Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Society • Personal Note: Community Chaplain Passes Away

(Berkeley, California 6/15/11)  It is with great sadness that your Blog Host reports the death of beloved chaplain, Staff Sergeant Linda Maxwell, who passed away yesterday, Tuesday, June 14th at 9 AM at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley. She was in her late 50’s with a daughter and granddaughter. She had been in ill health for several months, yet continued to pursue her work and training as a chaplain.

And that training is rigorous. It requires total dedication and devotion to this calling. Chaplains willingly give up all rights to themselves to serve others at all times. They are on call 24/7 and must be ready to respond immediately to an emergency crisis situation.

In one class of 12 candidates, only one made it through to certification. Strict ministerial ethics are taught, along with working with hospital personnel,  accident scenes, and counseling skills to employ in all situations.

The chaplaincy was her passion. She had served in the military and following her tours of duty, settled down in Oakley, California, took a job with an investment company, then later became a military chaplain with the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Sgt. Linda was training to become part of the recently formed Community Chaplain Corps that is an outreach to the area to serve others at their time and place of need.  She was a very sweet woman with compassion for others and will be sorely missed.

With grateful thanks to God, the crossing was gentle. There was no fear, no struggle, no pain. She gently drifted off. It was peaceful as the expression on her face testified. We consider this a real blessing.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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Rev. Austin Miles is the Community Chaplain Corps Instructor and Coordinator.

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