By Gerry Hutchinson
Last week I attended a series of meetings for endorsers of chaplain and pastoral counselors from over a 100 different religious organizations. We met for nine days in Alexandria, Va.
On Wednesday, after a long day of meetings, I returned to my hotel room to check emails and return phone calls. I was surprised to see an email from the Administrative Assistant of the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces – the group conducting our meeting. She wrote to say that a woman had stopped by the Registration desk to inquire if there was a representative from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship at the meeting.
The woman was working across the street and came over to the hotel for a meal when she saw the bright displays for chaplaincy ministries and learned that this was a meeting of religious endorsers. She had once been endorsed by CBF and wanted to speak to someone from the Fellowship. I recieved her contact information, contacted her and we arranged to meet the next day.
At the appointed hour I waited near the concierge desk and Deborah Jenkins walked in and introduced herself. We sat and visited. As we talked she related this story:
Deborah sought and received endorsement from CBF in 2011 to serve as a chaplain with the California State Military Reserve. She described how formative this ministry was in her life. Although Deborah has moved to another state and is no longer serving with the California Reserve, she expressed her gratitude for the support she received from CBF. As we talked it became clear she was not asking for anything—she simply wanted to say “thank you” that CBF was there to support her when she felt God’s call to serve.
Deborah’s testimony reminded me again how important endorsement is as a ministry of affirmation to our chaplains and pastoral counselors. Currently there are 704 active CBF endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors serving in a variety of specialized settings around the world. Thank you for the support and affirmation you provide these ministers.
Gerry Hutchinson serves as the CBF Endorser for Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors. If you are interested in endorsement with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, visit www.cbf.net/chaplaincy or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.