Memorial Day


Eleanor was the first shut-in I ever called on some 20 years ago as I began my ministry. She had recently become widowed and was facing a number of health issues as well. Like many in her situation in our culture today the children and grandchildren had moved away, were busy with their own lives, and barely called or wrote. Now that I have worked in the hospital setting five years I see it all the time. Many families abandon their older parents and grandparents.

As I talked with Eleanor about the love of God, as I read Scripture about the presence of Jesus with us always, she said something that always stuck with me. She said, “I forget to remember.” It has happened often to me and probably for you as well. We often “forget to remember” to pray, to be in God’s Word, to attend our church of choice and to love and serve one another. It’s easy, so much clutter occupies our minds and thoughts these days, it’s so hard and yet so easy to forget.

I believe that God also “forgets to remember.” Oh, God remembers us as persons, as souls, individuals to love, but God forgets to remember our sins. That is what forgiveness and grace are all about. Forgiveness is ours; I wonder why we remember so easily our mistakes, sins and decisions we wish we would not have made? When the God we love and serve, who gave us Jesus to die and rise again for those sins, has forgotten/forgiven. “I forgive their sins and remember them no more…” (Hebrews 8:12).

This weekend, Memorial Day will be filled with lots of activities for many of us. Over the course of a three-day weekend (for many) remember those who served our country and have paid the ultimate price. And then, as you remember to pray, bring to mind all those men and women who currently serve around the world. They need us to remember them, always.

Peace be with you, blessed Memorial Day week,

Pastor Doug


Pr. Doug Givan, MDiv

Board Certified Staff Chaplain

St. Vincent Health, Clay/Indpls

“New York Minute”

Have you ever heard the term “in a New York minute?” I heard it from a colleague over lunch this weekend as he referenced how quickly he would do something. I’ve heard the term before but have never given it much thought. I mean I generally understand things go “faster” in New York and I know the city itself never sleeps, etc.

So a visit to Wikipedia sheds light on this term “a New York minute.” It has been used for years and there are stories, a short film, and even a song by that title. But the upshot of the definition of the term is “the time between when a light turns green and the driver behind you honks!” That’s a New York minute… seems like in New York cars honk at each other much easier than my experience here in Indiana. If you honk at someone here, or get honked at, it seems to be taken personal. People get mad and fly the international sign of disapproval!

Since I commute, I’d say I use my horn a couple times a week. Usually I honk at the driver ahead who has pulled out in front of me, or taken their time to make a very wide and sloppy turn. In Crawfordsville, where I live, we have a very popular stop light that does not have a left turn arrow and for the driver to turn left they have to block the left hand lane altogether. And what makes me mad is that just a block ahead is a light with the arrow to turn left that would make it so much easier for everyone.

What is our hurry in life? Speaking from my own experience, I find myself often “rushing” to slow down. A consistent mantra I say often to myself is to slow down. Saturday I visited a person in a nursing home and near the parking lot they have a lovely little pond occupied by a geese family: mother, father and 4 goslings! I loved stopping to watch the baby geese fall in line with mother out on the water, while the Dad geese (goose?) stayed near the edge watching me. It was a God-given “Doug minute!” I gave myself some minutes to slow down and notice the beauty around me.

We all rush, we all put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to rush and hurry and the reality is we have all the time in the world. I thank God that God always has time for us and is never in a hurry. God will always listen, always available and sometimes God speaks to us in the middle of the night because that’s when God can finally get us to slow down and listen.

So consider how fast you are going. Try saying to yourself over and over today “slow down, God has this” or something similar. Take your time, we only have so many minutes in our lives to live! I think this week I’ll honk less and give the driver ahead of me some space. I’m never in the hurry I think I am. Take time for some “______” (insert your name) minutes to slow down and enjoy! Trust me, it’s more enjoyable to listen to the geese honk than the car behind me!

Peace be with you!

Pr. Doug,

NLS Spiritual Director

*P.S. I would, however, appreciate your registering for National Gathering in Ohio this July…..wait for it…..”in a New York Minute!” Visit the web site at


Remembering your original weekend.

I want to go back and visit Epworth Forest camp in North Webster, Indiana. It’s the camp where I made my weekend, and where I have served a number of teams. The memories are countless, the images still very moving, the experience the most incredible in my life. I hope you can also remember your original weekend, and the sight, sounds, and smells of the Spirit of our Lord.

A favorite memory is the chapel where we held worship, and the times I’ve kneeled at the Altar rail. The great food in the dining room surrounded by a warm fire and the fellowship of many. The view of the lake and having Sunday morning worship lake side all great memories. I remember commandeering the golf cart and chasing the geese only to get in “trouble” by the Rector…

On the Friday morning of my weekend I asked one of the Pastor’s to come and pray with me. The two of us, in the chapel, birds chirping, the smell of wine and candle wax from the just-held worship service, and prayer. Tears, pain, struggle all left at the feet of Jesus. A part of our Fourth day our Service Sheets invite us to have an Altar visit from time to time. Some evening after a meeting or service go back into your sanctuary and go the altar area. Just pause. Just quiet your mind. Listen to God.

The Altar visit always alters our way of thinking and it happens every time we partake in Holy Communion and/or prayer.  As you reflect back on your weekend with me there is something hard we must do. We have to let that wonderful, inspiring memory go. We have to thank God for all the experiences, for all the prayers, for all the memories, and then go and make new ones.

Plan to come in July to our National Gathering in northern Ohio and make new memories. Come and participate in “new” worship, prayer, and visiting the altar. Come, the table is being prepared and all our invited and welcomed!

May our God of the Day of Pentecost (this Sunday) move us to make new memories, new friends, and to serve in new ways in our local and national Via de Cristo. I’ll leave the golf cart alone if you’ll come with me to the altar…..


Pr. Doug Givan

NLS Spiritual Director

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 8th! We’ve been honoring Mom’s officially as the second Sunday in May since 1914. I think May is a wonderful time of year as the weather turns, and the flowers bloom we honor our mothers. My own mom passed in 2014 and for the last two years this holiday has made me realize what a gift I had in a loving, caring mother. I know that’s not the case for some.

I try not to feel guilty over time lost in her later years, especially the last year of her life. As she became ill and it was hard for her to get around I would always find her by the aviary of the nursing home where she lived. She loved to watch the birds and would rock on a rocking chair and partially sleep some of the day away. In her last year or so of living, whenever I greeted her with “I love you” she would say back to me “I loved you first!” I treasure those words still today!

It’s true, our mothers loved us first, but before that our God loved. Our God knew us and loved us “before we were created in our mother’s womb” (Jeremiah 1:5). And that love of God exists still today. All that we are- mind, body, soul was created, known and loved by God before we were born. Mother’s Day is the second Sunday of the month of May, not the second Tuesday, or Thursday. Why is that?

When we gather for worship we honor the God we love. Can’t we say that God’s love is like a mother’s love? Unconditional, unending, and unyielding, it is a life-giving love and the two can be celebrated together. And so now we get to love God back, because each day we are alive we celebrate as “God’s day!”

God bless all mom’s everywhere,

Pr. Doug
NLS Spiritual Director