By Yvonne Johnson, APG NewsMarch 1, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Guests of the installation's annual National Prayer Luncheon heard a message of hope, encouraging them to trust in God and pray for their leaders, at the Top of the Bay Feb. 15.
Maj. Gen. Donald L. Rutherford, Army Chief of Chaplains, said he was grateful to be the guest speaker and "share words of faith and hope that will touch people."
He said everyone has had leaders who inspire them, and the most important thing for them is to "have their trust."
"We've been through 10 years of war, we've been through 10 years of deployments," he said. "Soldiers have to ask what happens next."
Quoting from the Bible's book of Proverbs, he urged listeners--"lean not on your own understanding," and said in order to trust in one's leadership, you must first trust in God.
Referring to the 1778 Treaty of Alliance with France that led to an American victory over the British during the Revolutionary War, Rutherford noted that "the Army's trust in leadership led to their survival.
"As leaders, how do we instill hope in other people and how do we instill trust in other people? By asking "God for help," he said. "Our nation and our Army depend on trust. Even our coins have 'In God We Trust' on them. We must always when times are difficult, put our trust in God."
Rutherford was welcomed by Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, commander of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, who called him "a man of the cloth who has gone downrange" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"He went where he was needed. In the heat of battle, he was there for our Soldiers," said Dellarocco.
Guests included Maj. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, commander of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command; Brig. Gen. Leslie Smith, commander of the 20th Support Command; and APG Garrison Commander Col. Orlando Ortiz.
Maj. Gen. Jimmie O. Keenan, commander of the U.S. Army Public Health Command, thanked Rutherford for his "phenomenal remarks."
"Spiritual peace is something we can't do without and something our Families can't do without when our nation is at war," she said. "We must focus on physical, spiritual and emotional fitness. As leaders, that's what we are tasked to do."
On behalf of Ferrell, Ortiz thanked everyone for "taking the time out to seek spiritual fitness." Noting that, "as leaders, we have to inspire action." He also commended the APG chaplaincy, led by Installation Chaplain (Col.) Wayne Boyd, for hosting "two impressive events," with this year's being the largest.
The event included prayers for the nation from four denominations delivered by Chaplains (Col.) Harry Rauch, (Lt. Col.) Abdul Muhammad, (Maj.) Jonathan Morse and Rabbi Kushi Schusterman.
Chaplains (Maj.) Steven Simpson and (Maj.) Fred Townsend offered the invocation and benediction.
Mike Cashman from the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate sang the national anthem and the jazz band Hot Club Philly of Philadelphia provided the program's music.
Special guests included H. Everett Smith, president of Sundi's Gift, Inc. from Forest Hill, a nonprofit organization serving the children of Kenya, Africa, and George Ndhawa, a Kenyan pastor of Heart 'N' Soul Ministry.
Sundi's Gift is a nonprofit organization that works with other Kenyan organizations to provide resources for Kenyan children. Later this year, APG chapel members will visit Kenya to help construct an aquaculture system. Ndhawa said he was impressed with the program.
"You know the Army is at war so it's amazing to me to hear them preaching about spiritual health and encouraging Families to do the same," he said. "It's good to see that they are taking time to pray for your country."