Monday, January 30, 2006

Awkward Moments

Yesterday during the sermon one of the congregants had "an episode". I don't quite know what to call it, or how to explain it. And yet I'll try.
I have had a couple of people who have had heart attacks while I was in the pulpit. The ushers were responsive and got the individual out to the narthex, called the ambulance, with the warning not to come with sirens blaring. When the service was over I made the trek to the hospital and visited with the patient.
Yesterday was different. I have a nurse in the congregation and she noticed one of the other people in church who had bowed his head unnaturally and had actually heaved on the floor of the sanctuary. She went to him immediately and knelt in the aisle while I was preaching and tried to get this individual to go to the narthex and be treated. He adamantly refused and sat in his seat until about 10 minutes later. I was trying to keep the focus of my sermon, but it got lost pretty promptly. I wonder if others have had similar incidences in their congregations and how it might have been handled. I always feel totally helpless in such situations. My gifts do not include the gift of healing, and I am not one who tries to put others on the spot and to take a pause until the person gets themselves gathered together again seems a bit of a waste and overly personalizing the event for the person who is already suffering.
This is not likely to be the last time someone has an episode in church and I wonder what the protocol might be, or how to train others when my nurses are not present in the congregation, let alone a doctor.


At January 30, 2006, Anonymous John B said...

I have a couple of similar situations. If is obvious that someone is seriously ill, heart attack of instance, I will stop the service and pray for the person. Everyone in the congregation has already noticed something going on, so I figure don't pretend otherwise. Maybe it's different in larger congregations but in the ones I've served, people aren't going to be very attentive anyway when something like that is happening.


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