___ORANGE--As the year 2000 approaches, the 2,000th Texas Baptist trained in volunteer chaplaincy looks forward to continuing ministry with the homebound elderly and hospital patients in Southeast Texas.
___Tommy Carter, a deacon at Hartburg Baptist Church in Orange, started teaching senior adult men in Sunday school even before his early retirement 13 years ago.
___For much of that time Carter, who worked 30 years as maintenance foreman at a chemical plant, visited any class members who were hospitalized.
___About three years ago, he expanded that ministry to include other senior adults from his church. He began a routine of teaching the Sunday school lesson and reading the Bible to hospitalized and homebound church members.
___"I just love people, especially old people," said Carter, who now is 66 himself.
___A few months ago, he and his pastor, Fred Raney, enrolled in the "Hands On Ministry" volunteer chaplaincy training made available by the BGCT's church ministries department.
___The skills gained in volunteer chaplaincy training will serve him not only in homebound and hospital visitation but also in working with the benevolence ministry at his church and with the new Sunday School class--younger men--that he will start teaching this summer, he said.
___"I learned a lot of things--'dos and don'ts'--that really help out in anything that you do dealing with people," he said.
___"I learned how to approach people, that it's more of a listening process than a talking process. Sometimes, I learned, it may be best not to say anything at all except acknowledging that you care about them."
___In recent months, Carter's time largely has been consumed by supervising reconstruction of the Hartburg Baptist Church building that burned last year. But in the near future, he wants to be more involved in volunteer chaplaincy.
___He already has made arrangements to work with a former pastor at Hartburg, James Bradford, who now serves as an associate hospital chaplain.
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