LOCAL CHAPTERS SUPPLEMENT THE CONTACT BETWEEN THE REUNIONS
Anyone who enjoys attending the biennial reunions of the Chaplaincy Family will enjoy being a part of a local chapter of USACCRA. Local chapter meetings are smaller groups who live within a reasonable distance of each other who get together informally occasionally to pursue the same commitment as the entire USACCRA:
To life-long fellowship with our Chaplaincy Colleagues;
To a continuing ministry to Soldiers and their Families; and
To promoting the legacy of the past and the ministry of the present Chaplaincy
Those in each local chapter decide where they will meet, how often they meet, and when they meet. Different locations offer differing opportunities for ministry to soldiers and their families, since some of the chapters are a long way from an army installation. On the other hand, there are always stories of heroes with special needs that local chapters can adopt. But it is up to each chapter to make that decision. Stories of shared experiences seem to come up, even when those discussing them were never assigned at the same place at the same time. There is a quick affiliation with new people because of our common commitment to ministry in the army.
We currently have active local chapters in the areas of Anniston, Alabama, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, San Antonio, and two chapters in the Atlanta area. Two of our colleagues are attempting to create a chapter in southern California, and there has been discussion of one at Columbia, SC/Fort Jackson. Anyone in any of these areas interested in learning more about these chapters can contact me for further information.
Chaplains, chaplain assistants, Directors of Religious Education, and family members of each of these groups are leaders! Leadership is a major part of what made us successful in the army. Let me encourage some of you to step up where you live and start a new local chapter. You will find that it is one of the easiest things you have ever done.
All you have to do to start a chapter is to contact me, and I will send you some names we have on our list of those who live in your vicinity. Your task is to contact them, agree on a place and time to meet, and voila! You will have started a local chapter. The group that meets the first time is likely to know others in the area who aren’t on our list. You contact them and grow from there. Again, the group decides how often and where to meet. You set your own goals. And if you have no fund raising programs, there is no need for a treasurer, since all the meals are Dutch treats. Start out keeping it simple. If you become larger and most confident, there will be time to make yourselves more complex—but not at first.
I am about to start my last year as Vice President for Local Chapters. I’d like your help to build on what we have already started in the Regimental Association. You will find that local chapters provide more personal fellowship and opportunities for supporting each other in times of crisis than the larger reunion group possibly can. The two levels supplement each other.