The Kansas Army National Guard welcomed a new chaplain -- one who is unlike any other -- into its Chaplain Corps during a commissioning ceremony at the Lawrence Indian United Methodist Church Nov. 22.
Chaplain (1st Lt.) Jamilah Moss is the first female chaplain in the Kansas Army National Guard.
"I'm grateful and honored," said Moss, "and I know that it comes with a lot of responsibility, but it's a celebratory experience in many ways."
Moss, who served in the U.S. Army Reserve in the early 1990s, said that her journey to the chaplaincy has been years in the making.
"I really felt a call on my life for a long time," said Moss, "the call to serve God, but I didn't know what that looked like. Now it has developed into being a full-time pastor and being a part of the Army National Guard.
"I knew long ago that I wanted to help, but I didn't know how and at the time, I wasn't a Christian."
Moss serves as an elder in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference with the United Methodist Church and as pastor of the Lawrence Indian United Methodist Church. Moss said her service to the members of her church and to the Soldiers in the Kansas Army Guard are one in the same.
"My desire is to serve the people of God in any capacity I can," said Moss. "So, being prior service and understanding that there's a desire a need for chaplains led to me coming on board with the Kansas National Guard."
Moss was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant as family, members of her church and fellow KSARNG Soldiers congratulated her.
"Jami's been a blessing to the Kansas Army National Guard," said Chaplain (Col.) Peter Jaramillo, state chaplain. "She's accepted the call. What she brings is unsurpassable in many ways. She brings her own unique calling, she's endowed with a rich cultural background and she has great pastoral skills."
In April 2016, the Kansas Army National Guard opened all military occupations to women, including infantry and field artillery, a fact that makes Moss' commissioning even more opportune, according to Chaplain (Maj.) John Potter, deputy command chaplain.
"There's an incredible importance in having female chaplains," said Potter. "As we continue to increase the numbers of females in combat arms, it's huge that we have a female presence in all branches. So for this to happen in 2016 is historic, it's unique. In a way, it's kind of sad it hasn't happened until now.
"But it's not like she's just going to be a chaplain for females," said Potter, "that's not the case at all. She's going to be there for everyone. It's a huge honor to bring her in. She comes from such an incredible background and culture that she's going to bring to the Chaplain Corps of the Kansas Guard."