Care of Troublesome PeopleDo you have a back-biting person that is really making your life miserable? Or perhaps a diva that you are always walking over eggshells around? Have you ever struggled with an authoritarian person who just won't let go?

We all encounter people that we find to be troublesome in our work and daily lives. Whether it is in our departments, congregations, or among the patients and families we seek to serve. You know the people we are talking about: the ones that go behind your back, that over exercise their authority, that seek to divide, that become overly dependent, and the prima donas that must be cared for delicately.


fireworks-02-90Celebrate the Association of Professional Chaplains

This week we celebrate with the Association of Professional Chaplains as they meet for their annual conference, June 18–22, 2014. The conference is titled Re:Imagine: the Art and Business of Professional Chaplaincy.

Many of our members are attending, notably Trish Matthews, one of our program committee members; Marcia Marino (treasurer for APC); and Ronald Oliver (board of directors), a former board member of the Oates Institute. Several of the presenters are members or former members as well. We hope the conference allows folks to continue some of the discussions begun last year at the APC conference on the future and continued during our online conference this past March on Envisioning the Future of Spiritual Care.


rocky-shore-waterJuly seminars offer a real balance for Oates Institute Members and friends. Are you looking for class on boundaries and ethics, we have that. Or you can explore How to Care for Troublesome People or Exploring the Gifts of Imperfection. We are offering five seminars in July AND continuing our popular book studies with a book study on Peter Steinke's Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times (dates to be arranged).


fireworks-02-90Join Now and Celebrate

While we are in the midst of a kairos time for the Oates Institute, and still grieving the passing of Chris Hammon, life continues. And we are also continuing to press forward. We press forward through our fears and doubts, and we press forward through our sorrow and grief.

We invite you to celebrate the accomplishments of the Oates Institute and of its members by renewing your commitment to lifelong learning. Join or Renew your membership today, and continue to enjoy the fruits of this well watered tree. Drink deeply at the streams of insight and knowledge that are at the root of our work here. Wayne Oates and Christopher Hammon believed that lifelong learning was a critical aspect of being renewed and refreshed for the tasks in front of us.


Tony Leonard has joined our team as a volunteer IT expert. Tony helped us successfully conduct the recent on-line conference, Envisioning the Future of Spiritual Care.  He brings a ton of experience  and will be able to help us take our offerings to the next level. If you are a former member or a former donor, please expect a call from one of our board members. We want to hear what you think about the Institute and how we can better serve your needs. Moreover, we will be asking you to reinvest.

Finally, we are grateful to all of you that have prayed for all of those involved in the Institute.

I hope we can create some exciting new distance learning experiences together.

Rick Underwood

chris-recumbentOur friend, leader, and colleague, Christopher Hammon, slipped peacefully away in his home held by his loving wife, Annie, on Sunday afternoon, May 18. Chris fought the good fight and lived his way until the end. Our anticipatory grief of his impending death did not prepare us for our deep sense of loss.

The current plan for the memorial service is for May 31st at 2:00 EDT in the Fellowship Hall at Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Annie says, "We will celebrate and memorialize as he wished ... [with] balloons, crayons, music, and stories. I told him that we would need space for tears, but his response was that if the stories were about him, we would have to laugh."

Annie added, "if you want to honor [Chris]'s name and legacy, his passion, The Wayne Oates Institute here in Louisville is a place to start."

The Oates Institute is planning a celebration of Chris’ life in the upcoming weeks. In honor of Chris’ commitment to create a dynamic distance learning community, we want your input. How would you like to use our Adobe Connect, classrooms, etc. to honor his legacy?  Please send your suggestions to Rick Underwood at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

On a mixed blessing note, Rick Underwood, D.Min, has been elected the new Executive Director of the Oates Institute. "I am honored to be elected the new Director and promise to provide leadership that will build on the solid foundation laid by Chris," says Underwood as he moves through the daunting task of providing leadership to the board and the Institute.

Please join us as we celebrate the life and witness of Christopher Hammon over the next few weeks.


flowers-2010-013-sMay is almost here, and it is time to think about the future. Are you up-to-date with your boundaries/ethics training? We have a seminar in May on Holding the Boundaries: Professional Ethics in Practice. We are also going to explore finding an interdisciplinary and collaborative learning approach towards integrating the language of spiritual care in Finding a Common Language. The May seminars bring a little bit for everyone, and we hope you will participate. There is even space available still in the April/May book group.