Wow, what a year! 2020 has been a challenging, difficult, and grace-filled year for our ministry. Like most of you, we’ve had to adapt, grieve, persevere, and learn new skills while providing essential ministry. We know that for some of you this year held extra-challenges and heartache as you grieved the death of a loved one, coped with a new medical diagnosis, and navigated strained relationships.
It has been our privilege to be a witness to your skilled, creative, and adaptive ministry. Thank you for continuing to “bring moments that matter'' in the lives of the staff you work alongside and all those you serve. Supporting you has been the highlight of our ministry year’s activities. It has been astounding to see how God has planted seeds throughout the year that has led to fruition when we had a need.
- The endorsement process can take several months, and we celebrate our 156 chaplains and military chaplain candidates.
- We endorsed 12 new chaplains: Anthony Matias, James Kim, Marcia Fairrow, Lisa DeYoung, Michelle DePooter-Francis, Thomas VanWyk, Daniel M. Kim, Sharon Segaar-King, Mark Janowski, Hernan Zapata-Thomack, John Kyu Hahn, and David Bouma.
- We recommended three seminary students for the military chaplain candidate program: Duhyon (Daniel) Kim, Josiah Chapman, and Joshua Broughton.
- We provided seven chaplains training grants for Supervisor Pastoral Education for a total of $10,261. We expect that post-pandemic grants will total $25,000 to $30,000 per year based on previous years’ requests.
- Over these last years, our ministry has been working hard to show our value to the denomination (which led to the approval of increased staffing). Our ministry is changing from a full-time director and full-time communication specialist. Going forward we'll have a full-time director (the name will be announced January 7, 2021), a 24-hour per week senior administrative assistant, and a 24-hour per week ministry consultant.
- This year, we’ve been approved for an increase in our programming budget. We look forward to investing these funds to continue to engage our churches and support our chaplains through increased funds for our Chaplains Training, communication materials, resources, and regional gatherings. Our chaplains have been receiving cards, thank you gifts, and increased touch points with our ministry.
- We’ve been able to update some of our ministry materials by making a new video and working on our electronic records systems.
- In October 2019, we began virtually meeting each month to discuss various chaplain related topics. We had worked out some of the “virtual bugs” including adding additional chaplain facilitators (special thanks to Dean Dyk and John Lamsma). Our transition to meeting weekly for prayer in March 2020 was much smoother. We’ve seen an increased engagement through our CRC Chaplain Facebook group through sharing resources and support.
- Our first virtual annual Chaplains Training was a success with over 110 attendees! The Holy Spirit moved mightily through the planning and during the event. We are hopeful that we’ll be able to gather at least regionally (and hopefully in-person) next September 23 to 25, 2021!
This year held so many good things for our ministry. It has been my deepest honor to serve you all over these last three and a half years as director. I look forward to taking a step back from leadership and being able to dive into providing care and support to our ministry, chaplains, and prospective chaplains. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.