Many churches have one or more chaplains who call it their “home.” Other churches do not, but are filled with individuals who may have had, or may someday experience, the need for a chaplain’s pastoral care while serving in the military, recovering in a hospital, residing in a long-term care center, retirement village or behind bars in a correctional facility. Chaplains touch lives in all of these, and many more arenas — literally “from the prison to the Pentagon”. These chaplains may work part time or full time, in an institution around the corner or deployed around the world.
The CRCNA currently endorses 125 of these specially trained individuals while many others volunteer or work part time in this arena without special endorsement. Together they represent a huge ministry to those experiencing some sort of current or potential crisis. Times like these are when we often feel most lost, alone, confused, or afraid. These are time when the hearts of those who have little faith, have no faith, have a different faith, or are uncertain of their faith are most open to the voice and touch of God’s Spirit.
If you have not recognized, prayed for or encouraged a chaplain lately why not do so during the month of November (especially on the second Sunday) as we commemorate their work out on the edges of the church and society. Mention them by name or in general before and/or during a time of prayer. If possible, have one or more chaplains give a brief account of how their work expands the outreach of the church. Be thankful that these special men and women want to be where most of us would rather not be, touching the lives of those who would also rather be somewhere else. Then pray that the ranks of these special agents of pastoral care would continue to grow.