Caught in the Act: Coast Guard Auxiliary Chaplain Recognized for Effective Ministry

By Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy

The US Coast Guard Auxiliary Clergy Support (ACS) volunteer program provides sanctioned ministry by endorsed local pastors to our Nation’s Coast Guard personnel at stations and bases along the coasts and navigable US inland waterways (Great Lakes & major riverways).

One of the pioneers of this recently formalized ministry, Pastor Michael Barnard, of North Bend, Oregon, was recently recognized for his faithful and effective ministry. The citation reads:

“Flotilla 51, member, Mike Barnard, is recognized for his Auxiliary Clergy Support (AUXCS) activities in Coast Guard Sector North Bend. In support of two District 13 active duty chaplains, he regularly visits most of the Sector’s 10 Coast Guard stations along 217 miles of the Southern Oregon coast to serve Coast Guard personnel and their families.   Most recently, Mike participated in the change of command ceremony for the Sector North Bend Commander where he gave both the Invocation and Benediction. In addition to his Auxiliary duties, Mike is a full-time pastor for a church in North Bend. Despite his busy schedule, he plans to continue his duties in service to the Sector’s Coast Guard personnel and their families for the foreseeable future.”

Mike is a US Army Veteran. He and his young wife, Cheryl, experienced the loneliness and isolation young military couples often feel. A local pastor reached out and brought them into his “flock,” showing the love of Christ. Decades later, they recall the impact of that local pastor, and now reach out to the Coast Guard men and women of the Southern Oregon Coast. It may have seemed like their untold miles and hours of volunteer ministry went unnoticed, but such was not the case.

Hesitant to share this accolade, he forwarded this experience in hopes that other pastors with churches near Coast Guard installations might consider joining their local USCG Auxiliary and apply for the ACS program.

Join me in snapping a “Salute” to Mike and Cheryl for their dedicated efforts in support of America’s “Lifesavers!”

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The Coast Guard is seeking ordained pastors with undergraduate and seminary training to serve as volunteer auxiliary clergy support (ACS) “chaplains.” Prior military experience is helpful, but not required. Churches near Coast Guard installations along both coasts, the Great Lakes, and major inland waterways, make good church homes for Guardsmen and their families.

Like other federal chaplaincies, endorsement by an ecclesiastical agency is required. CBAmerica Chaplaincy is authorized to endorse pastors for the US Coast Guard. Contact Chaplain Andy Meverden at chapandy@cbamerica.org. Visit www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy for more stories by and about chaplaincy ministries.

 

 

 

Mission Possible: Chaplain’s wife helps husband achieve the seemingly impossible

By Pastor/Chaplain John Hatfield, Rhode Island Army National Guard

“From whom (Christ) the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:16

Last January, I experienced the blessing of being “edified” by my loving wife. It did not occur in a crisis or surrounded by drama. Simply, during a stressful time, my wife showed the love of Christ to me that not only got me through a tough time but also gave me a great personal example I have used to build up others.

In January, I had numerous obligations to meet and was feeling overwhelmed. I developed a plan and looked forward to implementing it. Part of the plan was to complete phase 1 of the Army Chaplains Captain Career Course (C4) online. Upon examining the number of assignments to be done in only two months I became overwhelmed and didn’t think it would be possible to complete it.

Thankfully, the Lord has supplied His church with “parts” that work perfectly together. At just the time when I was feeling perplexed, my wife was there to supply what I was lacking – a detailed plan. She supplied, not just with a word of encouragement, but an Excel spreadsheet that gave me the day and time I needed to complete every assignment.

It was the precision in which even “days off” were assigned as well as time for sermon preparation. It included all kinds of details. What was once an insurmountable obstacle was now divided into manageable parts.

As it turned out, I followed the schedule and not only completed the course but received a blessing of great value. Her care and creativity have given me a great illustration to share with others. The Lord graciously provided what I needed at just the right time, and because I experienced this myself I can teach it to others with humility and understanding. Praise the LORD!

Prayer Concern: Since I have been transferred to a new unit, please pray for relationship building opportunities.

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Director’s Note: It takes large doses of focus, commitment, and time management to pastor a church and serve as a Reserve Component chaplain. In addition to monthly training periods, and two-weeks Annual Training, there are occasional emergency calls and additional online training requirements. A recent report documents the current “strength” of Army Guard chaplains at 84%, or a vacancy of 130 chaplains. It’s the same for Air Force and Navy Reserve.

For those interested in learning more about requirements for endorsement in the reserve military components, contact Andy Meverden at chapandy@cbamerica.org.