Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 10:49 am
Church of God Chaplaincy stands as one of the great ministries of the church! Unfortunately, the church, for the most part, continues to remain unaware of just how marvelous this ministry really is. Through the years, we have become bound by our continued need to celebrate only a select few of our denominational ministries, thus limiting our knowledge of the vast arena of ministries that stretch across America and around the world each and every day. For some unknown reason, we have this insatiable need to affirm certain ministries while we remain content to allow all others to just function quietly around us. I watched these same dynamics unfold while I was serving as a senior pastor; and, I must say, I was just as much a co-contributor to the problem as the next person. In the local church, it pretty much boiled down to music ministry and youth along with some emphasis on evangelism. And yet, not much, if anything, was ever said about the nursery ministry or visitation or a host of other ministries that were performed weekly without even being noticed.
That is why I want to say today “Chaplaincy is one of the great ministries of the church” whether this ministry is ever heralded from the housetop or not. Church of God Chaplaincy is one ministry that is linked to one of the longest standing formal ministries of the world. English chaplaincy dates all the way back to the eighth century. Military Chaplaincy in the United States dates all the way back to World War I. Today, there are Chaplains that are military, institutional, corporate, domestic, animal, specialized (e.g. race track, railroads, airports, etc.), as well as community service chaplains that serve as volunteers in all types of situations and circumstances. One of the important facts of the church’s recent survey was the revelation concerning chaplaincy ministry. By this, I specifically mean how many serve as chaplains and how many want more information concerning such. The numbers were impressive. All of this, at this time, only makes me more proud of you than ever!
Just recently we honored the victims of September 11 and my thoughts turned toward Friar Mychal L. Judge, who had just ministered last rites to a fallen firefighter and then entered the World Trade Center to minister to others, only to lose his own life. Though coming from a totally different faith tradition than my own, all I could think about was the fact that he was a chaplain and that is who we are at all times. Listen brothers and sisters – you may never be celebrated as some, but your courage and commitment each and every day tells the world and the Savior who you are! You are a Church of God Chaplain! Your service to the church remains among the strongest and most powerful of all. And, as the end of days approaches, your ministry will become more and more important to all. May you never forget this all important truth that you are where you are “for such a time as this”.
Donnie W. Smith, D. Min.
Vocational Chaplaincy News
This morning I watched a 62-second video of a time-lapsed trip around the world recorded from the International Space Station. This video was of special interest to me as I am heading to the airport this afternoon for a 17-hour trip halfway around the world. From the perspective of the Space Station, the view and concern over atmospheric conditions is quite different than the view from earth. From the Station, a lightning storm in the lower atmosphere looks like a harmless light show. From the earth, however, a meteor shower in the night sky can be entertaining, whereas the occupants of the Space Station are on constant watch to avoid a meteor strike that could be devastating.
Perspective frames our analysis and interpretation of many events that occur every day. This week for example the law allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the US military was implemented. I know of no one in our denomination who thinks this is a good thing, but perspective determines how one interprets the significance of this event.
Many of our chaplains already serve in institutions where homosexuals are allowed to work openly. This does not change the calling of being salt and light in those institutions. These chaplains minister daily under the anointing of the Holy Spirit to take the hope of the gospel to those who are without Christ and to encourage those Christians who are in a time of personal crisis.
Allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the military will be a problem for the Services. It may disrupt unit cohesion and esprit de corps. It will probably become a mission distracter and a leadership challenge. However, it will not eliminate the need for godly men and women to bear the hardships of military life to serve as chaplains to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who need someone to bring them closer to God and bring God closer to them.
From the Pentecostal perspective, I am confident the Holy Spirit will empower our chaplains to serve faithfully, without compromise, and with wisdom to all those under their pastoral care. The key is not to let this repeal sidetrack ministry. Many thousands of military servicepersons are serving God today because of the ministry of chaplains—thousands more still need them.
If I could change this law, I would. If I could change my 17-hour trip to 62 seconds, I certainly would. I will make the long trip, and I know you all will continue to serve in the trenches of secular morality to do the work of the Lord.
News from the field:
Correctional Chaplain Eugene Wigelsworth provided the opening prayer and participated in the Southern States Correctional Regional Conference last month.
Air Force Chaplain, Captain, Chris Underwood teamed up with Community Serivce Chaplain Vernon Landreth in a special service, “Always Remember September 11, 2001,” in their hometown of Wytheville, Virginia. Vernon was instrumental in organizing the service and helped bring Chris home for the special citywide event.
Richard L. Pace, D. Min.
Endorser and Coordinator, Vocational Chaplaincy Ministries
Community Service Chaplaincy News
Update from the Field
Community Service Chaplain Steve Wallace, Oasis Church of God, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
“Oasis at Tuscaloosa has began a program with the local schools to provide kids needing food at home with a pre-chosen selection of food goods that are sent home on Friday that will last through the weekend.
This is a complex but exciting program that takes the privacy of the child and the parent into great concern and allows us to meet the sometimes unspoken need of our community. We work with the teachers and staff on referral basis as to assure any child on the program is actually in need of it. This allows us contact with the parents and family to access any other needs that we can help with.
This is ministry at its rawest and simplest form. Meet the physical need and then allow God to heal the spiritual need. We are excited and wanted you to know. Pray for us please.”
Community Service Chaplain Randall Harriman, Minot, North Dakota, – Western Canada
“This an update on the progress on the cleanup and repair work in Minot. Since we talked and my last email to you, we have had team from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church from Florida. Pastor Travis Hovde’s sister attends this church & she organized their team of 21 to come. Wow did they work! We have all the clean up done on Eagles Wings church, and we also help 12 families with their repair needs and clean up.
This was a busy 7 days for us, but praise the Lord for His goodness. We had great time of ministry and fellowship with church & community families. Since my last email to you, both churches here are helping with a monetary gift to help us with our needs on a monthly basis. This gift is appreciated, although it does not cover all our expenses while aiding with this project.
Thanks for your support and prayers. May God bless you all.”
Reports and requests
Chaplain Cynthia Basinger, Cumberland, Virginia, requests prayer for the local rescue squad. She writes, “There have been a lot of deaths in Cumberland. The rescue squad has lost 3 this month. The members of the squad request prayer themselves.” I have done a lot of hospital visits and spent a lot of time with family members.
Community Service Chaplain Marlene Giordana, Bellvue, Nebraska, reports, “We had a Young at Heart Luncheon recognizing Grandparents on Grandparent’s Day. At that dinner, we also had a prayer time to remember the lives that were taken on 9-11. We have had wonderful feedback on this luncheon. We had wonderful food, wonderful fellowship and we were blessed on having two men from the church which played guitars and sang songs of Praise to the Lord.” Marlene also sent us several prayer requests which we take seriously and pray for in our staff devotions.
Law Enforcement Chaplain Terry Wigley, Saraland, Alabama, requests prayer for his mother who is in Hospice care. Terry, we do pray that the Lord will bless your mother and comfort your family.
Community Service Hospital Chaplain Debbie Thompson, Orlando, Florida, reports a number of chaplaincy activities this month. Among them are the following: 108 ICU Visits, 70 ICC and Neuro Floor Visits, 5 Bereavement Support with Families, 16 ICU Rounds with Physicians, and 4 ICC Rounds with Medical Staff, 9 Staff Support, 1 Sermon at Church. WOW, Debbie, you were busy!
Community Service Chaplain Susan Zipf, Asheville, North Carolina, makes the following request, “Please pray for my family and me. I have been diagnosed with a hemorrhagic fibroid tumor, and may also have cancer. I have major surgery in a few weeks. My husband is totally disabled, and we have a pre-teen and two small children. Pray for a good report, and no problems with caring for my husband and kids while I’m out of commission.”
Hispanic USA Report submitted by Abel Cuen – Hispanic Coordinator – USA
Que gusto poder llegar a todos ustedes a traves de esta revista semanal en la que compartimos noticias, experiencias pero sobre todo el gusto de volvernos a encontrar aunque sea a traves de una lectura.
Mi deseo es que su experiencia personal con Cristo sea cada dia mas intensa y que la vision que Dios ha puesto en su corazon sea cada ves mas clara, que emocionante es trabajar para nuestro Dios.
Por favor si usted quiere compartir con nosotros sus experiencias o simplemente saludarnos, no deje de llamarnos o escribirnos a:
En las ultimas tres semanans hemos experimentado una tremenda participacion de nuestra comunidad hispana en la iglesia de Dios nacional en dos exitosos seminarios de Capellania de Servicio Comunitario en las ciudades de Chicago IL. y Dallas TX.
Church of God Chaplains Commission / Hispanic Division
900 Walker St NE
Cleveland TN 37320-3330
Estos seminarios en los que nos certificamos como Capellanes y nos preparamos para salir afuera de las cuatro paredes de nuestras iglesias y atender la necesidad de nuestras comunidades, nos estan abriendo los ojos a muchos cristianos que por mucho tiempo hemos estado en posicion de descanso y hasta cierto punto de conformidad.
Le damos gracias a Dios por la asistencia a estos dos seminarios que literalmente fueron:uno en el norte del pais y el otro en el sur, de donde graduamos a 93 nuevos soldados de la cruz listos para intervenir en un mundo que pide a gritos nuestra participacion entendiendo que para que reciban el Evangelio tenemos que darles ciudado primero, de manera que la restauracion y la salvacion lleguen a sus vidas a traves de nuestro trabajo como servidores.
Fue muy grato observar en estos dos seminarios como la participacion de la mujer hispana se esta convirtiendo en un elemento estrategico porque de la diversidad en la que vivimos son las mujeres hispanas las que estan dando un paso al frente para decir: “aqui estoy, enviame a mi”. Es un verdadero honor y orgullo poderles comunicar por este medio que nuestras mujeres estan tomando la delantera en esta herramineta que Dios esta poniendo en nuestras manos para este tiempo y para esta hora.
Sigamos adelante juntos en tiempos de cambio, sabiendo con certeza que Dios esta con nosotros, que no nos enganen las circunstancias ni las condiciones que puedan estar a nuestro alrededor pues debemos recordar siempre que: “Es mas grande el que esta en nosotros que el que esta en el mundo” …AMEN.
Dr. Jake Popejoy
Coordinator, Training and Community Service Chaplains
Categories: General Postings