Wednesday, June 22, 2011 at 9:35 am
There is much said in Scripture about giving honor to whom honor is due, but what happens when it becomes obvious that such honor needs to be deferred? You know, when something inside us just cries out and says “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” and one knows that now is the time to yield with courtesy and honor being offered them to grant such to another and/or others. I found myself in this position the other evening while at the Alabama Camp Meeting. The Administrative Bishop had planned a moment in service to bring on stage all the pastors impacted by the April 27 Alabama tornadoes. He had included one of our long-term chaplains as well as me to represent the ministries that had done so much for the state.
Those institutions would include “Operation Compassion,” who, through the ministry of Dave Lorency, has already sent in an excess of 200 trucks to some 41 sites in nine southeastern states impacted by the storms. At about half of these sites mentioned, hot meals continue to be served; shower houses are made available along with numerous other services. One pastor on the stage that night said it well when he whispered to me and said, “You guys were unquestionably the first responders. While everyone else was trying to meet to talk about what needed to be done, your troops and trucks were already setting up and staging ministry sites, and we will never forget it.”
Operation Compassion always works best through networking and never fails to work in harmony with the Chaplains Commission and our Community Service Chaplains Core. They are among the best of the best. Having received calls from pastors, community leaders, FEMA and even the Red Cross, our ministry team came from all across America to help. One man on the stage said, “With the cooperative effort of local churches, good, godly, caring people, and the superb ministry of Operation Compassion and the Chaplains Commission, we have been told that we were able to do in two weeks more than what had been done in New Orleans in six months.”
I am so proud of our church and the people we have in the Care Division; especially the men and women who serve voluntarily as Chaplains. During these days, many of them have made great sacrifice to be there for the church. Operation Compassion was birthed within the Church of God but now operates as an affiliated world-wide agency that networks with the denomination to bring charitable relief, especially in times of disaster. Dave Lorency is one of the most outstanding men of God I know. I am honored to not only work with him but to be his friend. He and Laura, his wife, have given their lives for this ministry. It is a ministry of compassion!
And yet, on that Friday night when the Administrative Bishop began to receive an offering and stated it would go primarily to Operation Compassion to help with our expenses, which to date exceeds some $250,000 USD, all I could see was the faces of pastors and the wives who were still numb from the crisis. In my heart, I knew after the video ceased and the crowd departed, these pastors and their families had to go back and keep rebuilding their lives, their churches and their own families. So, at that moment I made an executive decision and decided to defer the honor of the offering and tell the Bishop that this money is not going back with me, but rather I want these funds to go to the pastors to help them in their tragedy. After all, I said, “God is our source and He will sustain us.” This is what I mean by deferring an honor; in this case, an honor that included an offering. Our ministry is built upon the principle of giving and we can never out give God. He is our source and our strength. One day, the honor that so many deserve will come and somehow, I believe, it will be given by the Lord himself! Hence, we will remain patient, enduring and continuing to help the weak in their times of turmoil. May God bless each of you for all you do!
Donnie W. Smith, D. Min.
Vocational Chaplaincy News
Two of our military chaplains informed me that they had to minister in the aftermath of personnel who committed suicide this past month. This is always a challenging aspect of chaplaincy ministry. I doubt there is a Church of God Vocational Chaplain who has not had to provide pastoral care to surviving family members and coworkers of someone who has taken their own life.
A seasoned chaplain will have received and given training on suicide numerous times during a career, yet there is no sure solution to prevent it and no easy way to comfort the survivors of it. Someone has described a suicidal individual as one who has had the hope beat out of him by the pains of life. Suicide is more complex than this, but the loss of hope is a key factor in suicide.
When suicide touches our organization, or our family, we have to look to the foundation of our souls, Jesus Christ. We will probably not find simple answers, but we will find the strength that comes only from the Holy Spirit. Our professional training will help us talk about the issue; the power of the Spirit will lead us through it.
The lasting hallmarks of the Spirit are faith, hope and love. Chaplains are the human agents through whom God demonstrates pure hope in this world and in the age to come. I pray that the Lord will empower each of you to live in His hope and to share it with those under your pastoral care.
News from the Field
Army Chaplain (Captain) Abraham Sarmiento conducted a Family Wellness Retreat for 15 families at beautiful Jekyll Island, and a Single Soldier Retreat for 25 Soldiers in Valdosta, Georgia. Abraham also thanks everyone for their prayers for Linda’s mother who now has no trace of cancer.
Air Force Chaplain, Captain Matt Boyd conducted a marriage retreat for those returning from deployment. He had 21 couples representing the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
Army Chaplain (Captain) Ismael Serrano is using a tool called “Deployment Dare” with couples who are facing deployment. The tool is designed to strengthen their marriage during the challenge of deployment.
Army Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) Mickey Jett conducted a Pastor Appreciation Event for the clergy in the Fort Rucker area.
Congratulations to Army Chaplain (Major) Jerry David Hall who graduated from ILE (Intermediate Level Training) and also awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his end of tour award.
Industrial Chaplain Roger Lafferty witnessed seven individuals under his pastoral care accept Christ as their Savior. Roger ministered to those in his industry and their families through 68 hospital, prison, and nursing home visits, as well as through his daily Bible studies and devotions and newsletter.
Clinical Chaplain John Corcoran taught two classes relating to suicide. He provided a class on suicide to the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Service Board to equip counselors and social workers in caring for returning veterans. He also taught a class on Survivors of Suicide at Wright State University.
Ireland Chaplain John Walsh conducted an Unchained Bike Sun to support a Christian orphanage. He continues his support to youth through the Mahon Youth Project.
Institutional Chaplain Robert Proctor was called twice this last month for additional duty from two county agencies to minister to individuals suffering from PTSD and other related emotional vicarious trauma.
Canadian Chaplain Christian Sandru saw 32 individuals restored in May as he conducted 279 pastoral visits, 15 sermons and four special services.
Richard L. Pace, D. Min.
Endorser and Coordinator, Vocational Chaplaincy Ministries
Community Service Chaplaincy News
News from the Field
Last week we trained Community Service Chaplains in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Chaplain Christian Sandru is our Chaplaincy Coordinator for Eastern Canada. He managed to organize a Community Service Seminar for approximately 50 new chaplains. Bishop Daniel Vassell is a major supporter of this new program in Canada. We look forward to the great outreach, which this new ministry will provide.
Chaplain Sam Saylor from Bismarck, North Dakota, after fighting flooding in Bismarck over the past two weeks, is presently assessing chaplaincy needs in Joplin, Missouri after the devastation in that community late last month. Keep Chaplain Saylor in your prayers as he reports the needs in that area.
Chaplain Dennis Dupont, Baltimore, Maryland, is presently organizing a group of Hispanic chaplains and ministers to do follow-up ministry in Greenville, Mississippi. Thank you Dennis for your continued outreach to those in need.
Chaplains Bob and Irene Gibson, presently serving in Scotland, are continuing to train chaplains and serve in pulpit supply positions for Scotland Overseer, Dennis Tanner.
Chaplain Abel Cuen, Coordinator of Hispanic Chaplaincy, USA, reports the following:
Capellan Rafael Rodriguez, Chicago, Illinois, Sus ministerios incluyen: ministerio de las drogas al pulpito en el parque, predicación y administración en el Centro Grito de Desesperado y en la Iglesia San Lucas, y repartiendo tratados en los hospitales.
Capellan Edward Millan, Brewyn, Illinois, Fué a visitar a dos pacientes y a sus familias al Memorial Children Hospital y al San Antony Hospital.
Capellan Moises Vasquez, Bradley, Illinois, Graduó capellanes, inició un comité de capellania en su iglesia, llenó aplicaciones para trabajar en la carcel local, y está buscando otros centros de ayuda a la comunidad.
Capellan Gladys Rosa, Berwyn, Illinois, Ayudó a una hermana a mudarse de apartamento, y arregló un apartamento para una familia que acabó de llegar a USA.
Capellan Serafin Sanchez, Kankakee, Illinois, Graduó capellanes, inició un comité de capellanes en su iglesia, y mandó aplicación para poder ministrar en las carceles del condado.
Capellan David Palacios, Bradley, Illinois, Inició comité de capellania en la iglesia local, llenó formularios para poder trabajar en la carcel local, y estuvo en las graduaciones.
Capellan Angel M Lopez, Chicago, Illinois, Dió consejeria para alguien que intentó suicidarse, ayudó a alimentar a personas en la Iglesia de Dios, y visitó a un paciente en el St Mary Hospital.
Capellanes Mario y Juana Gonzales, Chicago, Illinois, Ayudaron a entregar comida a los desamparados en la Iglesia Las Aguilas de Dios.
Capellan Juanita Martinez, Chicago, Illinois, Promocionó la capellania en otras Iglesias, y ayudo a gente con necesidades y visitó gente enferma.
Capellan Gabriela Lopez, Chicago, Illinois, A apoyado a las mujeres abusadas y maltratadas, a ayudado a alimentar a los indigentes y darles ropa y zapatos.
It is with a grateful heart that we recognize all of the Hispanic Chaplains. There are 22 Spanish speaking nations in the USA and God is beginning a great work among them. The Hispanic pastors and ministers, as well as the leading laity of the Hispanic community, are advancing the cause of Church of God Chaplaincy to a new and higher level. May God continue to bless your ministry.
Dr. Jake Popejoy
Coordinator, Training and Community Service Chaplains
Categories: Weekly Update