Ministry in the era of COVID-19
The role of the Navy Chaplain is central to ensuring mission readiness. This readiness expands to sea going vessels, shore activities both domestic and abroad. The fact of the matter is the Navy Chaplain brings what matters, when it matters and where it matters.
Navy Chaplains possess a variety of experiences coupled with their seminary training to professional naval chaplaincy. Chaplains understand the importance of being “present” with the individual to ensure he or she receives the necessary support required for the Sailor to get back into the fight. This support can range from counseling, training and or providing referrals to appropriate agencies for assistance.
Consequently, the COVID-19 pandemic has heighten the need for more support due to the growing loss of life, stress upon dependents and sailors and the overall stress of lock-down procedures. As a result, the chaplain must bring a full tool box in order to really help members navigate the uncertainty of today’s world.
To that end, Chaplains bring the spiritual component to the forefront. Yes, we offer spiritual guidance, prayer and the exposition of the sacred text to those members who embrace their spirituality. At the same time, the chaplain knows how to engage members who are not religious. At the end of the day, members want someone who can share in their plight with empathy and compassion. We do not have to believe in the same religious tenets in order to feel the depths of a person’s loss or cry for help. Our common humanity causes us to seek to bring some level of resolution or relief.
During this pandemic, the chaplain’s discernment is keen, his immersion in self-care is required, her reliance upon faith is central to ministry effectiveness. We walk with sailors, we listen to their stories, we combine our hope with their hope and we guide them to their own understanding of spiritual readiness.
Pray for chaplains not only during this COVID-19 pandemic, but always. Our calling is vast and the stakes are high. Pray that we will be effective as we journey with sailors during this current global crisis and the years to come.