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  • Mission to South Africa
    • Howard Dotson
      Posted Jun 17, 2000 2:28 PM

      To: Pastor or Mission Committee Chair

      My name is Howard Dotson. This fall I will begin my second year of at San Francisco Theological seminary. Next summer I will travel to Dalpark, South Africa to intern at the Dalpark Presbyterian Church. This will be a yearlong endeavor beginning in the Summer of 2001. I hope to raise most of the financial support for this mission through love offerings and grants from the Presbytery and the National Office.
      The church is located just outside of Johannesburg.
      The congregation will have a difficult time providing a stipend for this internship because they have been greatly impacted by the demographic and economic effects of the White Flight syndrome that has occurred in the Johannesburg metro region. A dynamic quite familiar to many churches in American metropolitan areas.
      At one time the Dalpark Presbyterian congregation was predominately European-African. Most of them have moved out of Dalpark after a community of African natives developed a squatter camp on the outer perimeter of the Dalpark township. Today, the multicultural congregation is led by Alan Webster, the lay pastor appointed by the Presbytery. Through some correspondence with the General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of South Africa, I learned that this congregation was at the brink of dissolving before Mr. Webster was commissioned to lead the Dalpark congregation.
      Over the last year, Alan and I have been discussing ways in which an intern could direct the outreach mission of Dalpark Presbyterian. We decided the focus should address the needs of the oppressed and promote greater racial reconciliation, both with in the congregation and the community. As if the endemic poverty and racism that exists in South Africa is not enough, the AIDS epidemic continues to kill millions of its citizens.
      The focus of my internship will be to implement a pastoral care outreach ministry to HIV positive residents living in the Dalpark vicinity. My primary objectives will be minister to people through home visits, hospital visits, facilitate support groups for those infected with HIV and grief support groups for thier friends and family members. I will receive clinical supervision from a hospital chaplain in Johannesburg.
      I have a bachelors degree in psychology from Empire State College, and have completed the coursework for a Masters degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University with an emphasis in Humanistic psychology. This internship will provide some of the clinical experiences that I need to incorporate into my MA thesis, "Applying Existential Humanistic Psyhcotherapy Principles in Pastoral Care." Over the last ten years my clinical work has consisted in counseling clients in group homes, public and psychiatric hospitals, substance abuse recovery programs and a school for emotionally disturbed children.
      For the last two years I have worked for Dr. Bugental as one of his assistants. Dr. Bugental has been a therapist for 60 years. He has authored numerous trade books on Existential Humanistic Therapy. I intend to apply what I have learned from Dr. Bugental and his colleagues to minister to people facing end of life issues.
      I am presently working as a hospital chaplain intern at Fairview-University Hospital in Minneapolis, MN. After ministering with several patients and family members coping with a terminal illness my call feels affirmed. When I return to San Francisco Seminary for the Fall term I will begin working part time as a hospital chaplain at Marin General Hospital for the nine months that precede the Dalpark internship.

      If you or members of your congregation wish to support this pastoral ministry, or have further questions, please write.

      Your Brother in Christ,

      Howard Dotson

      Howard Dotson
      14101 68th Pl Nth
      Maple Grove, MN 55311
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