Volunteer Corner: Pastor Eric Moen, Tahoe Forest Hospital
Name: Pastor Eric Moen
Organization: Tahoe Forest Hospital
Tell me about your volunteer work at Tahoe Forest Hospital.
You have to be a senior pastor and have some degrees to volunteer as a hospital chaplain. Not anybody can do it. There are five local pastors and one rabbi who take shifts. We do rounds, once a day, five days in a row. We visit patients, offer comfort and are careful not to proselytize. If we are asked, we offer a prayer and are happy to oblige. We don’t come in with our agenda, we come in for theirs, to give support. We are also there for the hospital staff.
You mentioned being a senior pastor with training. Tell me about your experience.
I am a senior pastor at River Rock Christian Fellowship (River Rock) in Reno and Truckee. I have an undergraduate degree from Bethany University, attended the Assembly of God Theological Seminary, and have a master of science in guidance and counseling.
What is the most memorable visit at the hospital you’ve had?
This one really caught me by surprise. I entered the room and said “Hi, I’m Pastor Eric Moen, the chaplain.” The man stares at me with this horrible look on his face and says “Am I going to die?” Now I introduce myself and say, “No, you’re not going to die.” We have a lot of sports injuries. There is a hospice chaplain for those who are dying.
Tell me about volunteerism in our community.
Truckee is well known for a high level of volunteerism, that’s what makes it a great place to live. I am also a Noon Rotarian. Volunteering is the number one thing that makes a community great. People care enough to take their own time and money and put it into the community. Volunteering at the hospital combines my passion, my career and my community. I pastored three churches, then took a break to be a financial advisor. The point is, I came back out of the pastoring closet.
What brought you back to pastoring?
I grew up going to Grateful Dead shows, my best friend’s dad was the drummer. One evening at a show (relatively sober) I saw in flaming letters above the stage lights “God is Love.” I thought “Hey! Cool light show.” During an open-eyed vision at no time does it occur to you it is anything but real. Then the words change ” “The only thing that separates you from God is sin.” I was a full-on hippie, and felt sure sin was what the church used to control people and extract money. Then I knew God was holding on to my heart. I couldn’t argue. One more time I see “Jesus Christ is God’s only answer for sin.” I would have argued, but I felt God’s hand on my heart. He spoke to me: “In every person’s life, there is a time to choose whether or not to go with me or without me ” and tonight is your night.” I said a prayer and asked God to forgive me my sin and be my Lord and Savior. That was Feb. 17, 1979.
Have you been on the path since?
I have started to stop calling myself a Christian and call myself a follower of Jesus.
What is the distinction?
Many people think of a Christian, and they think of a religious person. The definition of religion is “a system of doctrines and beliefs.” I call myself a follower of Jesus because for me, what started in Feb. 17, 1979 is a personal relationship, not a religion.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
The total number of coronavirus cases in Nevada County reached 3,394 on Tuesday, a rise of 39 from the day before.