CHAPLAINS WORK AND CARE COMMITTEE
The Chaplains Work and Care Committee (CWCC) report to the 42nd General Assembly of its work during 2021-2022, plus recommendations for consideration by the Assembly. This report includes the associative work of the CWCC and Chaplain Endorser.
Use these quicklinks to navigate to a specific section of this report:
TE, Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest
TE, Presbytery of the West
SUMMARY OF WORK
1. Approved 10 new Endorsements for Chaplaincy (civilian/military), and deletion of some chaplains for various reasons, bringing current number of Endorsed Chaplains to 72.
2. The CWCC recognizes the exhaustive work of the Endorser, citing continued increase of chaplains and the work supporting challenges faced by chaplains.
3. At the request of Stated Clerk Dean Weaver, Chaplain Endorser Mark Ingles provided a salary proposal and travel budget proposal for the Endorser position to be increased to full-time.
4. Mark Ingles, with CWCC member support, rewrote a new, clear, and concise position paper on ministry to same-sex couples and LGBTQ+ individuals, replacing two outdated documents into one.
5. Mark Ingles and the CWCC presented a successful, well-attended 2021 Chaplains Workshop with guest speaker Mike Berry from First Liberty Institute.
6. A process to incorporate all Volunteer Chaplains into the CWCC Chaplain rolls has begun, with expectation to have them all included in the next two years.
7. Further edits were made to the new and separate policy and support Handbooks: 1) Chaplain’s Handbook, and 2) Endorser and CWCC Handbook.
8. Further refined, with the support of the EPC Director of Communications, Endorsement Application and Information Forms for online use.
9. Further revised/updated the EPC Chaplaincy web page featuring connected links to various application forms and other key chaplaincy and EPC documents.
10. Endorser plans to develop a presentation to be sent to all married chaplains containing various marriage enrichment and maintenance opportunities.
42-20 That the 42nd General Assembly approve the CWCC Policy Statement on Chaplain Ministry to Same-Sex Couples and LGBTQ+ Individuals.
WORK OF THE COMMITTEE
SCOPE OF WORK
The Chaplains Work and Care Committee (CWCC) consists of nine members, both Teaching and Ruling Elders, along with the EPC Chaplain Endorser. The desired balance of the Committee is a 2-1 ratio of TEs to REs. The CWCC and Endorser are supported by a designated Assistant at the Office of the General Assembly and the denomination’s Assistant Stated Clerk. The military and many civilian institutions require their chaplains to be Ecclesiastically Endorsed by their denominations. Additionally, the EPC requires Endorsement for all chaplains serving under the EPC, whether their institution in which they are serving requires it or not. EPC-ordained ministers and candidates under care of Presbyteries receive EPC Ecclesiastical/Denomination Endorsement through the General Assembly’s Chaplain Endorser, supported by the Chaplains Work and Care Committee (CWCC). The Committee and Endorser handle the application, interview, and endorsement process, closely reviewing the qualifications of each applicant for Endorsement. If approved, the Chaplain Endorser forwards the EPC Ecclesiastical Endorsement to the Chief of Chaplains Office of the appropriate military branch for military institutional chaplains, or to the necessary agency for civilian institutional chaplains, including those seeking Board Certification, entrance to CPE programs, and others. The Committee/Endorser also provides Endorsement for Seminarians entering Military Chaplain Candidate Programs. In addition, Volunteer chaplains are now properly recognized for their work and receive a letter of “Endorsement to Serve as a Volunteer Chaplain.” With Endorser authoring and CWCC approval, there are five distinct types of Endorsement (plus one Conditional Endorsement Status), keeping in mind that all EPC chaplains must receive Endorsement:
A. Military Chaplaincy Endorsement. For those seeking to serve as a chaplain with the Army, Air Force, or Navy in an Active Duty, Reserve, or Guard capacity, including seminarians considering military chaplaincy and entering into a military Chaplain Candidate program.
B. Military Chaplaincy Transfer of Endorsement. For currently serving military chaplains seeking to transfer their ordination credentials and endorsement from their current denomination to the EPC.
C. Civilian Institutional Chaplaincy Endorsement. For those seeking serve as a chaplain within a civilian institution, including (but not limited to) Hospital/Health Care, Hospice, Correctional Facilities, Corporate and Marketplace chaplaincies, Sports Organizations, and more.
D. Civilian Institutional Chaplaincy Transfer of Endorsement. For currently serving civilian institutional chaplains seeking to transfer their ordination credentials and endorsement from their current denomination to the EPC.
E. Volunteer Chaplaincy. For those (often TEs serving in other and paid ministry roles) who are seeking to add to their call of ministry. Volunteer chaplains serve in a variety of locations, providing unpaid chaplain support to various institutions and departments such as Police, Fire, First Responders, Disaster Relief, Health Care, and more. Volunteer chaplains receive a “Letter of Endorsement to Serve” as a Volunteer Chaplain.
F. Conditional Ecclesiastical/Denominational Endorsement. This form of Endorsement is available for those still in process of Ordination for the purpose of applying for a chaplain position as a requirement for ordination, and to transfer credentials from another denomination as set forth by a Presbytery. Conditional Endorsement also may be granted so as to enroll in a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program, apply for Board Certification, or to submit application to a military Chaplain Candidate Program. Conditional Endorsement is limited in its length and can only be renewed by the Chaplain Endorser.
The Committee’s secondary—but just as important—function is to partner with chaplains to be an encourager, and to guide and support them. All employed chaplains endorsed by the EPC will receive regular, direct support from a CWCC member as their partner. Volunteer Chaplains will still be partnered with a CWCC Committee member and will be available to those chaplains as needed, such as for prayer requests, concerns, supporting information, and the like.
POLICIES, PROCEDURES, CARE
In addition, the CWCC and Endorser develops and implements policies and procedures for EPC chaplain ministry and provides pastoral care for Chaplains and their families as opportunities allow.
Since the 41st General Assembly, the CWCC approved the following chaplaincy endorsements, bringing the total number of Endorsed Chaplains to 72:
TE Stephanie Vander Lugt: Approved Conditional, Denominational Ecclesiastical Endorsement to serve as chaplain to local jails, detention facilities, and community outreach, and support to apply to State or Federal Correctional Facilities.
TE Joshua Hammans: Approved the Transfer of Denominational Ecclesiastical Endorsement to Joshua Hammans from the WICCC to the EPC as he continues to serve as a chaplain in the United States Air Force.
TE Richard Evans: Approved the Denominational Ecclesiastical Endorsement to Richard Evans as he continues to serve as a Hospice Chaplain For Asante Hospice.
TE Marty Carpenter: Approved Denominational Ecclesiastical Endorsement for Marty Carpenter for civilian chaplaincy as a Hospital Chaplain as well as for pursuing Board Certification. It was also recognized that Marty’s endorsement and work as a police chaplain will continue.
TE Lisa Negus: Approved Denominational Ecclesiastical Endorsement for Hospital Chaplaincy, including the pursuit of a CPE residency and potential Board Certification.
TE Rob Buchanan: Approved Denominational Ecclesiastical Endorsement to serve in Hospital Chaplaincy in his continued service as a Staff Chaplain for Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, and secondly, to pursue Board Certification through BCCI.
TE Mark Gregory: Approved Military Transfer of Denominational Ecclesiastical Endorsement as a USAF Reserve Chaplain. It was further approved that should Mark take a position as an Education Chaplain, the Endorser can approve or refer it back to the CWCC at his discretion.
TE Brad Kenney: Approved Denominational Ecclesiastical Endorsement to serve as a civilian chaplain for the organization, Soccer Chaplains United.
TE Mike Anderson: Approved Denominational Ecclesiastical Endorsement to serve as Chaplain to the Presbytery of the West.
Anthony Bianchini: Approved Denominational Ecclesiastical Endorsement to Anthony Bianchini for continued service as a Correctional Facilities Chaplain for Frackville State Correctional Institution.
The current Chaplains and CWCC Procedure and Policy Handbook was completely replaced by the Chaplain Endorser and two members of the CWCC. The revision was finalized at the Spring 2022 CWCC meeting, and realized the creation of two separate Handbooks: 1) Chaplain’s Handbook, and 2) Endorser and CWCC Handbook, replacing the existing single handbook that covered both entities. The creation of these two separate handbooks provides a much more streamlined and concise guide for the Chaplains and the Endorser/CWCC.
The current policy documents covering sexuality issues (“Specific Guidance for EPC Chaplains Regarding Ministry to Same-Sex Couples” and “Ministry Policy for EPC Chaplains Dealing with Individuals Who Practice Homosexual Behavior and Claim Homosexual Identity”) were found to be outdated and cumbersome. The Chaplain Endorser, with the support of two CWCC members, authored a new, single document titled “Chaplain Ministry to Same-Sex Couples and LGBTQ+ Individuals.” The new document was brought before the Theology Committee, which after deliberation sent the document back to the CWCC and Endorser with recommendations for further editing and consideration. The Chaplain Endorser took the recommendations and completely revised the document. After further review by some CWCC members, the new document is being submitted with the desire for it to come for approval at the 42nd General Assembly.
REWORKING ENDORSEMENT FORMS FOR DIGITAL ACCESS
The Endorser, with the support of the EPC Director of Communications, further updated all application and information forms for Endorsement accessible online as digital access application forms. These documents include new Endorsement Applications, Statement of Intent, Authorization and Release, as well as written and phone Reference Forms. This greatly simplifies the filling out and submission of Chaplaincy Applications and related documents.
EPC CHAPLAINCY WEBPAGE
The ever-evolving EPC Chaplaincy web page continues to be updated by the Chaplain Endorser. The updated version makes the webpage more user friendly, adds further direct digital application access, and provides a much clearer explanation of the EPC Endorsement process that is required of all Chaplains.
All chaplains are expected to attend the Chaplains Workshop annually. The Chaplains Workshop is also recognized as a Leadership Institute offering, as much of what is presented would be valuable to both chaplains and non-chaplains alike. Though 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic, the much-anticipated 2021 Workshop went as planned and was very successful. We were pleased to have Michael Berry from First Liberty Institute as our guest speaker. Plans are proceeding well for the 2022 Chaplains Workshop.
CHAPLAINS ENDORSER SALARY/TRAVEL BUDGET PROPOSAL
For several years, the CWCC has recognized that the Endorser was working considerable hours, his workload was increasing, and his work was not being properly recognized by his salary. Over those years, the CWCC also has promoted the need for the Endorser to be salaried full-time and his travel budget increased respectively. In October 2021, Endorser Mark Ingles and CWCC Chairman Brad Yorton were called to the OGA where Stated Clerk Dean Weaver and Assistant Stated Clerk Jerry Iamurri recognized the need for this to happen, and for it to be approved—preferably by the 42nd General Assembly. At the request of Dean Weaver, in December 2021 Mark Ingles provided a salary proposal for the Endorser position to be paid full-time, and a travel budget proposal that would be commensurate.
MARRIAGE ENRICHMENT OPPORTUNITIES
The Endorser is developing a presentation to be sent to all married chaplains containing various marriage enrichment and maintenance opportunities in support of maintaining good marital health.
NEW COMMITTEE MEMBERS
The 41st General Assembly approved the following nominated CWCC Members:
TE Russ Ragon (most Senior Ranking Military Chaplain available), Presbytery of the West
RE Darrel DeHaven, Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest
RE Ben Brychta, Presbytery of the Southeast.
COMMITTEE MEMBER TRANSITIONS
Two CWCC members: RE Bruce Alexander, Presbytery of the East, and TE Tim Foster, Presbytery of the Central South, will rotate off at the 42nd GA. We commend them for their outstanding years of service to the CWCC and will be greatly missed. Two individuals need to be nominated to replace them—one TE and one RE—so as to maintain the balance of 2:1 TE/RE representation in the committee.
All Chaplains receive personal visits from the Endorser, preferably every three years (at a minimum). With the reduction in COVID-19 restrictions, the Endorser—even with some limitations still imposed by the pandemic, costs of travel, and limited travel budget—was able to accomplish 16 official/personal visits to chaplains. Visit opportunities are continuing to increase, and with the planned increase in the travel budget beginning this fiscal year, the Endorser expects to do considerably more visits and therefore more traveling 2022-2023.
The Endorser continually represents the EPC and chaplains in associations with which we have affiliation, as well as at six professional conferences. Most conferences this year were back to in-person gatherings. This included NCMAF (National Conference of Ministry to the Armed Forces), ECC (Evangelical Chaplains Commission), and the Chaplaincy arm of the NAE.
ENDORSER OFFICER ROLES
The EPC Chaplain Endorser continues as Secretary for the Evangelical Chaplains Commission (ECC), endorsing body of the NAE, Secretary for the Endorsers Conference for Veterans Affairs Chaplaincy (ECVAC), and Treasurer for the Chaplains Alliance for Religious Liberty (CALL). These are all associations in which the EPC belongs.
The Endorser plans to visit numerous Presbytery meetings to share a brief on EPC Chaplaincy and better educate those on Chaplaincy matters, Endorsement and its relation to Ordination, and its professional standing and rapid growth in society. Appropriate mention is that Chaplaincy is now the fastest growing form of ministry within the United States and many other countries.
MVC/MCC CHAIRS CHAPLAINCY TRAINING
The Endorser plans to visit several Presbytery MVC/MCC committees to provide a highly informative and more expansive briefing on Endorsement procedures, relationship to Ordination, and clear understanding of the chaplain vocation.
CHAPLAIN ALLIANCE FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
The CWCC, recognizing the highly valued work of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty (CALL), affirmed the continued financial support of this organization by adding $2,000 standing annual gift from the Care of Chaplains Fund to support their critical work in the promotion of religious liberty and freedom for chaplains. The Executive Director of CALL, Bishop Derek Jones, and CALL’s President, Craig Muehler, expressed their heartfelt thanks for the generous gift.
PERSONAL REMARKS FROM BRAD YORTON
This has been quite a year, “interesting times” as the blessing goes. This report has detailed much of that. Some of our chaplains were still working under the most extreme COVID restrictions in May, for example. The Chaplains WORK and CARE Committee has been quite busy doing both: WORKING on issues that will impact many, if not all, of our chaplain-missionaries for many years to come, WORKING the processes to endorse a good number of new EPC Chaplains, and CARING for them in many different and unique ways. From urgently praying for them on a regular basis, to contacting many in new COVID-era ways, to visiting some as opportunities arise, this committee has worked hard.
And now with an Endorser who had been working full-time for the past several years and will now be paid full-time with a good travel budget, the EPC joins the ranks of first-line Evangelicals in providing top-level care for our chaplains. With such growth, the Committee covets your prayer care as we strive to represent you well in this great work. Thank you.
PERSONAL REMARKS FROM MARK INGLES
It is said that Chaplaincy is the fastest-growing form of ministry in the United States today—and many other countries as well! We have seen that with the uptick of those looking into serving as full-time chaplains, part-time chaplains supplementing their ongoing ministry as pastors and the like, as well as serving in a myriad of Volunteer Chaplain positions. The expectation is that this uptick will continue to increase. The CWCC and I are preparing to be well-positioned to take on this increased task.
As for the EPC Chaplains currently serving, I could not be prouder of them as they Love Well and continue to provide excellence in ministry in the midst of secular environments that are not always very welcoming to chaplains—let alone conservative, evangelical ones. As professionals touched by God to serve in this way, the number of stories of the impact they have had on countless lives would fill volumes.
Please continue to pray for our chaplains as they do their amazing work across our nation and around the world. As the pandemic winds down, the opportunities are ever-increasing for chaplains to minister to the needs of those facing some of the hardest and most challenging times in their lives, as well as celebrating the joys and successes that are also a part of the experience. As not only the official denominational Endorser for approving chaplains to serve, I also server as chaplain to the chaplains and covet your prayers for being the best I can possibly be for them. God bless you, and God bless our chaplains.
EPC CHAPLAINS ROSTER
The Chaplains Work and Care Committee recommends that the 42nd General Assembly approve replacement of the EPC CWCC Policy Statements: “Ministry Policy for Chaplains Dealing with Homosexual Behavior” and “Guidance for EPC Chaplains Regarding Ministry to Same Sex Couples” with a new “Policy Statement on Chaplain Ministry to Same-Sex Couples and LGBTQ+ individuals.“
Brad Yorton (Chairman)
TE, Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest
RE, Presbytery of the Southeast
RE, Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest
TE, Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic
TE, Presbytery of the Great Plains
RE, Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic
TE, Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest
TE, Presbytery of the Central South
TE, Presbytery of the West
TE, Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic (retired)
Chaplain Endorser/CWCC Secretary
May 13, 2021: Video Conference
May 18, 2021: Video Conference
June 21, 2021: Chaplain Training/Chaplains Workshop, Second Presbyterian Church (Memphis, Tennessee)
July 23, 2021: Video Conference (Training)
August 11, 2021: Video Conference
October 11, 2021: Video Conference
October 12, 2021: Video Conference
January 21, 2022: Video Conference
March 14-15, 2022: Office of the General Assembly (Orlando, Florida)
May 3, 2022: Video Conference
Brad Yorton, Chairman
Mark Ingles, Chaplain Endorser