18 years later, an Air Force Chaplain looks to supporting the ‘next generation’
I have been serving as a military chaplain for almost 12 years now, extending the ministry of the Alabama – West Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church into the darkest, most dangerous, and sometimes the most amazing and beautiful locations on God’s earth. For the past three years I have been serving as a Chaplain at Andrews Air Force Base – a base that supports the movement of the President, Vice President, all Cabinet secretaries, and top political and military leaders in their travels around the world.
For the majority of 2011, I served as the Wing and Installation Chaplain, making me responsible for an active duty chaplain team of 12,; a civilian staff of 9, 150; volunteers; a parish of 600; an on-base community of 20,000; and over 60,000 military and civilians, along with their families, in the National Capitol Region.
During my time at Andrews, I have assisted in services at the White House, the Pentagon, the National Archives, Ground Zero in New York City, and led funerals for World War II heroes at Arlington and Quantico National Cemeteries. I have also assisted the Center for Intrepid at Bethesda and received over 1,500 wounded warriors back to their homeland, arriving at their bedsides inside their airplanes just as they landed on the tarmac for their return home.
I was beneficiary of the Stegall Seminary Scholarship Foundation long before it became a reality. The good members of First United Methodist Church of Montgomery, Ala., during Dr. Karl K. Stegall’s tenure as senior pastor, channeled gifts to me during my two years at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. I was an early recipient of his efforts which helped me tremendously in reducing the amount of money that I had to borrow as a seminary student.
Even with that great help, along with the aid of the Sherman Scholarship program, it was still only last month, – 18 years later – that I was able to finally pay off in full my seminary loans. But I have done so, and within that same week received the beautiful promotional materials for the Stegall Foundation and knew the timing was providential.
It took no thought to immediately write a check to now begin my part to take care of the next generation of those who will continue the church of Jesus Christ. These new clergy members are inheriting a more deeply divided, war torn, and fallen world than I faced since my ordination in 1994.
I am very, very grateful for all the efforts of Dr. Karl K. Stegall, to those who’ve taken on his challenge over the years, and the Stegall Seminary Scholarship Foundation for sensing my need and relieving me of a great portion of my burden.
Grace, Peace, and Blessings on you all,
Chaplain Maj Jack Stanley, USAF
Andrews Air Force Base