The Voice for Chaplaincy - Chartered by Congress - Serving Since 1925
Weekly Newsgram - June 27th 2018

Executive Director  Notes

As you are read this on Wednesday, I will be winging my way back from our trip in Malaysia and Singapore, which as good travel always does, has expanded my horizons in ways that I have not yet realized. It has also served to reinforce what we do as professional chaplains, in some very unexpected ways.

I had the opportunity to meet a number of remarkable folks, and given the diversity of the Malay peninsula, these included Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. When asked what I do, I would tell them that I was a chaplain and the Executive Director of this august organization. That would then lead to some questions that we have all had, such as "What does a chaplain do" and "Do you only serve your own tradition?" I was glad to tell them - in my "elevator speech" some of what we do in the uniformed services, the VA, and (in my case) civilian healthcare. Many found my explanation of the ministry we have with patients, families, staff and so often in civilian healthcare, area clergy, to be informative, and often leave it at that. If the conversation went further in depth, it would extend to what does it mean to be a chaplain to someone who is not an Episcopalian/Anglican or even a Christian. For those few conversations that went even a bit farther, they would be amazed that we, as professional chaplains, understand that we do not seek to convert others to our own specific faith tradition, but honor the traditions of those we serve. This would often be the real point of confusion for folks, and completely unexpected.

This astonishment highlighted for me what a gift has been given to us as chaplains. We are individually anchored in our own faith traditions but willing to reach out to those who we serve, regardless of their faith tradition, and to assist them in being able to connect with their faith in a meaningful way.

Remarkably, a visit to such a diverse culture - and the conversations I had with those who asked what I do - allowed me the opportunity to reinforce my understanding of the profession of chaplaincy. We are endorsed by our faith tradition - and expected to be rooted and nourished in it - and at the same time are expected to reach out to others and honor them, often times in a crisis when they turn to us for support. Such ministry initially confuses many people, but to us, it is the baseline of who we are and what we do.

During this trip I unexpectedly reconnected with being a chaplain through some simple questions posed by many who differed from me in many ways. The result was both refreshing and rejuvenating.

When was the last time you were "surprised" at rediscovering why it is you do what you do?

Fr. Razz Waff, DMin, BCC

In Memoriam

COL, USA, Retired
born September 29, 1924
deceased May 31, 2018
MCA Member 1974
Roman Catholic
Manassas, VA

LCDR, CHC, USN, Retired
born June 28, 1953
deceased June 14, 2018
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
MCA Member 1994
Virginia, MN

Chaplain, USA, Retired
born 1936
deceased June 24, 2018
MCA Member 1981
Roman Catholic
North Tonawanda, NY

wife of 
Chaplain (LTC) Gene Tyson, USA, Retired (deceased)
born September 11, 1946
deceased June 13, 2018
Lampasas, TX

Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Walters, 109th Security Forces Squadron manager, presents the Wing Staff Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Award to Master Sgt. Jeremiah P. Henderson.

Airman earns 
Minute Man Award
Air National Guard Master Sgt. Jeremiah P. Henderson of Colonie has earned a Minute Man Award for being the Outstanding Air National Guard Chaplain Assistant of the Year.

Henderson serves as superintendent of Chaplain Operations at the 109th Airlift Wing at the Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia. He also serves full time on state active duty as event coordinator for the state Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Domestic Operations, and Citizen Preparedness Corps in Latham. He has coordinated more than 900 events training more than 50,000 citizens on disaster preparedness, response and recovery since May 2015.

He earned the Minute Man Award for demonstrating superior initiative, technical skill, contribution to mission support and leadership during civic, cultural and professional activities in the military and civilian community. 

Additionally, Henderson was recognized by the 109th as the Wing Staff Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.

In recognition of their support of his military career, Henderson made sure his pastor, Bill Smith of Pineview Community Church in Latham, and parishioners received an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award.

Henderson says Smith and the Pineview Community Church parishioners went above and beyond caring for the service member's family and kept him informed about current events during the six months the sergeant was deployed overseas. During the deployment, several church staff members reached out to him to check on his well-being. Parishioners sent cards and letters to the airman. The church also provided his family with meals on several occasions, as well as moral support.

Henderson's most recent deployment was to U.S. Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa Headquarters at Remstein Air Base in Germany, where he served as manager of a Chaplain Corps in support of 2,000 wounded soldiers.

As a chaplain's assistant and now a religious affairs airman, he partnered with chaplains to form religious support teams to help meet the spiritual needs of service members and their families, as well as to advise leadership and assist with crisis intervention.

A Different Approach to Chaplain Training

Church in Wales wins contract to train British military chaplains

Chaplains serving the UK military personnel will continue to be trained by the Church in Wales, after the Anglican province won a contract to provide training for the next five years. Britain's Ministry of Defence awarded the contract to St Padarn's Institute, the Church in Wales' new training institute. The Church in Wales has been training British military chaplains since 2001, but has to re-bid every five years. It beat off stiff competition from some of the UK's top colleges and universities.

"To be chosen as the UK institution supplying high-level theological training for the MOD bolsters our post-graduate work, and keeps us at the forefront of an important area of Christian mission," St Padardn's Principal, Professor Jeremy Duff, said. "We are delighted that our MTh Chaplaincy Studies Course covering areas of military ethics, contemporary mission, reflective practice and the broader areas of faith, belief and spirituality, is recognised as the best in the country and the first choice for the Ministry of Defence moving forward.

"Military Chaplains are agents of transformation to those parts of society and to those parts of the world that the traditional church struggles to reach. They can be found in some of the most dangerous parts providing spiritual support, pastoral care and moral guidance. They make a significant difference."

Major Andrew Latifa has served alongside troops in Iraq and Afghanistan during more than 10 years as an Army chaplain. He says it is "a very privileged place to be."

He said: "I have seen soldiers with tattoos of Jesus on the cross, which probably didn't mean much when they had it done, other than it being artistic. All of a sudden, when they are in combat, that tattoo becomes central to their lives - they see the significance of Jesus and prayer becomes important.

"I've seen lads with texts of scripture which they'd written out in thick pen on canvas adhesive and they would put it on their bags and would quite happily talk about how they would read those words and say a prayer for their partner at home and just think about what they were doing that day.

"When the busyness of everyday life is stripped away you are left with what really matters - life and death - and it is then that people see there has to be more to life and faith becomes important. In a place of conflict people start to entertain the thoughts that they wouldn't dare to when there's a World Cup on TV or the sun's out and the family is going to the beach.

"Thoughts of God aren't all that alien anymore because they understand that this world doesn't have all the answers, that here are limits to what people can do and that there has got to be something better."

Chapter News
South Carolina Chapter

At the June 19 Military Chaplains Association SC Chapter meeting @ Ft Jackson, Chapter President,  Chaplain Dave DeDonato, was presented with the prestigious College of the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Humanitarian Award for his work with military and public safety chaplains. 

Chaplain DeDonato was nominated for the award by his high school classmate, Hal Blaisdell. Hal received a memento to remember the occasion from MCA National President Michael Langston. Hal and his wife Sherry are members of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor and promote the work of the foundation. 

The Military Chaplains Magazine
2018 Themes and Submission Deadlines
Summer Issue - Chaplains and World War 1
Articles to be submitted by June 30
Publication July 23
Fall Issue - Religious Accommodation in 2018
Articles to be submitted by September 30
Publication September 24
Winter Issue - Chaplaincy and Religion in a Post-Truth World
Articles to be submitted by November 30
Publication December 21

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