Military Chaplains Please Read

Military Chaplains Association Annual Meeting Information & Authorizing Letter

Dear Military and VA Chaplains of The Coalition of Spirit-filled Churches and Friends,

Several of you have been asking about a good professional conference to attend and one where we would be present. One such conference is the Military Chaplains Association National Institute and Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting will be held this year from:

October 23 - 26, 2017
Newport News Marriott at City Center
Newport News, Virginia

Some commands will pay for travel and conference expenses if the endorsing executive is present, as we will be at this conference. You can download the authorizing letter HERE.

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Blessings,
Dave

Dave's Occasional Blog

01 January 2017

The following comic strip is HIGHLY controversial and many are offended by both the language and content and themes it explores. Nevertheless, I think it is important for military chaplains to know what is on the minds of the servicemembers that they serve. This comic strip is by and targeted to marines, but I think it is readily identifiable by all in uniform.

Terminal Lance Comics



31 July 2016

ATTN: Military Chaplains. In this season of heated partisan politics and high-spirited emotions about various hot-button issues, PLEASE take a look at this Department of Defense Talking Points on Political Activities powerpoint, before any more chaplains [see Chaplains violated policy by appearing at event in uniform, according to IG complaint] get into trouble.

Department of Defense Talking Points on Political Activities Powerpoint

And, by the way, there are very good reasons why the DoD has put these regulations into place.



30 July 2016

Some of you have asked if I have a personal presence on FaceBook. I do. I can be found under David Plummer or Chaplaincy@Spirit-filled.org or https://www.facebook.com/david.plummer.180.

Feel free to send me a friend request if you are sincere and a chaplain, especially, a chaplain with The Coalition of Spirit-filled Churches.

Blessings,
Dave



24 January 2016

The past several months I have been dealing with several active duty O-3 (Captains in the Army or Lieutenants in the Navy) military chaplains who are highly motivated and creative, caring, and willing to launch-out to do the right things to help those who cannot easily help themselves (because they are low-ranking enlisted or widows of career service-members and have little or no "clout"). Yet, these chaplains are not being supported or encouraged to do so by their senior chaplains -- who are afraid of their junior chaplains making a mistake (and possibly making THEM look bad). In fact, they are being discouraged and even professionally threatened! This perfectionist mentality, a no-risk-taking, and a do-not-rock-the-boat mindset is presently pervasive in the military chaplaincy to a degree that I have not seen in 24 years of endorsing. And there is even a fear to report such to endorsers or to allow their endorsers take action to address real needs in the chaplaincy. This risk-aversion imposed by mid-level and senior chaplains is more than unfortunate -- it is contrary to one of the reasons that the military gives chaplains rank and authority to get the right things done!

I saw this clip from the business world this snowed-in morning, and thought to myself that the chaplaincy could learn much from the business community. The first 5 minutes is worth the time for military chaplains, junior and senior, in my opinion.

Continuing Education

All CSC chaplains are expected to maintain a high level of professional continuing education. This year, military and VA chaplains will have a great continuing education opportunity at Disney World in Orlando, FL. Please see the request letter below.

CSC Guidance [PDF]

More Information from The Military Chaplains Assoication [PDF]

Addendum of 11 September 2013, Effective Immediately

It has been brought to our attention that a number of our colleague endorsers and their endorsing offices recently have issued public statements that they reserve the right to withdraw the endorsements of their chaplains if their chaplains conduct services with other chaplains who are LGBT-friendly or who are providing affirming pastoral counseling and other services to LGBT service members and their families. Be that as it may, we want to remind Coalition of Spirit-filled Churches' chaplains of item 3 on page 8 of 10 of the application that all of our chaplains should have agreed upon and signed:

3. I understand that, if commissioned or appointed as a chaplain, I will be working with chaplains of other denominations and faith groups, sometimes differing widely with my own views, beliefs, practices, and sexual orientation. While I will not be asked to compromise my own conscience and beliefs, it is essential, by the very nature of chaplaincy, that I consider their ordination and ministry as valid as my own in the U. S. military and/or civilian institutions. I understand that an attitude of superiority or adversarial acts and non-cooperation towards pastoral caregivers and adherents of other faiths, practices, race, gender, or sexual orientation will not be tolerated and is grounds for the immediate withdrawal of my endorsement credential. I have read and I agree to abide they the CSC's Statements of "Faith," "Authorization," and "Record." Further, I realize that I must be willing to hold "General Protestant" worship services as well as those services specifically exercising all my own particular beliefs and practices.

In professionally-endorsed pastoral care, we disapprove of such separatism and we consider it not only disappointing, but destructive to collegial relationships and the very institution of chaplaincy.

Respectfully,

August 18, 2013

With the repeal of DADT two years ago and then the recent ruling against DOMA and California’s Proposition 8 by the US Supreme Court, we have recently been contacted by a growing number of chaplains for guidance on what to do when they are asked to do weddings, conduct retreats, offer various liturgical services, etc., when Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgendered (LGBT) military members or their loved ones are involved.

The response to those requests have been on The Coalition of Spirit-filled Churches' website for almost two years, but you have to know where to look. We seek to make it clearer with this new button and accompanying page.

We are not a denomination. As such, apart from a very basic statement of neo-Pentecostal faith (or an openness to the same), we do not get into denominational, our groups', or even a single congregation's doctrine, tradition, culture, politics, or policies and practices. We are not legally configured to dictate or impose various policies on our member churches — or their chaplains. Thus, we simply state that you need to follow the doctrine and practice of your ordaining body — which is formally affiliated with us. (See "2011 CSC Policy on Political Statements and Endorsing Agency Policies" on http://www.spirit-filled.org/chapnews.html.) So basically whatever your ordaining community accepts or directs, as members of The Coalition, we will accept. The other piece here is that we do not want you to violate your conscience, either. If you feel you are being pressured to do so, we need to hear about it. We WILL support you as you are following the expectations of your ordaining church.

Last, we expect you to be respectful of and show care and genuine empathy to ALL who approach you for ministry. If you cannot perform a service that you are being asked to do, that is okay, but we expect you to refer that person or couple or family to another chaplain or clergy who can. If chaplains are not approachable, they have very limited usefulness to the very people — or institution — to whom they are charged with serving.

We hope this is helpful and makes sense. We welcome dialog on this topic or anything.

Blessings,

Implications of the Repeal of DOMA

We understand that the Army Chaplain Corps is engaged in discussions of the implications of the repeal of DOMA at all levels. Recently the attached document was sent out for discussion and feed back.

TELECONFERENCE MINUTES [PDF]

Great Resources for Military Chaplains from a CSC Army Chaplain

These resources are available for you; do not be afraid to use them! It can’t possibly hurt to try. No issue is too small to ask for guidance.

Resources for the Army Reservist & their Family

Resources for Military Chaplains to Care for
Humanists, Freethinkers, and Agnostics

Military chaplains are to perform or provide for the "Free Exercise of Religion," [and sincerely-held secular worldviews and values] of ALL in their care per Department of Defense regulations and expectations. The endorsing supporter organization of humanist military folks reports that very few chaplains are providing for the care of their community’s military personnel. Their endorsing organization reports that most military chaplains are not even aware of resources to care for these personnel. We are posting a link to a page on their website where they have posted free resources for providing care to humanists and other secular folks. Such is not the CSC’s cup of tea, but it is important that all chaplains honor their word to be there for all — even those with whom they disagree.

http://militaryatheists.org/chaplain/

The U.S. Armed Forces Blended Retirement System
The U.S. Armed Forces Blended Retirement System At a Glance [PDF]