Chaplaincy: Part of the Team Providing a Faithful Witness

3/6/2013

The mission of the Naval Academy is "to develop Midshipmen morally, mentally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty in order to graduate leaders who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government."

As a battalion chaplain, my ministry includes serving more than 800 midshipmen and staff members from various backgrounds. I am one of eight chaplains -- four of which are Protestant. In addition to ensuring each person's constitutional right to worship as he or she chooses, I also preach in three of our weekly Protestant services and lead Bible studies. 

I serve on the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team and coordinate with the religious ministries team to provide necessary character and ethics training to the entire brigade of midship which includes more than 4,400 college-aged students from all walks of life. In addition to other administrative responsibilities, I am coordinating the Command religious program for the new midshipmen who arrive at the end of June for an eight-week boot camp style indoctrination.  They are known as plebes throughout their first year and would appreciate your prayers. The counseling load is quite intense; I have the opportunity to influence the lives of many young leaders -- male and female, Christian, those from other faith traditions and atheists.

Each of my four tours as a Navy chaplain has been unique. My first tour was with the Marines based in North Carolina in which we deployed to Iraq for seven months. My second tour was on a small ship forward deployed in Yokosuka, Japan. During my third tour, I recruited chaplains in the southwest region of the US. I appreciate the opportunity to serve as a Navy chaplain for many reasons.  What I most appreciate are the opportunities for personal growth and influencing those who would not otherwise step foot in a church.

Thank you so much for the way you, as a conference, support us in our ministries. We are a team and God created us to work together for the building of the Kingdom. Besides, it's much more fun this way! Hoping to see you at this year's annual conference and may God bless you, your families and your ministries.
(Rev. Margaret Siemer is an IGRC clergy member assigned as a 3rd Battalion Chaplain to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.)