Chaplain Newsletter 2

Chaplain Newsletter 2

Category : News and Events


      Chaplain Newsletter                                         Vol 1, no. 2  Aug 2019


Well Folks…here’s another attempt to keep you posted and respond to some aspects and issues we face at our St Joe’s Supper Table and our Summer Project for our volunteers and friends!


First, continuing how we can be that special listening and supportive presence… As I mentioned last week we’re all about building team and team work here at St Joe’s, so here’s this week’s tip from Bill Butterworths’, Building Successful Teams (2006). Did you know there are four great barriers to teamwork: the barrier of personal insecurity; the barrier of unhealthy competition; the barrier of non-communication; and the barrier of being afraid to change.


This first barrier limits the team effectiveness as a result of each member’s personal issues we bring to the group. Fear, lack of confidence, anxiety and defensiveness are all signs that someone is feeling insecure. Few of us are trained therapists, so we have to be careful, but sometimes bringing in a professional or making resources available can help. Often, people just need to know they are on equal footing, and with open, honest communication based on a healthy respect for one another can improve a lot the effectiveness of the team. Another way to combat insecurity in team leaders as well as the team is to make a distinction between acceptance and approval. It is realizing that approval is based on performance while acceptance, on the other hand, is based on personal worth. And a wise team leader communicates unconditional acceptance of each team member regardless of performance. Being accepted for who we are naturally frees us up to work more diligently on the task at hand. Even becoming friends of sorts, with the team can go a long way as long as we respect certain boundaries of professional respect. When we put our personal insecurities on the shelf for the good of the team, the team will actually help us deal with some of them amazingly, is how things often work out!


Next, there are many types of competition that seep into non-profit organizations that are part of our society but that are not very helpful here. It can be a misperception that we are competing against fellow team members for importance or self-worth. But as there is a difference between healthy and unhealthy competition, our type of work (or helping ministry) is actually trying to complement one another with our strengths and weaknesses. Unhealthy team boundaries are when infighting, personal insecurities, gossip, and lack of camaraderie get out of hand, and overtake an efficiently functioning team that quickly turn it sour, especially if we are only doing this for ourselves. In other words, that our motive springs from selfishness. Rather, who are we here for in the case of St Joe’s Supper Table? Those who are the working poor, the lonely, the disadvantaged, the addicted and the broken who we seek to offer the love and acceptance (compassion) of Jesus our founder and chief CEO. And in the end, we benefit from helping those who come here because we cared enough to be here volunteering and  learning from them about life—the good and the bad.


One of the most common struggles all teams face is the inability to communicate effectively. Whether it’s a language barrier or poor communication in a marriage or with a boss, it’s often like the memorable words from the movie Cool Hand Luke, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate!” So what usually happens is what’s called ‘linear communication’ where one the sender (does all the talking) and the other receiver (does all the listening). But the more effective option of course is what is called ‘circular communication’ in which each person, in effect switches roles, acting as both sender and receiver. Of course, how we use words and their meaning is important, because the same word can mean different things to other people. So there is a need to decode our encoding by reframing what we thought we hear to see if that’s what the other person really meant. This is especially important when strong feelings or beliefs are involved. In other words, we have to take into consideration in our everyday conversations the other person’s field of experience or frame of reference in where they are coming from. It means sometimes going the extra mile to seek to discover their world to have effective communication. So paraphrasing what we hear back and moving beyond cliché responses help.


And finally, working through barriers like being afraid of change, includes mastering a few key skills. And none is more important than mastering change. It helps us make friends and gives us tools for handling all kinds of life issues. Realizing much of life is about the process of change, we can use the letter C in eight ways. Calm is what we like when things are under Control as opposed to upheaval, then we tend to be happier. But then it happens, we are faced with a fork in the road that is a Choice. It can lead to somewhere we might not like to go—Change. We can choose to change or resist. But change can bring about wonderful results if we are willing to follow through. This can produce Confidence, when we learn the lessons of change and can consequently become better people for it. This confidence can build or deepen our character on the inside through the struggle or difficult situation that can even inspire us and others to be stronger than before. Then the process of Calm is brought back into focus as life returns to normal, if only for a little while!


So no matter how traumatic something might seem at the time, if we use change as an opportunity to grow, we can gain a sense of confidence and deepen our character. This is especially so if we trust in a loving God who cares for us and is with us during the struggles of life.


(Don’t forget to input either by noting it in our blue input notebook in Ryan our Managers Office or email me at


Thanks again …that’s it for now


-Chaplain Rick


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