Having served now for more than 18 years next door to one of the largest Army posts in the US, I have seen the number of Lutheran chaplains drop considerably. At last count the ELCA had 70-80 and Missouri about 90-95 or about 150 all told who wear the Lutheran brand. I have been told that there are approximately 35-40,000 (dated about 2006) Lutheran service men and women spread out over so many ships, bases, posts here and abroad that I cannot even imagine. The point being that the numbers of Lutheran military chaplains has been heading down for some time. Those who serve our nation deserve better. There is hardly a Lutheran presence at Ft. Campbell -- a post nearly 30,000 active duty service men and women call home -- plus their dependents). I know that the Roman Catholic Church is in even worse shape. They have perhaps ten times the number of service men and women and something around 200 or more chaplains. The vast majority are from non-sacramental denominations, Baptists and other chaplains. Clearly, we need to do better. Pray for the increase in active duty chaplains to serve our good men and women in uniform and encourage them with a Lutheran presence on post, base, ship, or combat assignment. Just thinkin....
Most of our pastors are too old. The Army. etc. won't let us in. I tried but they only want the young fellers. Guess the Lord will have to send me to a church "near" a base. That's as good as it will get . . .
I served in the military for three years in the mid 60's. I served in the far east and at a large fort in Texas. The only time that I was anywhere near an LCMS clergyman was when I was home, on leave at my home congregation. I was, by the way, a Chaplain's Assistant.
The only times that I partook of Holy Communion was when I was home.
I was, however never far from The Word. I received the weekly bulletin and, at least once each month a copy of Pastor's sermon. I had my KJV and TLH.
There is no reason that a military person, today cannot be in contact with his/her faith, whether at home or abroad.
I am a member of a congregation with modest to limited means. Anyone with Internet access, no matter where in the world can read Pastor's regularly posted sermons.
Isn't there some way that a congregation could be certain that any member being sent overseas is reported to the office of the DP, and that when such person is deployed for the first time he/she is furnished with a copy of The Lutheran Study Bible, Lutheran Service Book and Concordia, The Lutheran Confessions? TLSB and Concordia are available on Kindle.
Then, there's Treasury of Daily Prayer!! This is also available on Kindle, as well as an iPad app, along with TLSB and Concordia.
So, there aren't many LCMS Chaplains out there.
Maybe it's time that each district is responsible to see that each LCMS member who is either a full time member of the military, or being deployed for service of at least six months overseas for the first time is furnished with an iPad with TLSB, Treasury of Daily Prayer and Concordia loaded, as well as a printed copy of LSB. (Wouldn't it be nice if CPH put out LSB on Kindle?)
I'd rather see our synod, districts and pastors tending the sheep of our flocks than to see them trying to find ways to be "seeker friendly."
God bless our sheep who are in military service to our country!
What happened to Lutheran contact pastors for installations that do not have a Lutheran Chaplain?
Why shouldn't a serviceman's own congregation and district be responsible for seeing that he/she is properly served in the Means of Grace?
Such was provided to me in the 60's. Why can't it be provided in this age of technology?
War is a taste of hell and nothing will bring an unbeliever or a believer closer to his/her Lord faster - let us pray that we might do better as Lutherans to support our men and women in the armed services - I pray this would first by his or her home congregation.
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