April 12, 2016
By Carrie McGuffin and Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — Less than 20 years after the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship began endorsing chaplains and pastoral counselors, CBF has named its 1,000th endorsed person. The CBF Council on Endorsement on March 5 selected Erin Lysse, a second-year chaplaincy resident at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., as its 1,000th endorsee.
Lysse expressed her passion for chaplaincy ministry and the great sense of tradition and honor to be named the 1,000th CBF-endorsed chaplain or pastoral counselor.
“Being a chaplain gives me the opportunity to sit with people in some of the worst times they might experience in life. I meet folks who experiencing crises that change their lives forever,” Lysse said. “CBF is endorsing me as the 1,000th endorsee, and I feel a connection to an important legacy of ministry, and my hope is to continue that legacy.”
CBF chaplains and pastoral counselors serve in a variety of contexts including medical centers, correctional institutions, hospice organizations, police and fire and rescue departments, colleges and universities, businesses, retirement communities, pastoral counseling centers, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Civil Air Patrol and in each branch of the United States Armed Forces, as well as numerous other specialized settings.
CBF’s chaplaincy and pastoral counseling ministries have a rich history in the life of the Fellowship. After several years of discussion, CBF declared itself a “religious endorsing body” and formed the CBF Council on Endorsement in 1997 and the following year endorsed its first four chaplains and pastoral counselors: Paula Peek, a hospice chaplain in Kentucky; Tim Madison, a hospital chaplain in Texas; Jim Pruett, a pastoral counselor in South Carolina; and Capt. Jim Harwood, a United States Navy chaplain.
Within four years, CBF endorsed more than 100 chaplains and pastoral counselors and in 2001 selected long-time chaplain George Pickle as the Fellowship’s first full-time Endorser for Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors. During Pickle’s 12-year-tenure as endorser, the number of endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors grew from 138 to 715. After Pickle’s retirement in 2013, U.S. Navy Chaplain Capt. Gerry Hutchinson was selected to succeed Pickle as Endorser.
Hutchinson shared his excitement to celebrate this milestone endorsement and emphasized the privilege he feels to support those living out a call to minister in these specialized settings.
“George Pickle laid a strong foundation for the ministry of chaplains and pastoral counselors with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship,” Hutchinson said. “It is my great privilege to carry the torch onward. I am abundantly grateful that God continues to call, gift and guide women and men to CBF whose passion is Kingdom work through chaplaincy and pastoral counseling.”
CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry efforts, global missions and a broad community of support.The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.