Of all the paths ChIME graduates have taken to fulfill their callings, Marie Eastman’s stands out for her investment of time and treasure in becoming a board-certified chaplain affiliated with the APC (Association of Professional Chaplains). She serves a community hospital in Siddell, near the City of New Orleans, Louisiana. Since graduating from ChIME in 2008, Marie has obtained her Master of Divinity degree from Earlham School of Religion in Indiana, and has completed 7 units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).
As a full-time chaplain in her institution, Marie cares for patients and their families, as well as hospital staff, who are entitled to 35% of her time. Whether staff are coping with illness in their own families, or responding to the intensities of their work with patients, Marie is constantly aware of who needs support among her co-workers. She finds this part of her service a lovely balance to her work with patients, who come and go rapidly. The work with staff is less affected by turnover, allowing for deeper relationships.
A native of Vassalboro, Maine, Marie travelled to Belgium as a high school exchange student. She taught English and German in the Peace Corps in Senegal after graduating from U Maine, and is also fluent in Dutch and French. After getting her MBA, she spent 20 years in international sales and marketing for high-tech companies. Her territory included 33 European countries, and working for companies based in Salt Lake City, Paris, Alabama, Massachusetts, Maine and Switzerland.
ChIME came to Marie’s attention while she was back in Vassalboro, caring for her elderly father, an Alzheimer’s patient. At ChIME she tasted broadly of the Interfaith world as a chaplain intern in a Maine prison. There she co-led a women’s grief support group and facilitated a men’s earth-based spirituality circle, a baptism, assisted with Christian worship, and attended a regular Native American worship group for woman in the prison. A hospice singing workshop was Marie’s senior project; twelve hospice singing groups emerged from that, including the Tourmaline Singers, who still sing for the dying in Central Maine.
Having lived with Catholics, Mormons, and Muslims around the world, Marie’s Interfaith credentials extend well beyond her ChIME education and internship. In addition to facilitating the Interfaith meeting at the APC for a number of years, Marie has been appointed to the newly-reorganized board of the Organization of Universal Interfaith International (OUNI), which helps Interfaith chaplains become credentialed for professional service. Marie is also the new Membership Chair of Imagery International, and says that her use of guided imagery with hospital patients has proved a powerful way, along with prayer, to help them manage their post-op pain and pre-surgery anxiety.
ChIME is proud of this MBA-turned-institutional-chaplain, and Marie is proud of ChIME. “Starting with an MBA and an Interfaith certification isn’t the fastest route to Staff Chaplain,“ Marie notes, but at age 63 it seems her commitment to the work is only growing stronger. Meet Marie at ChIME’s ordination in June 2018. She’s made a commitment to be home (and already has her plane ticket!)