Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 9:17 am
Choice Christian greetings!
This weekend, we are celebrating what is traditionally called in the U.S., “Memorial Day.” On this occasion, communities and metropolitan areas have numerous services of remembrance to thank our Veterans of previous wars/conflicts for their sacrificial service. The sad thing is that very few citizens show up for these occasions. A typical Memorial Day service, sometimes conducted in the middle of a Veterans’ cemetery, will be attended mostly by “old Vets;” many pushed in wheelchairs, others with their walking canes shuffling slowly towards the celebration site. How quickly we forget! How easy it is for us to forget that, following September 11, 2001, we have sent hundreds of thousands of U.S. and other countries’ men and women into Iraq, Afghanistan and other critical areas! Regardless of how you feel about this present conflict, these are our sons and daughters…and someday, they will be our “old Vets.” If you take the time to attend one of these Memorial Day celebrations, an “old Vet” may tell you the stories of those days when he/she was a recruit, the many assignments within the U.S. and overseas and the personal stories of the good, the bad and the ugly of their service. A few years ago, in talking to Dr. Bill Leonard, the Director of Ministerial Care for the Church of God, I learned that his aging dad had served in World War II as probably the first Church of God “Chaplain’s Assistant.” This historical reality had never been put in print; and this man of God had never been honored for those days, when he was just beyond teen years, serving as a Chaplain’s Assistant in some of the most fierce conflicts during World War II in the Philippines and other areas. The Chaplains Commission took time to investigate this unsung hero; and, in a special luncheon with numerous family members present, we had the honor of making James Billy Leonard, Sr. an honorary “Chaplain Emeritus.” Humbly, he received all our commendations and remarks, along with a chaplain’s certificate; but, you could tell from the expression on his face that he was thinking, “Somebody remembered me and my military service!” He is now with the Lord; but burned in the hearts of all of us present, especially his family, is that look of appreciation for simply remembering. Memorial Day is a time of remembrance…of those who paved the way for our freedom, religious rights and all the other things that go with a “job well done.” Memorial Day should be special, not just for “old Vets,” but all of us who are the recipients of their sacrifices.
UPCOMING SPECIAL EVENTS:
1. The Chaplains Commission just completed a Community Service Chaplains Basic Course in the country of Chile. One of our Chaplaincy Training Field Coordinators, Chaplain Paul Stockard, was the lead instructor for this course.
2. May 31, 2008, the Church of God Theological Seminary will conduct graduation ceremonies. One very special friend/colleague will march with honors. He is Chaplain Tom Offutt, our full-time Coordinator of Disaster and Compassionate Chaplaincy Ministries. We will give you a later report of him and other chaplain candidates who proudly completed their studies and are on their way for other chaplaincy pursuits.
3. June 2-6, 2008, our 40-hour Community Service Chaplaincy Basic Course will be conducted on the Seminary campus. Certification, undergraduate or graduate credits can be received for completion of this course. If you want more information regarding this course, contact Dr. Doc Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or Reverend Wayne Roberson at email@example.com.
4. June 23-27, 2008, a Community Service Chaplaincy Basic Course will be conducted in Jamaica. If you are interested in this course, contact Dr. Doc Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. July 11, 2008, is the retirement of Navy Chaplain (CDR) Ralph Douglas, Yorktown, Virginia.
6. August 2-4, 2008, is the Pre-Assembly Chaplains and Family Conference, San Antonio, Texas.
1. We are saddened by the death of Reverend William J. Millwood, Cleveland, Tennessee. Brother Millwood is the father of retired Air Force Chaplain (LTC) Jerry Millwood, who is also the pastor of the Hopewell Church of God. Reverend Millwood was a Church of God minister for more than 40 years. Send your notes of prayer support to the Millwood family at: email@example.com.
2. Hospice Chaplain Deborah Valiton, Chattanooga, Tennessee, gives this report: “I have great news to share with my chaplaincy family. I have experienced two major joys in my life; I was recently Ordained with the Church of God, and I am engaged and anticipate marriage this fall. I would appreciate your prayer during this exciting time of my life and ministry.”
3. Law Enforcement Chaplain Barry Cushman, Windham, Maine, reports: “Pray for the family of one of our supervisors. He accidently shot and killed himself while getting his gear ready for work. He left a wife and two young children.”
4. Army Chaplain (MAJ) Daniel Kinjorski, Copperas Cove, Texas, reports: “Continue to pray for me and my family. I have now been demobilized from active duty where I spent one year at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and a second year at Fort Hood, Texas.”
5. Prison Chaplain Karen Sherman, Long View, Washington, testifies: “Recently, I had the honor and great blessing of conducting prison services with a woman that I met three years ago. She was one of the most angry and verbally hostile women I had ever encountered. I watched the Lord do a work in her life as the months passed by. She committed her life to Him, and it was visible in her words and actions. She was released from jail for a one-year faith-based live-in program in our area. I had the privilege of attending her wedding and graduation, held on the same night. She and her husband both graduated from this special program. I cannot put into words what it was like to participate in this jail service with one who had been so miraculously changed. Here she was, bringing the Good News to inmates! She told the group of her 42 years of drug and other addictions; and how Jesus Christ had set her free, even of cigarettes. She gave God all the glory! Now, almost 60 years of age, she has a whole new life and knows exactly what God wants her to do with it. There are nights when the Holy Spirit moves in our jail services with unusual faithfulness; this was one of those nights.”
6. Chaplain Judy Ramsey, Oxford, Ohio, gives this report: “I had the privilege of organizing a walk for Multiple Sclerosis where 100 kids and parents participated from our church. Just from our group, $4,500 was raised. Over $34,000 was raised from the entire event. Additionally, our kids held a yard sale and raised $1,300 for packages for our soldiers and food for our benevolence pantry. Also, I want to honor one of our chaplains, Chaplain Valaira Hoskins, who has been working as a chaplain in a low-income housing complex. She patiently ministers to these families weekly. She has helped organize dinners, clothing drives and food distribution for those in need. She and her husband bring van loads of children to church; and I have watched wild kids be transformed through Christ to become leaders to other children. She is the perfect example of community chaplains answer to the needs of our community. I just want everyone to know of these “unsung heroes” of the caliber of Chaplain Valaira Hoskins.”
7. Law Enforcement Chaplain Don Collett, Hanceville, Alabama, recently published a book entitled, “Sermonsnacks: Help, Hope and Encouragement for Today.” Chaplain Collett explains, “We just learned that the National Indie Excellence 2008 Book Awards have been announced, and Sermonsnacks has been chosen as a finalist in the religion category. Formal announcement of the awards will be made at the 2008 Book Expo America, which will be held May 29-June 1 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Publishers, buyers and readers will have the opportunity to learn more about why Sermonsnacks has received this recognition.” If you would like to learn more about this award, you may do so online at: www.sermonsnacks.com.
Our newest chaplain assigned to active duty, Air Force Chaplain (CPT) Chris Underwood, called me from his car on his way to his first full-time duty station, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Obviously, he was excited about this new opportunity for one of the most exciting ministries found anywhere! This week, he begins his full-time military ministry at a time of many complexities. This age can be characterized by the words of Charles Dickens in The Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, and the worst of times.” Like never before, we need dedicated and passionate chaplains. We send them out into a post-modern world that, among many other problems, has “lost its way.” Chaplain Underwood has accepted this challenge and has been mentored by Godly parents and pastors; with two years as senior pastor at a local church, graduate of our Seminary and many other resources. Chaplain Underwood is going to need all these resources and many more! Above everything else, he must never forget “who he is and whose he is.” Chaplain Underwood and his family are well equipped for this ministry task. Long ago at an altar of prayer, followed up by a passion for family, ministry and the Lord, they established the roots necessary to bring the best of our Pentecostal faith to a wounded world. He joins hundreds of Church of God chaplains with a burden and call for ministry “beyond the gates.”
Dr. Robert Crick
Director, Chaplains Commission
Director’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office e-mail: email@example.com
Web Site/Page: www.cogchaplains.com
Categories: Weekly Update