Discerning Your Call to Chaplaincy
Welcome to this process of discernment concerning your move towards military or VA chaplaincy. This is a discernment and validation of ministry process performed in participation and consultation with your presbytery. Please realize it will take many days, weeks or even months to complete depending on your own life experiences and those working with you to discern God’s will in your life. If you are not a member of one of our four Presbyterian Denominations, please contact us by phone please contact us by phone 202-630-6225 or email Lyman Smith at Lsmith@pccmp.org.
To help you through this process please follow these steps:
1. PRAY, AND FIND OTHERS TO PRAY WITH YOU.
2. TALK TO OTHERS.
Talk with your family, mentors, fellow pastors, and those who can help you discern this option for your ministry. Look through our FAQs section. The FAQs may help you think about different topics that you might address with others and yourself as you move through this process.
3. CONSIDER THE GENERAL REQUIREMENTS.
Consider carefully if you can qualify by meeting these general requirements:
- Sensitive to religious pluralism and able to provide for the free exercise of religion by all military personnel, their family members and civilians who work with that military service.
- Possess a baccalaureate degree of not less than 120 semester hours or 180 quarter hours from an accredited college or university.*
- Possess a 72 semester hours or 108 quarter hours of graduate credit in theological or religious studies from an accredited school to include an earned graduate degree.*
- Be a U.S. Citizen, the Army may consider permanent resident for individuals entering the reserve programs.
- Specific military requirements.
- Be able to receive a favorable background check.
- Be able to pass a physical exam.
- Be between 21 and 47 years old (age waivers may be granted based on years of prior service).
* If your degree is from a foreign college or university, it must be reviewed through an American accrediting process to determine its equivalence.
4. CONSIDER WHICH TYPE OF FEDERAL CHAPLAINCY BEST SUITS YOU.
Understand that federal chaplaincy varies widely. FBOP Chaplains are dealing with incarcerated individuals, VA chaplains deal with a lot of medical chaplaincy issues and Military chaplains has it own stresses and strains that is different even between the different branches of the military. Each has its own particular stresses and strains. See Contemplating Ministry page for more information. If you would like to talk with a chaplain from a specific service, please contact us and we will connect you with a Presbyterian chaplain from that service. Please contact Lyman Smith at 202-630-6225 or by email at Lsmith@pccmp.org.
5. COMPLETE THE APPLICATION.
- Military Endorsement Application
- Veterans Affairs Endorsement Application (FBOP Please use this application)
We must have signed applications to begin processing it. The adobe form has an electronic signature. If for some reason you cannot electronically sign the application, please physically sign it, scan the application into a file and sent it via email to email@example.com.
Please ensure all items in section J of the Military Endorsement Application are accomplished, and section I for the Veterans Affairs Endorsement Application. Please note: we are no longer requiring a tape sermon for VA chaplaincy applications; this will be updated in the next version of the application.
If you denomination does not use Personal Information Forms, your personal resume will be accepted.
6. CONTACT YOUR REFERENCES.
To facilitate the processing of your application, please let individuals who you identify as references know that you are using them as a reference.
7. CHECK IN WITH YOUR PRESBYTERY.
As this has a direct impact on your call and ministry, we must have your presbytery’s approval to seek a call as a federal chaplain. Active Duty Chaplaincy and Veteran Affairs Chaplaincy are considered “specialized ministry.” Reserve and National Guard ministry also create issues that need to be negotiated if you are pastoring in a church, such as what happens if you are called to extended active duty in case of a national emergency. Please make sure you are talking with appropriate individuals at your presbytery regarding this process. In most cases, it would be the Committee on Ministry or its equivalent, in some in may be the stated clerk or presbyter executive.
8. INTERVIEW PROCESS.
Individuals seeking endorsement with the VA or Civil Air Patrol, will typically be interview by a Full-Time VA Chaplain, or in the case of CAP with a military chaplain. We try to have one of our Presbyterian Chaplains closest to you do the interview. You are expected to travel to meet with them if it is reasonable. If such travel is impractical, we will have you complete the interview by phone. If for some reason the interviewing chaplains is not satisfied with the interview, you will be invited to meet with the interview committee at their next meeting.
Individuals seeking endorsement as a military chaplain will meet with the interview committee. Typically these meetings are held three times a year at different locations and will be scheduled when there is reasonable numbers to justify a meeting. Interviews are typically an hour in length and seeks to established how well the interviewee would work with a military unit. Most members of the interview committee served or are serving as military chaplains.
Becoming a Chaplain
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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