Jim E. Garcines provides a brief overview of a pastor’s duties in ministering to the terminally ill in this slim and insightful manual.
Originally from Cagayan de Oro City in the Philippines, Garcines moved to California in 1983 and began a church in San Jose two years later. This resource manual is the culmination of Garcines’ chaplaincy work, where he was “the first one absorbing all the agonies, regrets, failures, misery, anger and hurts” of dying patients. He brings his experiences and expertise together in this short offering.
Garcines examines the stages and responses that are most commonly seen in dying patients and their family members. He encourages pastors to be “positive without expecting that you are going to cheer them up. Be prepared for their feeling of depression…your job is to be a manifestation of God’s love for and presence to them.” Garcines shows that ministering to the terminally ill must be handled with delicate care, as circumstances vary greatly from patient to patient.
A portion of the manual is dedicated to the experiences and perspectives of medical professionals at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, CA. He includes their comments and answers to questions regarding patients’ reactions to the news that they are dying, how these professionals cope with the stress of caring for the terminally ill, tips for handling hostility from family members, and more.
This manual will be eye opening for anyone who has never worked in this field or has had yet to confront the realities of death. While the information could certainly be expanded and each subject explored further and more deeply, Garcines’ humble nature and sincere concern for dying patients is clearly evident. His heartfelt and sober book can serve as a useful initiation for those new to the care of the terminally ill.