International chaplains conference cultivates cooperation
March 19, 2013
The annual International Military Chief of Chaplains Conference (IMCCC) met in Stockholm, Sweden, February 4-8. This year's IMCCC was co-hosted by Sweden and the U.S. European Command (EUCOM), and is designed to strengthen the partnership between U.S. European Command and its partner nations.
Nearly 70 military religious leaders gathered at the IMCCC and represented 30 NATO member and partner nations. Chaplain (Brigadier General) Ray Bailey, the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Chaplains, attended this year's IMCCC. The IMCCC began meeting in 1990 in order to provide a forum for dialogue and discussion to enhance interoperability and foster cooperation and communication among national element chaplains during combined NATO operations.
The four-day conference is a place for chaplains from different countries and religious backgrounds to share lessons learned in providing religious support and develop mutual understanding, respect and friendship.
"Continued collaboration with other delegates from all over the world and the exchange of experiences on how to train chaplains for missions in other countries is priceless," said Sten Elmberg, chief chaplain of Sweden's armed forces. Elmberg noted that the increased collaboration generated at the IMCCC produces greater cooperation between the religious support leaders when partner nations serve together on missions and exercises.