US Army Chaplain (Capt) Richard Hill is among a small group of Chaplains serving the needs of hundreds of troops at his base in Iraq. The impact his service has had on the spiritual well-being of troops in Iraq has been visible:
“It has been very rewarding to see the lives of the military touched by God,” he says, especially since they are under no compulsion to attend church or avail themselves of the services of a chaplain…
“We even had some Marines join the choir just because they liked to sing. As a result, they gave their lives to Christ Read more
The US Army Transport Dorchester was sunk 67 years ago on 3 February 1943. It was one of three ships in a convoy taking American troops across the Atlantic, and would become famous not because it was targeted by German submarines, as many ships were; nor did it become famous for the loss of life, as other events eclipsed the dead and wounded.
The USAT Dorchester became famous for the Four Chaplains.
Four Army chaplains were on board, along with nearly 900 other men: Lt. George Fox, a Methodist; Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish Rabbi; Lt. John Washington, a Roman Catholic Priest; and Lt. Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed minister. They became beacons Read more
Chaplain (Maj.) Sid A. Taylor is a Baptist Pastor and US Army Chaplain, currently deployed to Iraq. He oversees the “spiritual needs of more than 4,000 Soldiers:”
While not everyone here has the time nor the desire to attend the service of his or her choice, within FOBs Marez and Diamonback [sic], there are six protestant services, five masses, one Latter-Day Saints service, an Islamic Prayer Room and a Jewish meeting held each week.
Chaplain Taylor has an admirable perspective on the concept of the total person in the military, something the US Army is trying to recapture in its Comprehensive Soldier Fitness programs:
One of the biggest tasks before a chaplain is “Ensuring the spiritual and human dimensions of what we do are not lost.”
“The Army understands the importance of values, morals and integrity in everything we do. Soldiers have emotions and Families. They also have a soul that needs to be sustained in order to do what they do.”
Some might say, for example, that the scandal at Abu Ghraib Read more
Not unlike their Yankee counterparts, the British military is reporting difficulty in recruiting military Chaplains, despite an ever increasing demand due to the ongoing conflicts.
The Rev Stephen Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan and described his support of the troops:
“I let the soldiers know I was there, sometimes they would seek me out. We talked about everything ‑ pastoral, financial, personal, relationship, grief and bereavement issues. I would talk to anyone, whether they were Christian or not.”
He said the majority of those he met were open to faith and spirituality. “Often they ask us to pray for them. They say it can’t do any harm. When they go out they don’t know if they will come back. When their friends go out, they don’t know if they’ll come back.”
The challenges of supporting the religious freedoms of military members–as well as the honorable drive to support those freedoms–are not limited to the American military.
Being a Christian in the military can bring some interesting challenges when making offerings and donations to the Lord’s work. The Combined Federal Campaign, for example, has both its positives and negatives; in addition, there is simply the challenge of finding a consistent church to attend and support among a variety of moves and temporary assignments.
An additional consideration occurs when Christians in the military attend a military chapel. While most Christian denominations support the concept of contributing financially to one’s home church, the financial situation of a military chapel is somewhat different. Unlike a private church that depends on the funds of its members, a congregation will not be evicted from a military chapel for reasons of rent or mortgage, nor will the Chaplain be let go (or move on) because of issues with pay.
Some military Christians still support the chapel financially with Read more
This incident has been so mis-reported that it was initially just ignored; however, when General Gould published a statement agreeing that this incident has been “sensationalized,” he gave credence to the view that this situation is being grossly mischaracterized, and that people are inappropriately using it for their personal advancement. An analysis thus follows…
Despite the positive hullabaloo over the US Air Force Academy pagan circle, Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation has now denounced the placement of a cross at the site, an act that occurred before the recent positive press reports. Though the incident took place several weeks ago, the MRFF appeared to time the press release to counter the recent spate of “good news” about religious tolerance at USAFA.
For the record, it should go without saying that Read more
An interesting article in the Houston Chronicle discusses the rise and fall of religious iconography in the Protestant church. The interesting part of the article is the subject, US Army Chaplain (LtCol) John Laing. Laing is an atheist-turned-Baptist preacher:
Growing up, Laing was also taught that the honorable thing for young men to do is to serve their country. The Laing that joined the Army was a self-proclaimed atheist, though his basic training drill sergeant made him put “no religious preference” on his dog tag rather than “atheist.”
After he became a Christian, Laing led his fellow scouts, who often had to miss chapel service for reconnaissance missions, in prayer Read more
In a personal blog, a Chaplain with the US Army Airborne notes the unique reception of Chaplains among the troops when they join Soldiers on their missions–or in this case, on their training jumps:
“Chaplain, you’re jumping with us today? OK, I know I’m not going to die.” This is what I heard from a Staff Sergeant when I showed up for work at 0430 for our first jump back into Division. On a Jump Day Paratrooper Chaplain scores some good “ministry of presence” points. I always pray for us following the Jump Brief and hand out a few of the Patron Saint of Paratrooper pendants, St. Michael the Arcangel [sic]. Coming off the drop zone, a new Trooper remarked to me that it was effective.
As Chaplain Paul Lynn demonstrates, US military Chaplains have an enormously important role (and positive impact) on the mission of the men and women they serve.
Read more at Worth My Salt.