Kenji Toyomura graduated from UTS in May, 2009, and completed his one-year chaplaincy residency in Phoenix, Arizona, in September. He and his wife, Kyoka, have two young daughters, Mieko and Suzuna.

kenjitoyomuraKenji ToyomuraBanner Good Samaritan Medical Center is a twelve story, 676-bed hospital that includes 12 ICU's, a 28-bed inpatient behavioral health unit and a 62-bed rehabilitation hospital. It is the largest hospital in Arizona. U.S. News and World Report has named in among the best American hospitals for successive years. I was involved in all clinical areas of the hospital while on-call, including being a team member working with cardiac arrest and trauma. My main clinical assignments were neurological ICU's, Medical/Surgical floors, Rehabilitation, Emergency Department and Trauma.

Clinical Pastoral Education is a theological and professional education for ministry. It is a method of learning pastoral practice in a clinical setting under supervision, implementing clinical work with case study and didactic teaching seminars. I spent over 200 hours in resident group educational and spiritual formation activities and over 600 hours providing patient care as I fulfilled two units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).

I had five peers in my resident group, one man and four women. All were ordained clergy, including an Episcopalian, a Baptist, an Episcopalian, a Roman Catholic and a Swedenborgian. Three peers and I remained until the end of the residency program. We became a solid team and developed strong friendship.

The most meaningful lesson I learned was about my emotional self-awareness. Looking back on my life, I was not accustomed to share my emotions with others. I believe I grew the most in my ability to sense my own emotions and that through this I gained the ability to provide pastoral care, which requires paying attention to the emotional needs of the other person.

In conclusion to this brief reflection, I would like to share with you a poem I wrote at the end of the program.

Heart Washing

Deep inside,
My heart was crying.
My heart was broken.
My heart was vulnerable.
I am scared.


I cannot let it be exposed. I cannot let it be exposed.
I am a man. I am a mature man.


"Whose voice is that?"
I know for sure it's not mine.
"I don't cry, people!" but I am lying.
I envy those who are crying, who are angry with God, who are sad.


I want to set my heart free. Let my emotion be exposed and be felt.
Each of us has a fountain deep inside. The fountain is filled with water.
I am carefully and slowly letting the water come out...
With friends whom I trust, I found my fountain.


I couldn't contain the water inside of me.
The fountain was bigger and richer than I expected.
It splashed and spilled all over my face, my heart and my soul.
"Let it flow." I let it flow.


My heart was washed. I felt hopeful. The future is bright.
I believe I will be stronger. I will be more outgoing. I will be happier.