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Navy chaplains keep faith afloat at sea

US Navy top brass say chaplains play an intricate role in keeping the military ready for battle.

“It’s one of the most rewarding, unique, diversified, multi-faceted ministries you could ever imagine,” said Navy Commander John Logan, who is a senior chaplain aboard the USS George H.W. Bush.
Commander Logan told CBN News growing up in the Virgin Islands, he always wanted to ride the waves with the Navy.


Lt. Cmdr. John Connolly, Jacksonville chaplain, blesses Lt. j.g. Renicka McGill, an obstetric nurse in family medicine, during a Blessing of the Hands ceremony at the hospital as part of National Nurses Week (May 6-12).

“It had to do something with that slogan, ‘It’s not just a job it’s an adventure,’ said Commander Logan. “When I was a kid, Navy ships would come to my home island of St. Croix and I would take tours on them and it just seemed like so much fun.

Navy chaplains provide a visible reminder of the presence of God and offer hope when our men and women of the armed forces are going through some of the most difficult times, especially when they are months out at sea.

Lt. Commander John Connolly has been a Navy chaplain for years and calls it one of the greatest jobs in the world.

“I don’t want people to go into their hard situations in a military setting without being reminded that God loves you and so do I,” said Lt. Commander Connolly. “I want them to be able to hear that. I want them to be able to experience that in everything I do.”

Lt. Solomon Lloyd, another chaplain aboard the USS George H.W. Bush said, “I have no responsibility to make anybody a United Methodist. I have to just make them see the love of God, understand that God cares about them and build God’s kingdom.”

Chaplains Part of Military Since 1775

Since 1775, Navy chaplains have supported the spiritual well-being and resilience of our warfighters in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

While their duties are primarily focused on spiritual and moral issues, many chaplains have also demonstrated tremendous bravery.

Stories abound of chaplains administering the last rites to fallen soldiers, oblivious to the fire around them, or dashing out into the open to rescue the wounded without regard to their own lives.

Chief of Chaplains, Rear Admiral Margaret Kibben said, “For 239 years, Navy chaplains have served on the frontlines of faith and in times of acute human need, crisis, and grief. We are there to help our people in the midst of joys, hardships, trials, and suffering; to help them make meaning of the moral injury they encounter in war and to help our people discover hope, nourish their own spiritual identity, and find their own faith voice.”

Chaplains Provide Hope In Troubled Times

Carolee Morrow

Chaplains say when sailors are on a ship nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall and a temporary home to some 5,000 people, it can be also one of the loneliest places for a young sailor.

“When I first came on board I needed the Chaplain’s help a lot,” said Sailor Carolee Morrow

Morrow said she needed help because she wasn’t battle-ready when the Navy called her to deploy.

“She sat me down for quite a few hours. We talked about God. The meaning of life and what it meant to keep pushing forward. Keeping His spirit in mind in your daily work and it really pushed me through it. It helped me a lot and I’m sure they do the same for other sailors,” said Morrow.

Chaplains Keep Military Ready for Battle

Commanding officers of the USS George H.W. Bush say its chaplains play a vital role in increasing the resilience of our military force and making the ship the best in the Navy.

“Chaplains, in a sense, provide readiness. They allow us to put sailors back into the fight. They are more than just providing religious accommodation they provide counseling services, they provide suicide prevention techniques, they provide life skills. All these things that matter to put sailors back on duty so that we can defeat our enemies, said Captain Chris Hill, another USS Bush chaplain.

It’s a delicate process because everything said between a chaplain and a sailor is confidential.

Commander Logan said, “I am here so you can be successful. I am here so you can be battle-ready. So whatever I can do with the help of the Lord to get you on the right course of direction, to set you on to leading you toward your goals and you’ve got it, you go forward. I’ve done my job.”

–CBChristian Wire Services