Hello! My name is Lora Salley. Some of you may know me already, as I have been a member at St. Luke’s for many years. However, I am writing to introduce myself in a new role, as a diaconal intern at St. Luke’s! I feel blessed to have discovered St. Luke’s shortly after Pastor Erik Christensen arrived and when the church building was located on Francisco Ave., to have been part of the journey of deciding to sell the church building, and to continue to be a part of the community with Pastor Erin in our current location on Armitage Ave. This community has been pivotal in my journey from social worker to seminarian, and to now being an endorsed candidate in Word and Service with the goal of being ordained as a deacon in the ELCA.
In September 2017, I started attending classes at the Lutheran School of Theology. I wasn’t quite sure how I ended up back in school after so many years, and not sure what I would do with a degree from a seminary! However, integrating my religious and spiritual beliefs and values with my experience in social work seemed important as I thought about what to do with the rest of my life. In my first year of seminary, I also did a unit of CPE, which stands for clinical pastoral education. I worked as a chaplain intern at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital and loved it. This work uses my social work skills as well as incorporating talking to people about their faith and the ways they make meaning out of difficult, often tragic, experiences. I started to feel like the call I felt to attend seminary was part of a more specific call to become a hospital chaplain.
Part of my journey to chaplaincy includes obtaining a master’s degree in ministry. This includes working in a church congregation as an intern and I am excited to be able to do this internship at St. Luke’s. The relationships I have made here and the many gifts I have received as part of this community provide much support to me, and I look forward to be able to participate in a new role here. In this role, I hope to be able to share some of what I have learned about mortality, aging, and end of life issues with you. Though these can be difficult topics, I think they are important and meaningful for all of us to consider. For instance, some statistics say 92% of people say that talking to loved ones about end of life care is important but only 32% have done so. Some ideas include having a book group about Atul Gawande’s best-selling book called Being Mortal, groups to discuss having “the conversation” about end of life wishes with loved ones, and information about advance directives. I welcome your ideas, thoughts, and questions about these topics. Please let me know if you have an interest in attending or helping to plan events and activities.
Lora will be installed as St. Luke’s Diaconal Intern on Sunday, December 15th at 9:00 and 11:00 am.