BEING A CHAPLAIN
You were elected to the office of Post/District Chaplain.
You have an important responsibility to your Post/District.
Whether you have been selected for your religious training or past VFW experiences, you are expected to be the spiritual advisor to your organization and its members.
You are not expected to know everything but are expected to search for the answer and get back to the individual. Do not be afraid to ask questions when necessary. There are many ministers of faiths/denominations and chaplains that are willing to assist you. As you meet them, create a contact list and offer veteran/VFW/chaplain assistance when they need it. All will benefit from the experience.
PURPOSE OF CHAPLAINS
The office of Chaplain is not just to provide a “religious” officer to the organization to offer prayers at meetings. He or she has higher purposes:
1- To help persons grow in their relationship with God.
2- To help persons grow in their relationships to one another and become a true comrade/sister to one another.
3- To serve as a reminder of the transcendent in life.
4- To develop an environment with which comrades and sisters are encouraged in their personal and collective moral and spiritual growth.
5- To remind all Americans that God is the source of all rights and privileges.
We must be reminded that the Veterans of Foreign Wars is comprehensive in nature, embracing all religions and faith groups within its ranks. The Chaplaincy, being non-sectarian must minister to the spiritual needs of all, without regard to either church/synagogue/mosque affiliation or non-affiliation. Chaplains will need to provide ministry to people wherever there is a need.
QUALIFICATIONS OF CHAPLAINS
The qualifications for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Chaplain are not academic or ecclesiastical. A VFW Chaplain candidate is not required to be a “professional” clergy person. (Most Post/Auxiliary Chaplains are not.) The qualifications are simple yet important:
1- A willingness to serve the office.
2- A sense of spiritual maturity.
3- Committed to providing a Chaplain’s ministry.
4- A caring person.
5- A desire to help people.
6- The ability to keep things confidential.(Extremely important.)
7- Willing to be neutral and objective when settling disputes.
8- Voice projection and the ability to read well in public.
9- Should have a positive attitude toward him/herself.
10- Chaplains should be proud of their office and determined to do a good job.
Duties and Responsibilities of the Chaplain
1. In a non-sectarian manner, you should be prepared to listen to your fellow comrades/sisters and provide aid and spiritual comfort in times of stress, sickness, or bereavement.
2. Work with your Service Officer to aid members and their families in time of need.
3. Your Post Commander or Officers may come to you in confidence. Remember the privileged communication you are having is for your ears only. Uphold the high ideals of the organization in any advice you offer. Remember it is a privilege – respect it.
4. You should be prepared to offer the ritual prayers at each meeting of the Post. You will also be called upon to offer appropriate prayers at the initiation of new members; installation of officers; the dedication of a building, monument or colors; or at the memorial service of a comrade.
Note: All such services are commemorated by use of the VFW or Ladies Auxiliary ritual.
5. Being a member of the Post’s Memorial Team will provide an opportunity for contact with the grieving family and thus provides a caring ministry to them. The Memorial Team is an important part of the honors offered to a veteran.
6. Use the persuasion of your office to promote harmony and unity in the Post/District/State.
Additional Duties & Responsibilities
- A person of moral and intellectual qualities
- A member of the Executive Committee
- Your Post’s official representative at Religious and Civic affairs in the great community
- A pastoral caregiver
- Conduct and/or participate in Memorial, and Funeral Services when called upon
- Send cards to sick and bereaved
- Visit sick, bereaved and hospitalized
- Participation in Parades, 9/11 Memorial Services, Veterans Day Programs/Services, and POW/MIA Services
- Presenting Memorial Bibles to deceased members’ Family
- Generate respect for the office of Chaplain