Training to be a hospital chaplain, Rev. Curt Roelofs worked in psychiatric wards and with the substance abuse team at Harper Hospital in Detroit.
He loved it, feeling he was right where he was supposed to be. He remembers the first time he heard his name paged over the intercom: he was so surprised that he answered, “Yes, Lord!”
Roelofs says he never dreamed he would end up working as a hospital chaplain serving under the auspices of the CRC’s Chaplaincy and Care Ministry office.
Although he planned to be a chemical engineer, the Lord had other plans that took him to seminary, then called him to pastor two CRC congregations, and, finally, to enter hospital chaplaincy.
He found the training rigorous and challenging. One exercise he particularly remembers was an emotionally draining death-and-dying workshop in which he was asked to imagine getting a fatal diagnosis of cancer and what that might mean.
In 1981, Roelofs took a full-time job at St. John Providence Hospital in Detroit, where he has had a full and satisfying ministry.
Over the years, he said, he has blessed and baptized babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit and been with families during the “sacred time” when their loved one is weaned off a ventilator so he or she can die peacefully.
Roleofs has been asked to perform marriage ceremonies for patients and to officiate at funerals.
As he celebrates 40 years in the ministry, he says his story is “one of God’s faithfulness and leading.” A coworker wrote, “He has inspired many, given hope in times of anxiety, and been compassionate and loving to everyone to whom he ministered.”
— CRC Chaplaincy and Care Ministry