It can be said that ELCA military chaplains serve on the front lines of faith as they work in unique environments throughout the world. Endorsed through the ELCA’s Bureau for Federal Chaplaincy Ministry, chaplains serve in all branches of the U.S. military throughout the world — Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Here are photos of some of our men and women who have answered the call to serve as military chaplains.
Lt. Bill Hlavin, an ELCA pastor, celebrates Christmas in Afghanistan. Bill is a chaplain with the Navy Reserve and spent a year with Marines in 2010-2011.
Lt. Bill Hlavin, chaplain, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, concludes a baptism service in prayer. Bill baptized 29 Marines under Operation Sword of the Spirit.
Bill Wiecher, chaplain, with 2nd Lt. Jasmine Tesdahl, a seminary student preparing for ministry in the ELCA. Originally from Longmont, Colo., Jasmine will continue with studies at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago later this year.
Soldiers on a field training exercise at Fort Sill, Okla., celebrate the Eucharist during Holy Week in 2007. Serving them is D. Erich Schwartz, chaplain and one of the ELCA pastors on active duty.
Jeremie Vore (second from the left), one of our ELCA pastors deployed as a military chaplain in Afghanistan in 2011, poses with three other chaplains at Combat Out-Post Penich in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. The chaplains represent a cross-section of religious traditions: a Southern Baptist, a Lutheran, a Churches of Christ pastor and a Romanian Orthodox priest.
“Father, bless our soldiers and send them safely home to us in the name of your blessed Son Jesus.” — prayer on the back of a camouflage stole. This photo is from Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Haymarket, Va. They, along with other congregations, bless and send stoles to deployed chaplains in Afghanistan.
Tom Bingnol, chaplain and an ELCA pastor, leads sailors aboard the USS Halyburton in a Christmas worship service. The ship is at the edge of a tropical cyclone.
Col. Michael Lembke, chaplain, sings a song with other chaplains and chaplain assistants during the Spiritual Fitness Initiative conference at the Hope Chapel in Camp Victory, Iraq, Nov. 15, 2010.