Bishop Humphrey and the ”Army Chaplain Experience”

/, News/Bishop Humphrey and the ”Army Chaplain Experience”

This week we’re hearing from Bishop Humphrey about his recent “Army Chaplain Experience” at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.


I had the opportunity to attend the “Army Chaplain Experience” at Fort Bragg, North Carolina from April 30th to May 2nd. Bishop Tim Smith from the North Carolina Synod and I were joined by ten or so leaders from a wide range of theological schools across the country representing thousands of potential candidates for Army Chaplaincy, which of course, was the Army’s hope and intention.

For two days we were treated to a very helpful history and orientation to the role of Army Chaplains. The Chaplain’s Corps was created by the Continental Congress in 1775 to ensure soldiers would have spiritual, moral and ethical guidance “near at hand. “After seeing the remarkable efforts the Army made to create and staff this inaugural event I came away believing they remain faithful to that original commitment and vision.
We enjoyed a taste of the 82nd Airborne All American Chorus in the “All American Chapel.” I posted a brief clip of one song the chorus performed on Instagram and it received over 130 views. The chapel itself is a $13.5 million dollar commitment to providing space for religious services, counseling rooms, offices and a number of other facilities in support of the ministry Army Chaplains offer.
Another surprise was the training programs offered through the Army Chaplain Corps for master’s degrees and certification in various areas of counseling. These Chaplains then serve to equip other Chaplains with resources and training as well as provide specialized care to soldiers and their families.
Another surprise was the training programs offered through the Army Chaplain Corps for master’s degrees and certification in various areas of counseling. These Chaplains then serve to equip other Chaplains with resources and training as well as provide specialized care to soldiers and their families.
We heard from many of the highest ranking officers in Army Chaplaincy, with speakers like the Commanding General of all Army Recruiting Major General Jeffrey J. Snow, and the Chief of Army Chaplains Chaplain (Major General) Paul K. Hurley. In addition, many other senior and junior Chaplains took turns telling us about their sense of call, experiences, and commitment to this specialized form of ministry.
One of the most moving settings was the Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, a massive and modern facility. I was impressed by the way Chaplains are not just tolerated in the medical center, they are truly integrated into a treatment team and given an active role in treatment and care of the patients and their families. One Chaplain shared that he had stood at the head of the bed for a soldier in surgery who wanted the Chaplain’s promise that he would remain in physical contact with him throughout the frightening procedure.
Army Chaplains serve both in active duty (usually full time with relocation every 2-3 years) and reserve duty (usually part-time near the place of residence). There is always a need for additional Chaplains, but there are age, height, weight and physical fitness requirements. In addition, clergy must have a minimum of 2 years parish experience for Army requirements. (The ELCA requires 3 years).
If you would like more information about my experience in this 48-hour orientation, feel free to ask. If you would like to learn more about this specialized ministry, a good place to start would be www.goarmy.com/chaplain. If that leads you to want more information, contact our offices.
If you’d like to follow along with more of Bishop Humphrey’s travels around our Synod and beyond, follow him on his Instagram, @bishopbhumphrey!
By | 2018-05-14T16:05:07+00:00 May 10th, 2018|Blog, News|Comments Off on Bishop Humphrey and the ”Army Chaplain Experience”

About the Author:

Emily Pilat is the Director of Communications for the Virginia Synod. She is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington where she earned her BA in in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and a minor in Digital Studies.If you have an announcement, upcoming event, or news story idea you would like to share, get in touch with Emily via email [email protected] or by phone (540) 389-1000