The Voice for Chaplaincy - Chartered by Congress - Serving Since 1925
Weekly Newsgram - October 17th 2018
Chaplain Ride Along Mexico Beach Florida
MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (
) - This is Ground Zero in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. The National Guard is helping local law enforcement keep people safe and keep order.
This afternoon, our crew attached to a National Guard unit and went into Mexico Beach.
We rode with a chaplain with the 1st Squadron - 153rd Calvalry Regimen out of Panama City. He's come to pray with folks, to reassure them, as Hurricane Michael has shaken many families to the core.
"I can't imagine if that was my house, if that happened to me, I'd want a minister to come pray with me as well," said Captain Jacob Williams, after leading a mother, her son and his girlfriend in a prayer.
The trio is from Atlanta and came to check their vacation home. It's mostly a loss.
They also have grand-parents on Mexico Beach who live there year round. Their homes are totally gone.
Chaplain Williams had them join hands.
"A lot of times the media uses these big words like 'catastrophic' and normally when I'm watching the news I say they are over blowing it, but with this one in Panama City, and Mexico beach, catastrophic, that's the right word for this one," Williams said.
The chaplain has fond memories of Mexico Beach himself because three years ago he vacationed here with his wife's family.
The spots he visited have been brutalized.
"Looks like Godzilla came through," Williams describes.
On the way out of Mexico Beach on our tour with the Guard, the sun set on this battered part of what is lovingly called "The Forgotten Coast," for its laid back vibe.
But the chaplain perfectly captures the mission of the Guard and how all of us in Florida are feeling right now.
We're thinking first of The Forgotten Coast.
"I'd want somebody to come in and to help, to provide security, some relief and encouragement," Williams said.
United States Air Force, retired
born December 17, 1932
deceased October 6, 2018
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
White Rock, South Carolina
Captain, Chaplain Corps, United States Navy, Retired
born July 8, 1925
deceased September 7, 2018
MCA Member 1973
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Executive Director Notes
As I have noted in my past few columns, there have been some remarkable work taking place in all sorts ways and places by those who do not currently fall under the "umbrella" of MCA. One of the things we will be looking at with our upcoming meeting will be broadening the umbrella of membership to include chaplain who are part of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the State Guard chaplains of the states which meet the endorsement requirements of the current chaplains we have as our members.
The Federal Bureau of Prison chaplains are already endorsed by the majority of NCMAF endorsers, and state guard chaplains who meet the same requirements for NCMAF endorsement are often either retired military or VA chaplains, or are possible candidates for such chaplaincy. In many ways they parallel both the National Guard chaplains of their states, and also work side by side with Civil Air Patrol chaplains. As discussed at the May National Executive Committee meeting, this would be a natural expansion of membership.
We also want to re-emphasize that active, reserve, guard and retired NCOs who are serving or have served as religious program specialists and chaplain assistants are already eligible for membership, as are civilian directors of religious education. These hard working professionals are full team members with chaplains as we together minister to the members of our various communities. Now we improve the MCA by welcoming all of you as members of our professional association.
We are looking forward to our next meeting when we will have the opportunity to be challenged by our future of advocating and supporting the profession of chaplaincy.
Fr. Razz Waff, DMin, BCC
35 Years Ago
October 23, 1983
Marine Barracks Beirut Bombed
A Part of Chaplaincy History
The 1983 Beirut barracks bombing was a terrorist attack that occurred on October 23, 1983, in Beirut, Lebanon, during the Lebanese Civil War. Two truck bombs struck buildings housing Multinational Force in Lebanon (MNF) peacekeepers, specifically against United States and French service members, killing 241 U.S. and 58 French peacekeepers, 6 civilians and the 2 suicide attackers. A group called Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombings and said that the attacks were to get the MNF out of Lebanon.
Three Navy chaplains were on the ground and were able to respond immediately to the carnage following the attack. One of those present was Navy Chaplain Arnie Resnicoff. Below are some of his thoughts as he remembers that day and the impact it had on our nation's future.
Here is a link to an article which appeared in the National Catholic Reporter last year. In the article you can view the speech by President Reagan referenced below.
From Chaplain Resnicoff -
I think the Beirut Barracks bombing had special meaning for chaplains for many reasons including the fact that there were three chaplains on the scene when the bomb exploded -- one Catholic, one Protestant, and I, Jewish -- but also because (as I think you know) it led to the first Presidential speech based on a chaplain's report.
Four days after the bombing, when then-VP George H. W. Bush led the White House team to visit the site, I was asked to write a report. That report was read by President Reagan as his keynote address to 20,000 attendees of the Baptist Fundamentalism '84 conference in Washington, DC, led by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
As we celebrate advances in religious accommodation, especially since the changes in 2014, we should remember that it was the story of Catholic chaplain Father George Pucciarelli, who made me a makeshift head covering by tearing a piece of his camouflage uniform off after my kippa had become dirty and bloodied after I used it to wipe the faces of wounded Marines, that helped pass the first religious accommodation directive allowing head coverings: actually the religious apparel act, which later became part of a religious accommodation directive, and later instruction.
The act had failed in Congress for two years in a row, but after President Reagan told the story, and it was read into the Congressional record for both the Senate and the House, the bill passed.
That really marked the beginning of all the religious accommodation achievements we have made in the military until today. There have been ups and downs as we took steps forward and then backwards and then forward again - but it all started with this action of Father Pucciarelli.
Spiritual Care for Moral Injury: Equipping Religious Leaders and Faith Communities
The Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School is offering a Conference on Moral Injury in Denver on Thursday November 15th.
The conference "Spiritual Care for Moral Injury: Equipping Religious Leaders and Faith Communities" will held 8:45 am- 5:00pm at Iliff School of Theology.
A block of hotel rooms nearby will be available at conference rate November 14-15, 2018. For more information or to register, please v
Registration and Schedule to Go Live on Our Web Site this Week
Check mca-usa.org on Friday to sign up.
MCA National Institute and Annual Meeting 2018
Chaplaincy in a Post Truth World
November 5, 6 and 7, 2018
Sheraton Pentagon City, 900 S Omre Street, Arlington VA
November 5th -
National Executive Committee Meeting all day
Member Reception 1800
November 6th -
Optional Seminars - 0900 - 1200
Sustaining Members Luncheon - 1230 - 1330
Plenary Presentations 1330 - 1700
Awards Banquet 1800 - 2100 Speaker - Chaplain of the Senate Barry Black
November 7th -
Memorial Service - 0900
Annual Meeting - 1030
Key Note Address - 1100A
Meeting registration form on the MCA website soon
Note: the United States Army Chaplain Corps Regimental Association will be meeting at the Sheraton Pentagon City immediately following our meeting - for more see their website here
MCA Hotel Registration
If you missed the October 10th
edition of the Newsgram
SUPPORTING CHAPLAINCY IN AND OUT OF UNIFORM: Active, Retired and Former Chaplains of the
United States Army,
United States Navy,
United States Air Force, Department of
Veterans Affairs, and
Civil Air Patrol
AND THOSE THEY SERVE: military members, veterans, and their families
at home and around the world
The Military Chaplains Association of the USA