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Married, with three grown children, Tom Andrew is making a major transition at the age of 67 — from forensic pathologist to Methodist deacon. Deacons are ordained clergy who serve beyond the walls of an individual church and find their own ministries. Andrew said working with the Scouts was a natural fit for him, given his own experience as a Boy Scout.

"I want to be part of giving a marvelous scouting experience to the kids who are in the program today," he said in an interview.


Now, as a chaplain, he says his focus is less on preaching and more about being a "non-judgmental listening presence" for young Scouts.

"If you can point them in a certain direction and help them find their own way, all the better," he said. "But it's by and large a ministry of presence and listening."

Andrew's new avocation is also about helping the living, after a career as a forensic pathologist, studying the dead. Trained in pediatrics, he went on to spend 20 years as the chief medical examiner for the state of New Hampshire. There, he witnessed up-close the grim toll of car accidents, gunshot wounds, poisonings, assaults and suicides, and runaway drug addiction and deaths. He said it was a job that gave him a particular appreciation for the fragility of life.


Andrew continues to do consulting work as a medical pathologist, but said his passion now lies with ministering to the Scouts. He said all the effort to become a Methodist deacon will be worth it if he can help kids — maybe even save one of them from making bad choices about drugs.


"If you're passionate, if you're energized, then I think you use that passion and energy in a way that not only extends your own life, but you might be able to share something with someone else," he said. "And that's exciting."


Good story by Anthony Brooks WBUR, more at source including photos:



Added some more background ~RS

Nov 7, 2017:  Former medical examiner heads to seminary New England Conference, United Methodist Church

Dr. Andrew was raised in the Presbyterian church. While he respected the “dour but very warm and nurturing – those two aren’t mutually exclusive – Calvinist towering figure” who was pastor of his home church, it was the “young, hip” Methodist pastor at the church where his Boy Scout troop was chartered who inspired him.
The Rev. Joel Baer gave him his first ministry opportunity when he asked a 14-year-old Andrew to preach the sermon on Scout Sunday.

“My confirmation classes certainly convinced me that Jesus was my savior, and that there was a way to live one’s life to try and reflect his glory,” Dr. Andrew said. “But as far as reaching other people with it? That never dawned on me until Pastor Baer put me up in front of this congregation, and I felt that sort of magic that occurs when you’re connecting. … I do remember the feeling as if it were yesterday. I think it’s fair to say that was the beginnings of an inkling of a call.”





Oct 7, 2017 , As Overdose Deaths Pile Up, a Medical Examiner Quits the Morgue  New York Times:

After laboring here as the chief forensic pathologist for two decades, exploring the mysteries of the dead, he retired last month to explore the mysteries of the soul. In a sharp career turn, he is entering a seminary program to pursue a divinity degree, and ultimately plans to minister to young people to stay away from drugs.

“After seeing thousands of sudden, unexpected or violent deaths,” Dr. Andrew said, “I have found it impossible not to ponder the spiritual dimension of these events for both the deceased and especially those left behind.”


Every day, he said, a pathologist faces the fleeting nature of mortality. The people on his examining table could have lived a lot longer “but for a few millimeters of cholesterol in the wrong blood vessel, a second of inattention by the driver of a car or the lethal potency of a drug obtained on the street.”

And after a while, he said, one is bound to ask, “What’s all this about?”

His plan is to become an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church, with two goals: to serve as a chaplain for the Boy Scouts of America, and to join the Appalachian Trail Chaplaincy of the United Methodist Church so he can minister to troubled hikers, at least on the 161 miles of the storied trail that cross New Hampshire and its White Mountains.



Edited by RememberSchiff
added more background
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