” for prizes and were able to give 40 thank you gifts to those who donated.

Thank you to all of our donors, volunteers, supporters to continuing to walk along side us every day. Many thanks to you all! 

As we come to the close of 2020 one thing is certain. Our relationships with each other are so important. Our connections create light in the darkest of times. Many thanks to you all.  

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HAN

HAN- It’s all about Relationships


               It would be easy to circle the wagons and focus inward on the health and wealth of ourselves and our families during what’s turned out to be a pretty scary year. But if there was ever a time to find creative and resourceful ways to extend support to our neighbors this must be it. By leaning into anxiety and fear – as opposed to keeping their distance – the volunteers at the Housing Advocate Network recognize this irony and continue to work tirelessly to help marginalized community members stay connected to important housing resources.

               Permanent and stable housing is complicated ends for these volunteers, but the means is actually simple: Building relationships.

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Common Ground Missoula, Family Promise, HAN, Missoula Works

Stay at Home Fundraiser

This year has been challenging for all of us, particularly for those who worry about meeting their basic needs, who have health risks and complications, and for those who are isolated and lacking community supports. Even through these challenging times, we have also witnessed the beauty of our community. Neighbors delivering food boxes and finding a way to get essential items to those in need, volunteers continuing to meet in person or on the phone with someone who may just need a listening ear and a bit of reassurance that they are on the right path, nourishing meals and nights spent in congregations even during a pandemic, and hundreds of MIC members coming together week after week to visualize and create a world where equity, civility, relationships, and hope win the day. 

In a normal year, we would celebrate and build relationships with each other

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