We are grateful for the wonderful support that has come from churches to chaplains, military members and their families. Many churches have connected with individual chaplains through our office as they were seeking ways to support deployed military members.
Memorial Day is May 31. This year as you reflect and remember the great sacrifice of life of those who served, I invite you to watch the brief video message (Click Here) as well as read the Presbyterian Mission Yearbook submission. (Click Here) Please share these resources with your church community, friends and family.
FOUR CHAPLAINS APPEAL (Bulletin Insert click here)
On Sunday, 7 February 2021, we are inviting churches across all four denomination to distribute the Four Chaplains Sunday insert, as well as, consider taking up a special offering for our pastoral care of chaplains on Sunday. All gifts shared during this appeal will go only for the care of Chaplains and their families, those who are on the front lines of caring for our military members and veterans.
Here is a link to a YouTube Video that you may use as appropriate. Four Chaplains Video Appeal
Here is a link to a Four Chaplains Sunday bulletin insert that can be used in conjunction with the video or as a stand-alone resource. Four Chaplains Sunday Insert
OTHER WAYS YOUR CHURCH CAN PARTNER WITH US:
The following is a collection of resources you may want to look at to help your church map out a ministry to military and help assist military and VA chaplains in your community.
This is an article that demonstrate the need for support for our military personnel and families: Caring for Military Families
A few helpful websites are the following:
Operation Shoe Box
You and your church can send a box of helpful articles for our troops.
“Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War”
Dr. Rita Brock was our 2013 Chaplain Training Conference speaker and author of this wonderful book looking at the issue of Moral Injury.
“Welcome them Home, Help them Heal”
Explains the psychological and spiritual stress experienced by military personnel, suggests interventions for churches, and offers assessment tools and bibliographies. The book is written by a VA Chaplain/Navy Reserve Chaplain and other health care providers in a VA center. We have used it in church conferences and at chaplain training conferences.
A resource for civilian clergy on ministry to families affected by military deployment; especially useful for churches located in military communities or in areas where members serve in reserve or national guard units. It is also an excellent tool for use in working with veteran groups.
Military Family Program
Military Family Program was compiled by spouses at the Army War College. This source, constantly updated, has information on almost any topic relevant to military families.
National Military Family Association
National Military Family Association is a non-profit advocacy group for military families. They also have useful publications and links.
To help a returning military member find medical resources:
Pray for our military members who have been wounded and those transitioning from a war environment to peace:
Support the work of the Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincy.
The Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincy is a joint ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America, and the Korean Presbyterian Church Abroad. As a joint ministry of these four denominations, we only receive less than 50% of our operating funds from these General Assemblies and Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Consider taking a special offering to support our work. Funds provided to the Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincy will help in the following areas.
1. We provide the ecclesiastical endorsement of ministers and ecclesiastical approval for seminarians interested in ministry with the military or the Department of Veteran Affairs.
- Ecclesiastical endorsement is the verification of professional and ecclesiastical qualifications of religious ministry professionals for appointment in the military services or in the Department of Veteran Affairs and is established by federal law and government directives. Ecclesiastical approval is a device to allow seminarians to participate in military chaplain candidate programs.
- We work with ministers/seminarians in coordination with their presbyteries (COM/COPM or other appropriate authority) to discern if military/VA ministry is a part of their calling.
- We evaluate ministers/seminarians suitability to work with the military/Department of Veteran Affairs.
2. We provide for the pastoral care of our chaplains, chaplain candidates, and their families.
- We visit chaplains wherever they are to support them in their work. We typically meet their commanders and help commanders understand the unique role chaplains play in the military system.
- We provide training opportunities for chaplains at annual training conferences. We provide feedback and guidance to our chaplains as they engage an ever-changing work environment.
- We intervene on behalf of our chaplains when there are issues between church and military requirements that are not easily resolved.
3. We work with chaplains to help them maintain their relationship with their presbyteries and their religious roots as the serve the military.
Pray for our chaplains and their work. Pray for their families and the units they work with. As simple as it is, it is still the greatest gift you can give us in this work.
Pray for those who have borne the battle.
2. ADOPT A CHAPLAIN…BECOME THEIR PRAYER PARTNERS
Send them care packages when they are deployed. Cards and letters of encouragement really help them feel good on bad days. To help us get you connected send us an email and we will send you a deployed chaplain’s name and address.
3. TALK TO YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE CONTEMPLATING SERVICE IN THE MILITARY
Let them know we have chaplains there to support them…and some of those chaplains are even Presbyterians!
4.KNOW A PERSON CONSIDERING CHAPLAINCY?
If you know of a person who might be interested in ministry as a chaplain…give them our contact information and have them talk with us.
5. FRIEND US ON FACEBOOK
Friend us on Facebook, a great place to find out what is going on with the PCCMP.
6. GIVE US A LINK
Ask your church/presbytery to add us as a link to your website.
7. LET US KNOW YOUR STORY
Many people came to religious faith while serving in the military…often because of a chaplain. We love to hear about those events.
8. MAKE A GIFT
Consider making a gift to the Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincy annual budget and encourage your church to consider this as one of their missions.
This section is for assisting presbyteries. We designed it to help Presbytery Executives, Stated Clerks, and Committees working with pastors or individuals preparing for ministry to discern an individual call to be a military or VA chaplain. As we work with four different denominational structures, please accept our apology if we are not using the correct term for you situation.
AUTHORITY AND ROLES OF PRESBYTERIES AND THE Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincy
- US Laws governing Veteran Affairs Chaplains, Military Chaplains, and Civil Air Patrol Chaplains require the national denomination to endorse federal chaplains. The Office of the General Assemblies of our four denominations yearly designated that authority to the Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincy to execute these endorsements on their behalf. This power includes the authority to provide and to withdraw endorsements.
- Church government clearly requires ministers to maintain membership and standing with their presbytery. Ministers serving as military, VA, or Federal Prison chaplains are still subject to the presbytery’s requirements and discipline. The Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincy does not act to grant or withdraw endorsement without consulting a chaplain’s presbytery.
- We act on behalf of presbyteries to provide assistance and support for chaplains, especially those working outside the bounds of their presbyteries. This support includes career guidance and pastoral support in times of crisis.
The Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincy seeks to act in the genuine interest of chaplains, and to work with presbyteries to form a cooperative relationship.
WORKING WITH VA, MILITARY CHAPLAINS AND SEMINARIANS
- Click here if you are working with a VA or Federal Prison Chaplain.
- Click here if you are working with a Military Chaplain.
- Click here if you are working with a Seminarian or individual in preparation for ordination.
COPY OF PRESBYTERY APPROVAL FOR ECCLESIASTICAL ENDORSEMENT
WORKING DISCIPLINE ISSUES.
Our hope and expectation is that this will never be an issue. However, it happens. When a military chaplain faces discipline issues, the commander has several different choices for reporting those issues and administering punishment. This can result in confusion between presbyteries and our office.
Our office, upon notification that a chaplain is being investigated, will first seek to provide appropriate ministerial support to the chaplain and family. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, further steps maybe required by the presbytery and our office.
If a commander selects not to bring charges or to use an administrative discipline, the outcome and even the investigation will most likely not be reported publicly. On the other hand, if the issue does become public record, we will work with the presbytery in question to handle the situation appropriately.
If we are asked to withdraw the endorsement of the chaplain by the military, we will consult with the presbytery. On the other hand, if the presbytery feels it is appropriate, it too can request us to withdraw the endorsement as well. All of our chaplains must be in good standing with their presbytery to be endorsed.
1) How do we process the Presbytery Permission for the Chaplain Candidate Program Form or the Presbytery Approval for Chaplaincy Form through our presbytery structure?
Each presbytery has its own procedures. We typically would urge you to use whatever system you have in place for review of calls for pastors or your committee responsible for individuals in preparation for ministry. The only problem with this is with the Veterans Affairs Chaplaincy endorsement.
2) Why are VA Endorsements a problem?
The structure of the VA job notification system requires individuals to submit an application in matter of days. When a position is listed on the USA Job Website, the applicant must submit everything in less than two weeks. Often this requires us to rush the endorsement process. Many presbyteries have had the Stated Clerk or the Presbytery Executive sign off on the permission/approval form as a result.
3) We haven’t heard from our chaplain in years, should we remove him as an active pastor?
Please contact us if this is your case. You should be staying connected with your chaplains. The reality is that given deployments, changes in duty stations and jobs, combined with life events, we become disconnected from each other. If you have lost contact with your chaplain, give us a call and we will work to reconnect you.