I was delighted to spend the last few days away doing ‘my bit’ to make the second Academy of 2016 successful. It’s been nearly 3 years since I and several others were commissioned as Lay Chaplains in November 2013. Seven of us were commissioned then. Two of that group have moved on to other ministries and we have commissioned 6 more Chaplains since then, with, apparently, about another 7 or 8 in process of discerning their call and going through the application process.
For me, being commissioned has brought even more credibility and acceptance to my ministry as an ACCTS staff member helping war zone Veterans including Chaplains find God’s peace in their souls from war trauma, burnout, compassion fatigue and similar dis-eases.
I’m blessed to have been chosen to be Prior of the Order of St. Martin of Tours, under which order we are commissioned as lay chaplains. Some consider St. Martin to be the patron saint of military chaplains and of soldiers. It is of huge significance to me that the Order and our commissioning is under the oversight of the Anglican Bishop of the Armed Forces & Chaplaincy, who is also a good friend. Interestingly, St. Martin’s Day is commemorated on November 11, also Veterans Day and Remembrance Day.
It is also significant to me that the other 10 lay chaplains and the Abbot of the Order each have meaningful ministry with Veterans in the Veterans homes, hospitals, hospices, and correctional institutions in which they work.
I feel very fulfilled that concurrently being an ACCTS staff member of 22 years standing coupled with 3 years of lay chaplaincy complementing that, plus nearly 30 years of active duty in the infantry, really validates the call Meryl and I felt from God in February 1989 to put our Christian faith into action by ministering to the military community wherever He sent us.