The pivotal moment of my journey toward chaplaincy was during a Zoom meeting at the height of the pandemic. It was June 2020, and our previous lay chaplain had just accepted the call to seminary. As the long-time music director at St. Nicholas, I’ve always played a part in organizing daily chapels. However, assuming the responsibility of Chaplain had never crossed my mind, so when the Head of School offered up the possibility I was completely taken by surprise. My mind immediately began to name all of the ways I wasn’t qualified or prepared. But my heart said YES! and thankfully, I listened. I have never regretted that decision.
As we all know, chaplaincy during the pandemic was challenging. During Chaplain Chats and other NAES virtual gatherings that year, I heard many experienced chaplains say it was the most difficult time of their ministry. Being brand new, I had no basis for comparison, so I took comfort in knowing that it was hard for even the most seasoned among us. Another obstacle on this path has been overcoming my own self-doubt, but I found support in the mentoring program for new chaplains, as well as from our school’s Chaplain Emeritus, the Rev. Janice Robbins. And attending the Biennial Conference last November was a huge turning point for me! I felt welcomed and accepted, and the opportunity to interact with other chaplains and Episcopal school leaders was so beneficial to my growth. I returned from that experience ready to lead authentically and with confidence.
I am grateful that God led me to work in this capacity as a lay chaplain, and that I said yes to the call. It is truly a work of the heart, and I’m glad I followed mine!
Kara Miscio is Chaplain at St. Nicholas School in Chattanooga, TN.