Orcas Island Community Church invites you to join them as they recognize pastor Ryan Carpenter, celebrate his ordination and commission him as a pastor at the church.
Carpenter has been working as the Associate Pastor of Care and Administration since July 2017. Wanting to become more equipped to serve the community on Orcas, he recently completed his master’s degree in narrative therapy in community work from the University of Melbourne, Australia.
“I’m really excited about adding Ryan to our pastoral team,” says preaching pastor Dick Staub. “Ryan has a warm heart, active mind and loves to serve people. His training and degree in narrative therapy equip him for a counseling ministry and he’s a long time islander, which is a real plus!”
The service is Sunday, Nov. 12 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., with a reception and buffet meal at the Deer Harbor Inn Restaurant following the ordination.
The service is an opportunity for the congregation, elders and community to support and encourage Carpenter in his future work.
Carpenter grew up on Orcas Island in the early 1980s. He and his wife Kelly have two children at Orcas Island Elementary School. Kelly is a middle school and OASIS teacher.
“I hope to be able to use narrative therapy to serve the community,” said Carpenter. “If someone’s sense of self is incongruent or not resonating, we can work together to re-author their stories to achieve a more coherent or greater sense of self. We can look at their hopes and fears about the future, and interpret their life through story in ways that are transformative.”
He chose this type of therapeutic approach because he believes it offers a more positive and helpful model than a conventional clinical, disease-focused model of mental health.
“Narrative therapy has its origins in a critique of that type of healthcare,” he said. “That approach says, ‘You are the problem’; it’s stigmatizing, internalizing, it’s the ‘problem-dominated story.’ In reality, the person is not the problem. The problem is the problem.” Ryan notes that narrative therapy can help externalize the problem, creating distance and allowing the person to critique it as separate from their own identity. The Christian redemptive narratives invite us to participate in a larger story and create a support community.
Carpenter was recently featured giving a presentation on the website for the Dulwich Center, a center for narrative therapy in Adelaide, Australia.
“From my perspective as a pastor and someone who’s a believer and follower of Jesus, when we’re disconnected from God and others, it causes incongruity,” he said. “In counseling, we explore the ideas of being loved by God, being known – he knows your name. When we reconnect, we become whole, restored.”