JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - Unit change of command and change of responsibility ceremonies are routine in the Army. Though the coming and going of leaders will always be a part of our military, 7th Infantry Division recently recognized a change of leadership with a less-than-routine ceremony.

Soldiers in the 7th Infantry Division bid farewell to their spiritual leader in a Change of Stole Ceremony at the JBLM Lewis North Chapel here June 15.

"It was a distinct honor and privilege to host this particular ceremony, the first time I've been able to be a part of one," said Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, 7th Inf. Div. commanding general.

Transferring the stole -- a long, plain, black cloth worn around the neck -- is similar to an out-going commander passing the unit's guidon during a change of command ceremony.

"In receiving the stole, the incoming division chaplain assumes the charge of senior leader for the chaplains and chaplain's assistants of the division," said Maj. Brian Koyn, 7th Inf. Div. deputy chaplain.

The changing of the stole symbolizes the transference of spiritual leadership and responsibility from one chaplain to the other, and on this day former 7th Inf. Div. Chaplain Lt. Col. Paul Jaedicke, transferred the position to Lt. Col. Jimmy Nichols, chaplain.

Before an audience assembled for the ceremony, Ferrell removed the stole from Chaplain Jaedicke, to signify the completion of his service and ministry to the 7th Infantry Division.

Ferrell then placed the stole on the shoulders of Chaplain Nichols, entrusting him with the responsibilities of leadership and ministry as the new senior chaplain for the 7th Infantry Division.

"It was a pleasure to be a part of the team every day," said Jaedicke, who thanked the division leadership and staff for their character, competence and commitment. "To the brigade [unit ministry teams], you are the center of gravity for the Chaplain Corps because you are the primary trainers, coaches and mentors of the battalion UMTs; thank you for leaving a legacy of faithful and effective ministry."

Nichols' comes to the division after serving a tour as the Deputy I Corps Chaplain at JBLM.

"Taking care of Soldiers is an awesome responsibility, and one I don't take lightly," Nichols said. "I'm grateful to be brought to this point, where I can lead unit ministry teams and facilitate even greater ministry."

While the division chaplain's stole is a tangible representation of one particular position it is also a reminder of every chaplain's constant duty to perform and provide religious support to Soldiers and their families at home and deployed.