Archive for January 2014

Retirement of Jack Williamson

Retirement of Jack Williamson

Executive Director of the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces

On April 1 2014, Jack Williamson will retire as Executive Director of NCMAF after 15 years in that position. Every chaplain, active and reserve, has been touched by Jack’s ministry in this position. NCMAF is one of the most unique gatherings of religious communities in the United States and maybe in the world. Religious communities of all strips who endorse chaplains for military duty owe Jack a hearty and blessed “Thank you” for the work he has done over these 15 years.

Jack and the NCMAF Board work many issues for the endorsing community, many of them are complex and religiously sensitive. He is the interface between the endorsers, the Service Chaplaincies, the Armed Forces Chaplains Board and the Department of Defense. Maintaining communications with and among these groups – all have their agendas and priorities – is like navigating a mine field without a proven mine detector. Jack has done this very well working through some difficult issues and relationships.

I had the privilege of working with Jack as a member of the Board for six years and the Board Chair for three years. Our professional relationship was soon a relationship of friends and colleagues who had deep respect for each other and a love for the mission of NCMAF – To help the endorsers send into the military the best from their faith communities to serve the men and women in the Uniformed Services of the US Military.

We, the membership of the United States Army Chaplain Corps Regimental Association, thank you Jack for your service to the chaplaincy and the churches. We wish you God’s Blessings as you move to continued ministry and in your well deserved retirement.

Dr. Charles Hedrick Thank You

Thank You to Dr. Charles Hedrick

Retiring USACCRA Treasurer

We, the Board and membership of USACCRA thank Dr. Charles Hedrick for his magnificent, diligent, responsible and humble service as our Treasurer for the past several years. Charles is one of the gems of the chaplaincy. He is a scholar, a teacher, a chaplain and a wonderful colleague. Listed below are some of his accomplishments he states them on his blog.

“I was educated at a small Southern Baptist liberal arts college in the deep south (Mississippi College, Clinton, Mississippi, 1958) and a Southern Baptist Seminary (Golden Gate, Mill Valley, California, 1962). After seminary, I was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Needles, California for three years, resigning to return to my studies in 1965. I worked as a Deputy Probation Officer in Los Angeles County (Juvenile Probation) for 13 years while I completed an M.A. at the University of Southern California (1968) and a Ph.D. at Claremont Graduate School (1977).

I retired as a U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain (Colonel) after 30 years’ service. My highest award was the “Legion of Merit.” I have served as pastor of churches in Mississippi, California, and New York City. In December 2004, I retired from teaching in the Religious Studies Department at Southwest Missouri State University, where I taught classes related to Christian Origins.

My research interests are Christian Origins. I taught classes in that subject at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri from 1980-2004 (viz., Jesus of Nazareth, New Testament Introduction, Parables, Gnosticism, etc.). My publications have been primarily in the areas of Gospels, Nag Hammadi, Gnosticism, the Graeco-Roman world, and related topics.

My first book on parables, Parables as Poetic Fictions, raises what I regard as substantive significant issues for the study of the parables, which is the backbone of the Jesus tradition. Another book, The Gospel of the Savior is the first publication of a fragmentary gospel manuscript, written in Coptic, whose composition dates before the latter half of the second century C.E. I found in fragments languishing in the West Berlin (Germany) Egyptian Museum.

When History and Faith Collide is an inductive study for students that describes the problems of describing Jesus of Nazareth as a historical human being. The book is intended to help students engage the problems for themselves.

My second book on parables, Many Things in Parables establishes a consistent theory for a literary approach to Parables and is written for the non-specialist.

My three most recent books stumble into the subject of what to do with the earliest Jesus traditions. House of Faith or Enchanted Forest? is a collection and revision of newspaper articles I published in the local newspaper critiquing unreflective Christian belief. When Faith Meets Reason is an edited work in which I challenged contributors to be completely honest about what they really believed. My latest book, Unlocking the Secrets of the Gospel according to Thomas shows the remarkable way the Jesus traditions were understood at the end of the first century in one early Christian text.

I am currently (2013) writing the last chapter of a new book now tentatively titled: The Wisdom of Jesus. Between the Sages of Israel and the Apostles of the Church..

Happy New Year

Free-Happy-New-Year-eCardsDear Chaplain Family,

The year 2013 has gone. The New Year 2014 has arrived. We made a lot of progress as an organization in 2013. We had a more stable year than the year 2012 so much of what you will never see, because he Board worked well together, has made us a better more responsive organization. Our finances are in much better shape thanks to our Treasurer, Charles Hedrick( who will be replaced by  Glen Holliday; our records have been more accurate thanks to our Secretary, Hal Roller;  our membership is contacted and new members called by Paul Howe; our local chapters are growing through the work of Tom Smith; Ina Jansen is working with other wives to include our widows more in our family activities; Alan Buckner and Larry Toelstede and many members in Atlanta are working hard on this year’s conference; GT keeps us in contact with the chiefs office; and the best news of the year is the better communications thanks to the work of Dan DeBlock and our web page. The rest of the Board does what is necessary and possible in our area.

I think we had a great 2013and I hope you will join me in Thanking the Board members.

They year 2014, will have as its highlight our getting together in Atlanta. Our pray is that many of you will plan to join us for this event. We are planning to make it fun and relaxing, but it will only be a success, if you are there with your friendship, stories, and laughter. Have a blessed New Year and see you in Atlanta.