"One of the great blessings is being able to connect with mission folk from all around the world. Some of our least recognized missionaries in the PCUSA are our military chaplains. ..."In this short posting on The Eagle and Child, Russell Smith gives welcome encouragement to those Presbyterian ministers who feel the call to serve God by serving those who serve in our nation's Armed Forces.
I find it hard to believe that anyone could be opposed to the military chaplaincy, yet, like Russell, I have heard such sentiments expressed. Are our men and women in the armed forces to be denied the "shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God?"
My father was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. The first stateside churches I remember were Presbyterian, but while we were overseas we attended the Protestant Chapel. I grew to respect the chaplains who helped me along in my spiritual development. My confirmation class was conducted in Heidelberg, Germany by a Lutheran chaplain, who unbeknownst to me had contacted the Session of the Falls Church Presbyterian Church in Virginia, which received me in absentia into communicant membership in the UPCUSA.
I also developed over the years a great respect for my father, who was drafted in 1951 and served in Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, as well as stateside postings. When he went to Korea I was less than a year old, but I was in my 12th year when he went to Vietnam. He served well and honorably in war and in peace, and when he retired in 1971, he embarked on a second career as a teacher. I am proud of his service to our country, his dedication to his students, his dedication to his Church, and his dedication to his family. And I am proud to be his son.
Happy Father's Day!
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