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Meet Dinah Dutta, our new chaplain

What's your title?

A life of transformation from cancer research scientist at the University of Kansas, clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA), oncology chaplain at KU Medical Center, to Presbyterian Manor chaplain.

How long have you been with PMMA?

Five months

What's your favorite Bible verse for the holidays?

“Bless the Lord O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103: 1-2).

What are your favorite holiday foods?

Chaplain Dinah Dutta

During holidays, my grandmother and mother used to make a lot of traditional sweet treats. After I came to the U.S., I learned to cook turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. I love cornbread. I could not master the pumpkin pie, so I buy it always.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

I grew up in India in a deeply spiritual, Christian family. Going to midnight worship all dressed up is one of my fond memories. We lived in a community where most of our neighbors were not Christians. As a family, we prepared baskets with fruit and sweet treats and delivered door-to-door. We also used to have an open house on Christmas day after the worship. Many colleagues and friends of my parents used to come to wish us well.

Here in the U.S. we (my husband is a professor at KU) invite our students who cannot go home for holidays. Most of them are not Christians. Buying gifts for them and cooking traditional Indian food gives us great JOY. We do not have kids of our own. We deliver baskets to our neighbors, wishing them merry Christmas and happy holidays. Our neighborhood where we live now is very diverse.

What inspired you to become a chaplain?

My dad, the late Rev. Dr. Pooranchand, was an ordained pastor in India. When I was young, I used to go with him to visit people in the hospitals. At a young age, I was attracted to the pastoral care ministry. During my time as a pastor, visiting elder members and those that were sick blessed me in many ways. I always envisioned Jesus as a chaplain, a shepherd caring for people. After serving in two churches as a pastor, I feel called to do this ministry at such time as this. I am passionate about pastoral care ministry and preaching the Word of God (Psalm 119:105).

Can you share some thoughts about your work during the pandemic?

My ministry at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor once again has been a blessing during this COVID time. It is very natural for us to feel depressed and hopeless, since we cannot predict the end. However, everything, even holiday time, looks different and more meaningful. My faith in Christ assures me that we are not alone, God is with us and His promises are true (Isaiah 43: 1-2). Though we are not able to do normal things like visiting family or friends, I want to encourage everyone as I encourage myself to take time to reflect on the wonderful way the Lord is sustaining us. I continue to pray that the Lord will keep us as an apple of His eye and bless us to be a blessing.

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