In the United States today, and perhaps around the world, when people think of the church, the ministries of Christian churches, and of Christian ministers, they commonly imagine local churches and the life and ministries of parochial or parish and congregational ministers. In fact there are a significant number of unique non-parochial (non-parish) ministry fields beyond the orbit of the local church - and distinct from traditional missionary ministry - where the church deploys ordained and lay ministers as well. The lay and ordained ministers who have been deployed throughout our history into these various fields are known as Chaplains.
While the ministries provided by our Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy® (JAFC) Priest, Deacon, and Lay Commissioned Chaplains are the same ministries as those provided by Anglican parochial ministers – worship, pastoral care, counsel, service, etc. - their day to day functioning as chaplains varies significantly from that of parochial ministers as a result of the unique contexts in which they serve.
Due to the highly specialized nature of chaplaincies and the unique populations chaplains serve, Anglican Chaplains® are provided education, training, and formation to complement and augment typical ministerial education. This further equipping includes an internship, a nine-month group study in Anglican history, theology, and ecclesiology, and a week-long intensive in Anglican Liturgy. The process from pre-application to endorsement can take up to two years.
Why would someone want to serve as a chaplain? Who else will carry the Gospel and Love of God into these places? Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Chaplains go into all the world, suffering with those who suffer, rejoicing with those who rejoice, and making disciples everywhere they go.
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Anglican Chaplaincy ministries here and around the world.
Beyond their ordination and commissioning, those who function as Chaplains are specially educated, trained, equipped, and deployed to serve in a variety of governmental and non-governmental institutional and non-institutional settings to include: hospital, hospice, and armed forces, as well as correctional and educational institutions, and a variety of other fields. Anglican Chaplains® provide ministry around the world, e.g., on university campuses, on Naval war ships with Sailors and Marines, with U.S. Special Forces in Africa, with the hurting and grieving in hospitals and correctional facilities, with American Soldiers fighting in the Middle East, at US Air Force Bases in Europe and Asia, at rodeos, with bikers, with Civil Air Patrol cadets, in cities within refuse dumps in Latin America, and more. Chaplains live and work in challenging and sometimes austere and dangerous places, manifesting the light of the Incarnate Word and the love of Jesus Christ to those they serve.