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Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Call!!!!!


1524 Central Standard Time

I received...THE CALL.

My recruiter called as my family and I were leaving the house to exercise at the local community college walking track. He said, "Congratulations, you have been accepted into the United States Army as a Chaplain. You are assigned to Chaplain Basic in September." He also said that he LOVED to make these calls.

My initial thoughts...what a privilege. To serve my Savior and to serve my country is a privilege few are called to do. Yet, I can't tell my congregations just yet, until orders have been received and I have been sworn in. My recruiter informs me that this could take 60 days...more 'hurry up and wait'. But somehow, it seems so different. I KNOW I'm going in so to wait for paperwork, etc, is ok with me.

Suddenly my family and I will have dramatic changes in our lives. Where will we live for the next two years? Will we live overseas, our first choice or one of our three stateside choices which are in order:

1. Washington State
2. Alaska
3. North Carolina

Still, so many questions, but HE is the answer. We are all SO excited. God is good, but He is always good even when His answer isn't what we hope.


1 comment:

  1. Fr. James D. Hager II, BCC, D.Min.May 13, 2009 at 10:32 PM

    Greetings in Christ Jesus...I have discovered your blog and have scanned over it all, but tonight, 22:00 hours on 13 May 2009, I am awaiting "The Call..." The May 2009 accessioning board met yesterday and today, and my packet/application was one under review and consideration. Your blog has helped me to know that I could be waiting between one week and a month before I receive a call either way. As you shared in your blog, my prayer has been "Not my will, but your's be done." I was on Active duty in the US Army for just under ten years departing in 1988 to pursue my call to ministry. I was a counterintelligence agent who had just been picked up as a warrant officer candidate, however, I believed that while I loved my job to know that God was calling me and to ignore that call would not fare well. I loved the Army, stayed in the USAR for a few years until working full time and going to school full time precluded my being able to earn enough points for "good service years" in the USAR.

    I was reared in Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (baptized and confirmed. After departing the US Army, I was lead to The Salvation Army (TSA), where I was hired and worked as the business director for our local Corps, and disaster coordinator for our division. I was a soldier and a member of the Columbia, SC Corps and a member of the Future Officer;'s Fellowship. I really resonated with the Wesleyan-Arminian theology, I liked the hostory of the Holiness Movement that birthed the Pentecostal Movement, however, I did not like the modern day out working of it as folks stove to be "entirely sanctified" and the outworking was a works righteousness and judgmentalism that is counter to the Gospel of Jesus. I met and married my wife, Jeanne, who was 12 years older than I and she was a baptized Southern Baptist of 25 years. In the TSA both husband and wife attend the College for Officer's Training and both are ordained. While my wife had no opinion on women in ministry she was sure she was not called to be ordained.

    We prayed for discernment and were led to The Wesleyan Church, five years later after completing the ordination requirements and internship and was ordained. During the last year of this process I was completing the first of my two years of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) residency. During my CPE experience my wife and I again prayed for discernment as in my ministry as a hospice chaplain (I did a second year of CPE as a specialty residency) I began to witness the outworking of God's grace as the Holy Spirit effected reconciliation and some of my patients were physically healed, but more so many (like my brother was during catechism in a LCMS congregation) were spiritually wounded or in spiritual distress. The Wesleyan Church was not very supportive of people who testified to what they had witnessed of God's amazing grace, they called me "charismatic," Also, I had always believed in the "real presence" of Christ in the Eucharist, and our parish began celebrating weekly Eucharist. The Discipline of the Wesleyan Church said that communion should be served "at least quarterly." Their interpretation was that it should be served no more than quarterly. Jeanne and I were led to The Charismatic Episcopal Church. Jeanne and I were received into the CEC as full members and I, by now employed as a hospice chaplain, was received as a "postulant."

    I was board certified as a chaplain (BCC) by the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) in 2003 and served as a hospice chaplain through 2007 when I was hired as Director of Chaplains and Pastoral Education by another agency.

    In March 2008, while attending the annual plenary meeting of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP), I had met Chaplain (LTC) Lance Sneath who is a Spirit-filled Southern Baptist who heads the CPSP Family Life program at Fort Hood, TX. From that time forward, my sense of "unfinished business" with the US Army was resurrected. In September of last year, I had a clear sense that I needed to contact a chaplain recruiter to inquire about the USAR chaplaincy. In early October 2008, I began the chaplain application process largely by phone calls with my recruiter who is stationed in Morrow, GA, and lots of Emails with lots of attachments. Your story about "hurry up," and one last item and another resonates. Like you, I applied for and received medical waivers as I have two cervical herniations and one lumbar herniation.

    I am age 49, I will turn 50 in July of this year. The May board was the absolute last board I could have received consideration by.

    Just recently, as in the past few days, my wife who is an LPN who had to "retire" early due to Macular Degeneration, and I have begun discussing the possibility of writing a book together. She is a gifted writer. I am a parish priest, hospice chaplain, pastoral counselor and educator and CPE supervisor-in-training and have been very active in disaster/crisis response ministry (CISM/NOVA/TSA/ARC), and I am a spiritual director/retreat leader. To borrow a CPE term, between us we have lots of "grist for the mill."

    My Email is frhager@iccec.org

    Your website has sort of inspired and confirmed Jeanne and my sense about writing together, I liked your "He said/She said." I like the intermingling of your narratives. This was what we sensed and envisioned for our writing.

    Bless you both and your family.

    We will be avid readers of your blog.

    Shalom,

    James+

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