Contemplating Ministry as a Chaplain?
Feeling the Call to Serve?
A call to serve as a chaplain must be approached with both an openness to God’s leading and a willingness to listen to the voice of the Church throughout the process of discernment. Reading through this section will assist you in discerning the ministry to which God is calling you.
Ministry in the federal government is both unique and challenging. Chaplains are expected to enter federal service as fully formed, spiritually mature representatives of their own faith groups, capable of working cooperatively in an interfaith environment while maintaining a faithfulness to their own denomination. Serving as a chaplain in the federal government requires a commitment to ensuring that the rights of all personnel to practice the faith of their choosing, or to practice no faith at all, are respected and upheld.
The FAQ’s page can answer some of your questions, but we encourage you to call us. We want to get to know you personally — that is the best way to ensure that you understand the process.
1) TALK TO YOUR PASTOR, A FRIEND, OR SOMEONE YOU TRUST.
This is a discussion between you, God, your family, and the Church. Pray about it, talk it over with your family, your pastor, or a trusted friend in ministry, then pray some more.
2) TALK TO YOUR PRESBYTERY.
Include your Presbytery in the discussion — your Committee on Ministry or Committee on Preparation for Ministry is a good place to start. Your pastor will know how to get in contact with the appropriate Presbytery committee.
3) THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REQUIRES THAT YOU HAVE A MINIMUM OF AN EARNED GRADUATE DEGREE FROM AN ACCREDITED COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY WITH AT LEAST 72-SEMESTER HOURS OR 108-QUARTER HOURS OF GRADUATE CREDIT IN THEOLOGICAL OR RELIGIOUS STUDIES.
The standard is a Master of Divinity degree. If your degree is from a foreign educational institution, it will have to be evaluated in order to determine its equivalency with a degree earned in an accredited school located in the United States. The Program of Alternative Studies certificate is not an equivalent degree program recognized by the Federal Government for chaplains.
4) YOU MUST HAVE AT LEAST 2 YEARS OF POST-ORDINATION PASTORAL EXPERIENCE.
The Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Veterans Affairs all require this. They do so to ensure that individuals considering federal chaplaincy are well grounded in the faith traditions and pastoral practices of their faith groups. Some individuals, upon completion of seminary, may enter the Reserve or National Guard chaplaincies, but service standards vary. Waivers are considered in exceptional situations.
5) DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS CHAPLAINS MUST HAVE A MINIMUM OF 2 UNITS OF CLINICAL PASTORAL EDUCATION.
Two units is the minimum requirement; having four or more units increases your chances of being hired. Special training, or a supervisory certification, also improves your position in the hiring process. Several VA medical centers around the country have CPE programs. Completing CPE within a VA medical facility is not a guarantee; in fact, it is highly unusual for an individual to get hired for the first job they apply for. Typically, it takes several attempts and a willingness to move to where the job is located. VA jobs are posted on usajobs.com, and are only open for two weeks at a time.
6) IF YOU ARE ENROLLED IN SEMINARY OR HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED INTO SEMINARY, YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR A MILITARY CHAPLAIN CANDIDATE PROGRAM.
This is a great avenue for learning about military chaplaincy while you complete your theological education. As a commissioned officer, you will receive duty pay during your active training time. Some seminaries and presbyteries may also consider this as part of your educational experience. Find out more on the Seminary Student Page.
7) IN ORDER TO BE ENDORSED BY THE Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincy, YOU MUST BE AN ORDAINED PASTOR IN ONE OF THE FOUR DENOMINATIONS WE REPRESENT.
Different denominations have different standards for ordination. You must meet not only your denomination’s standards but the standards of the federal government as well.
8) PRESBYTERIAN FEDERAL CHAPLAINCY ENDORSEMENT DOES NOT GUARANTEE EMPLOYMENT WITHIN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
An endorsement from the Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincy is just one part of the process of applying for a federal chaplaincy position. Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincy endorsement in no way guarantees that an applicant will be accepted into a federal chaplaincy program. The Department of Defense, the Department of Justice and the Department of Veterans Affairs are highly selective and usually have many more applicants than positions.
Links for additional information
Air Force: http://www.airforce.com/chaplain/
Veterans Affairs: http://www.va.gov/CHAPLAIN/components/Employment_Information.asp
Civil Air Patrol: Click here for the application form.
Federal Bureau of Prisons: https://www.bop.gov/jobs/positions/index.jsp?p=Chaplain
Approved to Receive a Call (Not Ordained)
If you currently serve as an endorsed chaplain or chaplain candidate, this section is to help you. We have listed here information that you need to navigate policies, and guidance. Also listed here are resources and report forms that will help you and your ministry.
2023 CHAPLAIN TRAINING AND CREDENTIALING EVENTS
Currently serving chaplains, regardless of status, are required to attend a credentialing event at least once every three years, unless prevented by mission requirements. All currently serving chaplains will be supported in the maintenance of their professional credentials and ecclesiastical standing through attendance and participation in these mandatory events.
This summer we will hold the 2023 version of the Chaplain Training and Credentialing event in two locations –
West Coast – Calvin Crest Conferences outside Oakhurst, CA – June 26-30
East Coast – Montreat Conference Center in Montreat NC – August 7-11
Montreat Conference Center Information:
Montreat registration will open soon. Click here for registration
Montreat Conference Center, Chaplain Credentialing and Training Event 2023 MOI (Click here)
Calvin Crest Information: June 26 - 30, 2023
Calvin Crest registration is now open. Please see below for instructions for registration. Please note PFC authorized dates are Monday, 26 June through Friday, 30 June 2023.
Instructions for Registration: Click here: Calvin Crest Registration Online
- Create a login for yourself/family here: Click here: Calvin Crest Register Online *Note: If you have come to Calvin Crest before only with PFC, you will need to create a new account. If you have come to a Calvin Crest hosted summer program before and have account info, you can use that to login. If you have any questions about whether you have an active account with us, feel free to call our office at 559-772-4040.
- Add each member of your family that will be coming with you as a "camper" (this includes spouses)
- Enroll each member of your family- this will be done one at a time. You will go through the whole process, including checkout and payment for one person, then do this same process for each member of your family. Beginning with yourself, click the "Enroll for 2023" button, then select the option "Presbyterian Federal Chaplains Family Camp: June 26-30, 2023" and your age, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click "Save and Continue"
- For each person, you will complete the application questions. Just once per family, you will choose which lodging option you would like and if you'll be joining us on Sunday (5 nights) or Monday (4 nights). PFC's primary lodging is the Cedar Lodge. Note: we hope you'll join us for Calvin Crest's full Family Camp programming which begins on Sunday! Note that if you choose to join us on Sunday, the difference in cost between the 4 night and 5 night rates will not be covered by PFC since PFC's program begins on Monday.
- Next, complete the Medical Forms for the individual you are registering, then check out.
- Check Out: Please select "Deposit Only" for yourself and pay the $100 deposit to secure your families spot. For each other adult family member, you can select the "Mail Check" Option, which will allow you to finish their registration without paying additional deposit amounts.
Final payments will be due upon arrival at Calvin Crest. If you have any questions or need assistance throughout the process, don't hesitate to reach out to our office at 559-772-4040.
Calvin Crest Memorandum of Instruction (MOI), Chaplain Credentialing and Training Event 2023 (Click here)
Calvin Crest Additional Information: (Click Here To Download)
Post 2021 Training and Credentialing Resources:
The 2021 Training and Credentialing Event is now complete. People were able to participate either in person or virtually via Zoom.
Videos Available - If you were not able to attend you may view the videos of the devotionals and training at our Group page on Facebook - Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincies.
Join our group - if you have not joined our Facebook group please do so. Search Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincies and you should be welcomed as a member. If not, ask to join and we will approve. We hope this group will be useful now and into the future.
CHAPLAIN RESOURCES AND TRAINING
1/27/21 Chaplains All Access January 2021 Meeting Slides Click here
April 30, 2020: With gratitude to the presenters listed below, the previously recorded presentation "MORAL RESILIENCE IN MEDICAL WORKERS DURING COVID-19" Webinar Training is offered via the following link:
https://voa.zoom.us/rec/share/7OtUAZazrD5JGafD7mrbVp8mF4foeaa80yIW-6EMnRlgCNlflI9WeaJR0WWRvkqu Access Password: E5@20J^?
Download PDF Webinar Outline and Resources Handout: https://presfedchap.org/moral-resilience-webinar-april-17-2020/
Webinar Overview: Moral injury is happening all around us as COVID-19 ravages lives all across the nation. Our medical teams are especially at risk. We are here to help, in real time, by providing information about what kinds of things put people at risk, how to maintain moral resilience in the crisis, and what can be done in the aftermath to help people process their experiences. Participants in this online discussion will receive information in a "tool kit" for coping in the midst of the pandemic and after.
Dr. Rita Brock
Senior Vice President and Director of the Shay Moral Injury Center
at Volunteers of America
Dr. Cynda Hylton Rushton
Anne and George L. Bunting Professor of Clinical Ethics in
the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the
School of Nursing
Moderated by Rev. Dr. Al Boyce
Chaplain, Volunteers of America Northern New England
April 14, 2020: “Crisis Support in the Midst of a Pandemic” PRESENTED BY: South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program
Please click on the link to begin training: http://pccmp.org/final-for-review-version-2/
UKIRK COLLEGE MINISTRIES SUPPORTED BY THE PCUSA
OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
Note: Posting of these websites in no way constitutes an endorsement by the Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincy of their content or a guarantee of their usefulness.
Link to Military Chaplains Association (MCA)
Contact Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincies
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