I would like to take this time and announce a big change in the life of Pastor in Mouse Ears. I have been called up to the majors! No, not baseball. I’ve been hired on by Disney! I know it’s amazing. I’m still a little dazed myself. But, I will be asking my Bishop for permission to be appointed beyond the local church to the position of Corporate Chaplain of the Walt Disney Corporation.
Unbeknownst to me, Disney staff have been following this little blog since the very beginning. They have been impressed with how I have dealt with issues both large and small, as well as my respect for Disney films and the parks. And due to a complex situation that I am not allowed to know the details of, a corporate chaplain position has been created and I have been offered the job! What will I be doing for Disney? Well, quite a lot it turns out. The job description is quite extensive.
First, and most importantly, I will be providing spiritual and emotional support for Disney employees. Much as I do now, I will be a sounding board for those who need it and provide a safe space for those who want to examine and question their faith. I will connect with people through weddings, funerals, and other touchstone moments in their lives. My other duties are a bit more unique.
As the inaugural chaplain, I will have the privilege of creating an entire chaplaincy program that will encompass not only the Disney Corporate Sites, but both US resorts and the cruise line as well. I will test the feasibility of on site chaplains at the resorts. Again, to primarily to address the needs of cast members but also to liaise with guests in crisis, most especially Make a Wish families. In addition, I will be creating age-based, Disney themed, Christian curriculum (tentatively named ‘Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust) that will be available for church groups and religious organizations visiting the parks. That work will be adapted for use on Disney cruises and I will look for new ways to recruit clergy for the cruise line.
As I’m sure most of you know, Disney weddings are an increasing demand at the parks. Interestingly, more people are now requesting Disney funerals. I will be looking at the feasibility of incorporating memorial services into events that Disney Parks offer to guests. This will be a bit of a challenge to figure out if there is a way to honor these requests in a way that is respectful of the family yet not overly impactful to other guests.
There will also be a media piece to the job. I will be informed of Disney media projects and attend pre-screenings to identify issues that might raise controversy in the religious community. I will help prepare press releases to deal with any concerns and, if necessary, be the public face of the Disney Chaplaincy to address those concerns with the media. This part of the job feels less exciting.
I am hoping I will continue to be able to write this blog, but I may be bound by confidentiality and professional ethics to a different level of privacy. Maybe I will get to published on Oh My Disney. You never know. For now, I will keep you posted on all my upcoming changes. Maybe I will get to meet some of you at a Disney Park. I’m going to ask very nicely to see if they will make me a custom pair of ears with a clergy collar on the front so I will be recognizable out and about in the parks. I can hope. It’s an exciting time for me and I’m looking forward to the work ahead.
Oh, and by the way, Happy April Fool’s Day!