Nicole Kaufman T’15

Arbor View Senior Living Community, Denver, CO

“My role as chaplain began to take shape since COVID-19 began to wreak havoc on our country and the residents in our facility were considered the most vulnerable in the population. I became responsible for end-of-life visits when family members were not permitted to enter our building. I helped to counsel residents, staff and family when COVID took the lives of 24 of our residents and one staff member. I wrote sympathy cards to all of the families of those we lost. I began doing one-on-one visits with our residents to limit their isolation. I am currently in the process of planning a memorial service for all of those we’ve lost, and picking up the pieces of all we’ve been through these past several months.”

What led you to seminary, specifically Drew Theological School?
“I chose Drew Theological School per the nudging of an undergrad professor and mentor. She was aware that I was a more progressive individual and urged me to consider Drew for its forward thinking in regards to social justice issues. Drew was the only seminary to which I applied. I was not entirely convinced that I wanted to go to seminary at all. When I was accepted, I deferred for a year, so that I might gain some hands on experience. I ended up deciding at the end of that year that I was, in fact, called to ministry and would be attending seminary after all. I went with the intention of focusing on “special needs ministry,” or what I now refer to as “all abilities ministry.”

How did Drew prepare you for your current role as a chaplain?
“I believe that every course I took at Drew helped prepare me for one or more aspects of my work as chaplain. I was offered courses on grief and dying, pastoral care and counseling, religion and the social process, spirituality of struggle, pastoral formation, supervised ministry and preaching. All of those, and so many more, have definitely served me well during my time at Arbor View.

“The one thing I wish I had taken prior to graduation was a unit or two of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). I am just now in the process of becoming a licensed chaplain, and it was my own fault for not taking the opportunity at Drew when I had it. If you have a desire for pastoral care at all, I’d highly recommend taking a unit of CPE while in seminary! You can thank me later!”

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