Dawn Coffin

Date of Award


Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Liberal Studies


Kristina Passman

Second Committee Member

Yvonne Thibodeau

Third Committee Member

Phyllis Brazee


Living the Ethic of Care has been a life experience in witnessing and ministering to human need in a variety of ways that could not have been predicted. The mission was to move into and become a part of a community in Downeast Maine where the writer would invest herself in every way so that the focus of the mission became service to the huge variety of individuals in whatever ways she identified need. It began as an exercise of living the Ethic of Care and evolved into a change in personhood where the actor grew to care deeply about the needs of others and the methods that would be effective in meeting those needs. It has become apparent from this project that needs are many and those who would rise to the task of caring, serving, and meeting those desires, requests, wishes or even unexpressed needs are few. Jesus proclaimed a harvest ripe, but a lack of laborers to work in the fields. So what is to become of the harvest fruits if there is no one to do the work? The fruit will die on the vine, rot in the field, or go to whatever carrion would prey upon it. At the completion of this thesis, one must ask the question, "How can we let this happen?" Here an image imposes itself in which the lively scarecrow stands alone in her field wildly flailing one arm trying to protect that fruit while attempting with the other to gather what precious things she can before it is too late. How many will be lost cannot be told, but try she must as drops of anguish leak down her straw face. All the while she calls out to others for help in this huge field of need and desperation. A few offer timid efforts; others turn away. This Ethic of Care must be a calling. For the writer of this thesis it has become an urgent siren expressing domestic need and emergent crisis. Yet, there has been success. The mission now becomes multi-fold: recruit others to the process; encourage those who are at risk to ask for help; persevere in this work; grow personally; and develop new methods utilizing the lessons learned.