The United Church of Christ currently has 46 clergy serving as chaplains in the military services. A generation ago, we had three times that many. The decrease can be attributed to a number of factors, including the denomination’s stance as a Just Peace church, fewer seminarians and clergy who can meet the age and physical requirements and, in the past, the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
Other mainline Protestant denominations have experienced a similar decline in the number of chaplains provided to the military and other government agencies. This has led to a void that more conservative denominations have been ready and able to fill. This influence has not been benign. Women, gays and lesbians, persons from liberal or non-Christian backgrounds, and others have been negatively affected. And our national interests have also been jeopardized.
Recently there has been renewed interest in chaplaincy by UCC clergy and seminarians. If you or someone you know may be willing to consider a call to chaplaincy, please get in touch with the Minister for Chaplains and Specialized Ministers. For the good of service members and their families and for the good of our country, we need to ensure that our chaplains will continue to be there to serve them.
Minister for Chaplains and Ministers in Specialized Settings
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115