Hospital chaplain

December 30th, 2010

Pat Hostetter Martin, ’64, MA ’98

Harrisonburg, Virginia

Pat Hostetter Martin arrived at CTP at age 50, after serving for 16 years with her husband Earl in Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) programs in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines) and at MCC headquarters in Akron, Pennsylvania.

“We knew we wanted to be peacemakers, but asking ‘How?’ and studying to find answers to that question was a novel idea at the time [1995-1997].”

Like many of her classmates, Pat also hungered for time to read, reflect, and take stock of who she was and what she was doing. She and Earl planned to return to Southeast Asia to work another five years as MCC’s regional peace coordinators. But the illness of a family member changed those plans. Pat accepted a leadership role with the Summer Peacebuilding Institute, and Earl went to work as a carpenter.

Reflecting on the 13 years from her CTP student days until her retirement from CJP in 2008, Pat observed, “Peacebuilding is a tough field… [For instance] we didn’t succeed in stopping the Gulf War, or any of the others that followed. It is easy to get burned out.”

The answer to the threat of burn-out, she feels, is tapping into “our spiritual energies, or what John Paul [Lederach] calls, ‘the moral imagination.’ We can’t survive on theories. We need faith that opening ourselves up and being led by the Spirit will eventually result in finding ways to live together peacefully – if not in our lifetimes, then in our children’s, grandchildren’s or great-grandchildren’s.”

Pat applauds the “maturing of the peacebuilding field,” whereby people who view themselves as peacemakers are working with, and in, the military, diplomatic corps, business, and religious institutions. She points to the 2009 founding of the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute by CJP alumni as an example of “good and exciting things that are happening.”

Pat’s current career is in pastoral chaplaincy, which provides spiritual care for people in hospitals, prisons and nursing homes. She is enrolled in her second unit of clinical pastoral education at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. She is also training to be a hospice volunteer.

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