Engaging our communities is an important part of the Army's mission, and that's exactly what took place on April 20, 2017, when the Northeast Chaplain Recruiting Team hosted a community luncheon at the American Bible Society (ABS) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Northeast Chaplain Recruiting Team, Chaplain (MAJ) Scott King and Chaplain (CPT) Christian Groenendal, presented "Opportunities in the Army Chaplaincy".
The purpose of the event was to tell the "Chaplain Story" and present opportunities to serve in the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps. The focus was on the Chaplain Candidate Program, the U.S. Army Reserve, and Active Duty service. The audience was comprised of seminary faculty and leadership, seminary students, U.S. Army Reserve chaplains, and various community partners in from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. The intent was to present information regarding the history, mission, and ministry of the Army Chaplaincy to local educators and community partners who will then share it with others in their respective spheres of influence.
In addition, the team wanted to encourage seminary students to consider joining the Chaplain Candidate Program, as well as to inspire serving Army Reserve Chaplains to continue pursuing God's calling in the Chaplain Corps.
Nothing is more intriguing than peoples' actual life experience and testimony. This exciting event began with a welcome and opening prayer, followed by a catered buffet lunch from DiAntonios Restaurant in Philadelphia. After everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch, they tuned in to a video that focused on the history, values, and overall benefit of joining the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps.
After the video, the highlight of the luncheon was 20-minute keynote speech by CH (BG) Carlton Fisher, Deputy Chief of Chaplains for the U.S. Army Reserve. He talked about the impact of the Army Chaplain Corps from both a current and historical perspective, and shared with potential recruits the roles and growing responsibilities of the Chaplain Corps that impact Soldiers and the mission. "CH (BG) Fisher provided a comprehensive picture of what the Army Chaplaincy is all about," said Chaplain Recruiter SGT Zachary Johnson.
CH Fisher's remarks were followed by CH (CPT) Groenendal, who talked about the opportunities for seminary students to serve in the Chaplain Candidate program.
CH (MAJ) David Keller shared his vast and exciting experiences as an Army Reserve Chaplain, where he has served for three years. "CH Keller's personal testimony about how he balances life as an Army Reserve Chaplain and civilian minister was insightful and encouraging," said SSG Chris Niewiadomski, Chaplain Recruiter.
CH (MAJ) Scott King then shared his unique experiences of serving as an Active Duty chaplain over the last ten years. Final remarks were provided by CH (COL, retired) James Punchy of the American Bible Society. He shared the mission of ABS and their important role in providing Bibles to the men and women of the Armed Forces.
The event ended with a networking opportunity and time to ask questions and chat with the Northeast Chaplain Recruiting Team and other guest speakers. "As the first event of its kind, it was a huge success. We are going to build on this and take it to the next level," said Chaplain Recruiter SFC Luznery Fletcher.