The First Church of Christ, Scientist, trains and provides chaplains to the USA military
A Christian Science Military Chaplain is a commissioned military officer, serving as a Protestant Chaplain in the United States Armed Forces. The military chaplaincy is an avenue for serving God, church, and country in an especially rewarding way.
Our "practitioners in uniform" bring The Mother Church’s healing response to those serving their country in uniform wherever they are stationed. Our chaplains ensure and provide for the free exercise of religion for all service members, as well as providing special ministry to Christian Scientists.
The Mother Church’s Military Chaplain Training Program is comprised of three major components: formal seminary education, regular training under the auspices of The Mother Church, and practical field experience. Applicants must meet both the military’s requirements for chaplains and The Mother Church’s requirements.
For more information on requirements for the program, or to request an application, contact the Christian Science Military Chaplain Endorsing Agent, Janet Horton, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finding a military chaplain
If you would like to contact a Christian Scientist serving as a Protestant Chaplain in the US Armed Forces, send an email to Janet Horton at email@example.com, or click here to register your contact information and have a chaplain contact you.
Many branches have non-military chaplain programs in local institutions (prisons, hospitals, etc.). This is called institutional work. The Mother Church has an Institutional Committee Liaison who works with individuals and branches in the United States who have questions about institutional work.
This Liaison, Toni Gaspard, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Mother Church has a local prison ministry committee of volunteer workers who read at the Suffolk County Jail in Boston. Please contact Sylvia Herczeg at email@example.com for more information.
In most cases in the USA, "chaplain" is a term reserved for ordained clergy; however, most institutions rely on lay ministers who are not ordained. Paid full-time professional chaplains who have to have seminary graduate studies and the ordination or endorsement of their national church headquarters normally fill a supervisory position to organize and run expanded ministry opportunities in institutions. Many institutions require additional in-house training for the volunteer workers that many churches provide. The requirements differ greatly among individual institutions, and there is little commonality in states or even regions.
Since Hurricane Katrina and other disaster relief, Red Cross, FEMA, prisons, etc., have been requiring documentation of some sort from church workers. Most organizations want a character reference and proof of training. In some cases those requirements may even include a specific type college course or some other form of educational requirement. Each person or branch church sponsor interested must contact the specific institution to find out what its requirements are. There is no universal standard.
The Mother Church only provides endorsements for our military chaplains and seminary students for their military reserve commissioning packets. The institutional lay workers in our branch churches or societies are usually given a letter from their branch or their State Institutional Committee verifying their appointment to represent their branch. The letter includes information such as a statement that they are members in good standing and of sound moral character. Some institutions require training provided by the paid professional chaplains that supervise the services, etc., at those institutions.
For a Christian Science Minister to Armed Forces Installations near them, the military chaplains on post need some sort of appointment and bona fides for access to the military installation or post and service members. The same sort of letter from the branch church or society they represent is appropriate. These are usually signed by the Clerk of the church or the current Board Chairperson.