Dear Chaplain Family,
Our relationship as members of the chaplain family is a proud and worthy one; it goes back for centuries, commemorating an act of thoughtfulness and kindness in a special time of need. From the time of that ancient event to the present day, as “people of the cape,” we have dedicated ourselves to service of a spiritual nature. It is important that the unique spiritual qualities which make humanity special, and really beautiful, be perpetuated and appropriately recognized.
The purpose of this letter to you is to propose a book of chaplain anecdotes which emphasizes an aspect of courage often overlooked. Actually, for over two-thousand years, courage has been recognized by Aristotle and others as basically a moral drive, more worthy than physical strength or prowess. This is not intended to denigrate our fighting troops, but to present chaplains in a manner quite different from the image sometimes created by disdainful comments, such as: “Go tell it to the chaplain.” True, for the most part, we have been accepted as important and first-class members of the team, but, too often, chaplains have been stereotyped and our story has not been presented by intimate, real-life anecdotes which share who we really are and what we do.
Chaplain anecdotes range from humor to pathos: “In a chapel service, the chaplain announced the offering, but turning to the altar found that the offering plates were not there, or even in the back rooms. What happened next? Some chaplain anecdotes may be quite serious: The Character Guidance presentation on sexuality by a chaplain was interrupted by an NCO in a raucous and belligerent manner, but the explosive situation was remarkably defused by the comment of a young soldier, to the chaplain’s great relief. Anecdotes may be tense: An airborne chaplain’s chute had not fully deployed; he unexpectedly found himself having to walk off the edge of another trooper’s chute and tumble into the darkness, and that was just the beginning! They may involve danger: The soldier explained his unprecedented presence in chapel by holding a bullet in his hand which almost killed him in a surprise raid that morning; They include sorrow and dying: The soldier had just been brought into a field hospital; two companions had tried to rescue him and had died in their attempts; he wanted to speak to a chaplain.
As you’ve briefly glanced at the above anecdotal snapshots, you may have been reminded of your own experiences, or those of others. Uniquely, your writing skills have probably been honed by many years of “chaplain’s corners” or other attention-getting scripts. We invite you, chaplain-family of any era, to send us one or more anecdotes to be considered for the chaplain anecdotes book. When enough well-written and representative anecdotes have been selected, the format of the book will be developed. The book will be a non-profit, for-charity venture; with profits beyond-cost donated to a charitable cause chosen by those whose writings have been accepted. It will consist of one-or-two page categorized anecdotes, which are chosen because they are well-written, interesting, and represent the very human but spiritual image of the chaplaincy. To participate you are invited to send one or more chaplain anecdotes, with your choice for a charitable donation. It would be well to include a few brief lines of information about yourself.
The Chaplain Stories book project is being organized by the undersigned committee members. We will read, edit and select the anecdotes to include in the book. The book publication process is under the direction of Wayne B. Jonas, M.D., a former Army family physician, who is the CEO and President of the Samueli Institute. The Samueli Institute is a non-profit medical research organization that seeks to create a flourishing society through the scientific exploration of wellness and whole person healing. Its efforts include health research and program evaluation for the U.S. military and the Veterans Affairs Administration. Dr. Jonas is lending his support and staff time to this project, in part, because he is also the son of U.S. Army chaplain Henry F. Jonas (1924-2009).
Submissions should be 1-2 typed pages in length (200-800 words). It is helpful for the editors if you can submit your anecdotes as a Microsoft WORD document via email. We will also accept anecdotes and stories by regular mail. Please include your name, address, email address and other contact information.
Please submit your anecdotes to: Warren Treuer, at email@example.com, or 5901 Mount Eagle Drive, Apartment 1608, Alexandria, VA, 22303. The documents may be sent any time prior to 15 February 2013, but an email, mail or telephone (703-960 1019) notice of intent will be helpful and appreciated.
WAYNE JONAS – HAROLD LAMM – WARREN TREUER – CLIFF WEATHERS