Author Archive for Chuck Heard

When you don’t know exactly what to say…

“ …do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew 10: 19-20 (NIV)


Presumably every chaplain and specialist has encountered a situation that demanded their attention but that also had no precedent in their pastoral experience or training. I was no exception.

In 1976 I was serving as the Protestant chaplain for the Turkish-US Logistics Detachment #4 in Sinop, Turkey. It was a small post, across the Black Sea from the Crimean peninsula of the U.S.S.R. I ministered, along with a Roman Catholic chaplain, to about 200 soldiers and civilians whose mission was highly classified.

Relations between the United States and the Republic of Turkey were tenuous because Turkey and Greece were fighting over territory in Cyprus, and because the Ford Administration had frozen Turkish assets in U.S. banks as an incentive to a peaceful resolution between two NATO members. In Sinop we did not know from one day to the next if our unit would be expelled from Turkey. It was no time for additional problems.

One day in the Spring a Turkish man came to our gate asking for a priest and an American doctor to come to his home. He said he thought a spell had been placed on his daughter. She had become paralyzed, he said, and must have an evil spirit. She had not moved from her bed in two days.

Our Catholic priest was away, visiting another detachment, so our commander sent me, a Methodist, with our post doctor to see if we could help. My chaplain assistant brought some candles, a brass cross, a Bible, a robe, and a prayer book for me, equipment we thought must be necessary for an exorcism which neither of us had ever witnessed or even discussed. We also had an interpreter who brought his dictionary.

The house was a small farmhouse with one room that was packed with Turkish people, presumably relatives. They all wanted to see what the Americans would do.

My assistant unpacked our exorcism kit while I put on my robe and lit the candles. Our doctor realized that he could not do a true exam on a young woman with Muslim rules in place, so he got his blood pressure pump out as a minimum.

The young lady was lying on an elongated window sill, fully dressed in her farm clothes, boots and all. She was unresponsive to any vocal commands, but the doctor said her blood pressure was normal for someone asleep. Our doctor told the father that he could do nothing further without a blood test at our little lab.

Then it was my turn. I bowed my head in prayer and asked God what in the world I should say? I recalled at that moment that Muslim people believed in the immutable will of God, so I said in a loud voice, “It is Allah’s will that she be happy !!” Our translator repeated this message to her parents, and then we solemnly left the farmhouse.

I was really happy to get back to our compound without further complications. Our little MP platoon was never more appreciated.

Two days later I heard from our interpreter that the young lady had made an amazing recovery. As soon as her father agreed that she could get married and leave the farm, she was fine. Just a little hungry.

The Turks treated us well after that incident. They donated Christmas trees for our chapel in December and came to our Christmas Eve service to listen to the carols. It was, at least, peace on our part of the earth. Thanks be to God.


John Brinsfield

Presidents’ News for April 8, 2022

  April is a sacred month this year with Ramadan (Islam), Passover (Judaism), Ridvan (Baha’i), Vaisakhi (Sikh), Ram Navani and Vaisakha Sankranti (Hindu), and Hoy Week and Easter (Christianity). What links these special moments together is hope. God insures hope for humanity. Despite wars, climatic changes, diseases, and more, God refuses to give up on his creation. Do you feel the love?

  As an association when we gather in person (as we will do Oct 25-28 in Tucson, AZ) I feel a reflection of that love in the presence of my friends across the years. COVID copped our last opportunity to meet but hope springs eternal with God. We come together to share stories, gain knowledge, see sights, encourage colleagues, and just have fun. Running with the theme of “Continuing in Service”, active and retired find a common ground where the Corps’ past and present meld into a stronger future for the Chaplain Corps. This event every two years is an important way for us to support God’s mission for Army folks. Registration is on this website. Every possible member present is the goal. See you in Tucson.

  Our website is constantly changing to provide better information. We are updating material, shifting the template, adding data, and archiving old articles to produce a faster, cleaner, easier source of membership and corps happenings. Please let us know how we can keep improving.
More to follow so keep checking this website. And don’t be surprised if we give you a call. We want to know how you’re doing, seek your input, and hope for your active participation as we reflect God’s love through hope in support of the Army Chaplain Corps.

Article for Membership by Pete Sniffin (2VP for Membership)

What is a Professional Association?

A professional association is an organization that gathers, edifies and bonds the members of a particular vocation or career field. Associations serve the broader interests of a vocation by advocating for that vocation, developing and disseminating professional informational and educational resources of the vocation, as well as providing a fraternal dynamic for members of the vocation to increase networking and fellowship opportunities. Professional associations can have a global, national or local reach. For example, the World Reformed Fellowship or the International Ministerial Association are examples of global ecclesiastical bodies. The American Bar Association, the American Medical Association or the Military Chaplain Association are examples of national professional bodies, whereas a local ministerial association in a neighboring community is an example of a local vocational or professional body. The U.S. Army Chaplain Corps Regimental Association (USACCRA) is the professional association for all those individuals, past and present, who have served in the career fields of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps; Chaplains, Chaplain Assistants / Religious Affairs Specialists and Directors of Religious Education. USACCRA’s professional membership includes all components of the Army; Active Duty, the U.S. Army Reserve and the Army National Guard.

What Does USACCRA Do?

Just as the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps has the three doctrinal imperative of Nurture, Care and Honor; the USACCRA has three professional imperatives. Those professional imperative are Promote, Honor and Support. The USACCRA serves the Chaplain Corps by promoting and publicizing its work in order to professionally advocate and advertise for the branch. The USACCRA serves the Chaplain Corps by honoring the distinguished achievements of members of the Army Chaplain Corps during both their military career and their follow-on callings, as well as remembering our members when they pass away. Finally, the USACCRA supports the Chaplain Corps by providing members with social, charitable and educational opportunities, as well as fellowship opportunities in local chapters and during annual national conferences. The association also provides support through ongoing ministry to Veterans, Soldiers and Army Families, as well as by providing key support to the Chaplain Corps Museum.

Why Should YOU Join USACCRA?

Membership in a professional association is actually so common in the Army, that members of the Army often take such membership for granted. For example, a vast majority of members of the Army community are members of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). AUSA is the Army’s collective professional association and it provides a voice for the Army with national leadership, as well as provides forums for professional, educational and fraternal activities. Member of other branches also routinely join professional associations like the Field Artillery Association, the Judge Advocates Association or the National Infantry Association to name a few. The USACCRA is YOUR branch’s professional association. While USACCRA has always had its three association imperatives, in recent years it has emphasized the fraternal dynamic and placed significant time and energy in maintaining the network of Chaplain Corps Alumni through local chapters and national conferences. Moving forward, the USACCRA seeks to maintain the strength of its networks while reenergizing the other collective ways and means by which it can and will support the branch through advocacy and educational initiatives. Joining USACCRA will place you on the crest of the wave that carries the professional, educational and fraternal interests of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps into its future. The Chaplain Corps needs a vibrant USACCRA to promote its interests, and the USACCRA needs you and your energy to promote the outstanding future of our branch.

How Can YOU Support USACCRA Membership?

The primary way YOU can support the professional association of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps is to ensure you are a member of USACCRA TODAY. You can join as an annual member or as life member. Life membership is more expensive up front, but it demonstrates your dedicated commitment to the professionalism of our branch and is the less expensive option over time in lieu of paying for an annual membership over multiple years. You can join USACCRA at the following link: Become A Member :: The United States Army Chaplain Corps Regimental Association ( Please see Dennis Madtes’s article for the dues amounts by rank. We look forward to YOU following into the professional ranks of the association.

There are also many other ways you can support USACCRA and its membership. As always, word of mouth advertising and influence is always most effective. After you join, please make it a point to personally share your membership in the association with other members of the Chaplain Corps, past and present, and of all components to include our Department of the Army civilians. If you personally recruit one new member a month, you will do a tremendous service to our branch and its professionalism. Second, you can share your activity in the USACCRA on your social media accounts. Use social media for public awareness with notes and pictures of your participation in USACCRA events. Support the USACCRA by sharing updates about its work. Keep abreast of USACCRA activities and initiatives, then share it with others when others comment on alternate Army professional associations. Support USACCRA by becoming a member of a local chapter enjoying the fellowship of that group. If you do not find a local chapter at your current assignment or in your community, please contact USACCRA so we can help you form a local chapter. Finally, when you mark significant events in your career field in the Chaplain Corps, please contact the USACCRA leadership and let us know, so that we can publicly celebrate your achievements. If your achievement is a presentation or publication, also let us know so that we can advertise it. These are some ways YOU can advance the USACCRA. Please know we are eager to have both your membership and your ideas as we move forward advancing a significant future for USACCRA and the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps.

Dues Structure and More by Dennis Madtes (Treasurer)

Membership is open to all US Army ministry team members, active duty, retired, and non-retired. If qualified, you can join and pay your dues at this link:

Annual dues:

Membership E1-E4, GS 1-4: $20 per year

Membership E5-E7, 01-03, GS 5-6: $35 per year

Membership E8-E9, 04-05, GS 7-11: $50 per year

Membership 06-08, GS 12 – SES: $65 per year

Life membership is also available.

Under age 55: $500

Age 56 – 65: $400

Age 65 and older: $300

You can also pay your dues by sending a check to the USACCRA Treasurer, Dennis W. Madtes, 4112 Goldmine Rd, Goldvein, VA 22720.

CH (COL-R) Scottie Lloyd, President

Scottie Lloyd served for over 30 years, Active and Reserve, with the Army as an infantry officer and primarily as a chaplain (1975-2012). Overseas he served in Germany Korea, Haiti, Kuwait, and on special assignment to a variety of places in the Middle East. His last position was as the Director of Personnel and Ecclesiastical Relations for the Army Chief of Chaplains retiring in May 2012.

He possesses a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, a Master of Divinity degree from Christ Seminary-Seminex, a graduate of the USA Command and General Staff School, a Masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, is a graduate of the Army Clinical Pastoral Education program (4 units), and is nearly finished with a Certificate in Archaeological Excavation from Palomar College (San Marcos).  

He is endorsed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Scottie is married to Karen (Anders) Lloyd with two sons and two grandchildren. Scottie serves in a variety of organizations both locally and nationally primarily supporting military veterans and the poor.


CH (COL-R) Mark Roeder, Secretary

CH (COL-R) Mark Roeder currently serves as the pastor of Grace Church, United Church of Christ in Ft. Wright, Kentucky. Mark joined the Army Chaplain Corps in June 1990 and culminated his career serving as the Deputy Commandant, US Army Chaplain Center and School. Just before his retirement, he was honored as a local Hometown Hero at a Cincinnati Reds ballgame, a highlight of his career coordinated by the US Army Chaplain Center and School Staff. Prior to his stint as an Army chaplain, he served as a hospital chaplain, as well as the Associate Pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Cincinnati. In addition to his pastoral duties, Mark currently serves as the Coordinator for the local UCC Clergy Group. He and his wife Susan are enjoying life in Ft. Thomas, KY, located just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio. Susan and Mark are the proud parents of two adult daughters.

Gerri Merkel, Member-at-Large

Ms. Gerri (Caroline) Merkel, claims Nebraska as her home state.

From 1984-2014, Gerri served as a Director of Religious Education with the USA Chaplain’s Office – 20 ½ years in Germany (Augsburg, Bremerhaven, Bad Kreuznach, and Hanau) and 9 ½ years at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, retiring in 2014 with 30 years of service.

A particular growth-giving, and spiritual experience of serving as a DRE was ministering ecumenically with the many denominations/faith groups, and supporting the Chaplains, military and their families. It was/is indeed a privilege to do so.

She presently resides in Havre de Grace, Maryland. Soon she hopes to move back to Nebraska to be closer to family.

Pete Sniffin, VP for Membership

Chaplain Sniffin holds a B.A. in English from the Virginia Military Institute, a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), a Master of Military Art & Science from the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA. He is also a graduate of the The Hill School in Pottstown, PA where he now serves as a member of the Board of Visitors. He is also a former Board Member of the National D Day Memorial and Reformed Theological Seminary’s Chaplain Ministry Institute.

Chaplain Sniffin retired after 36+ years commissioned service in the U.S. Army. His last duty assignments included Assistant Professor In the Department of Command, Leadership & Management and College Chaplain for the U.S. Army War College; the 41st Commandant of the U.S. Army Chaplain Center & School where he led the institution to its first-ever recognition as an Army “Institution of Excellence;” Director of the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Center, and as the Chief of Religious Support Operations for the Afghanistan combat theater.

Chaplain Sniffin has served as an ordained Teaching Elder from the Eastern Pennsylvania Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) for 31 years. Currently, Chaplain Sniffin serves as the Senior Advisor for Chaplain Outreach for Ligonier Ministries and as an Adjunct Professor of Leadership for Liberty University.

Chaplain Sniffin is married to the former Rose Marie Finney of Rocky Mount, VA. They have two college-aged daughters: Olivia and Amelia. 

Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) Karen J. Diefendorf, VP for Local Chapters

Following the completion of her recall to active duty, January 2014, she served a Tyson Prepared Foods plant as a part-time chaplain while also serving as a chaplain with Hospice Care of South Carolina. She completed her formal pastoral career as Director, Chaplain Services for Tyson Foods, Inc., directing the largest corporate chaplain program in the world, retiring in April 2021.

She continues active ministry by hosting a weekly radio program, “Encounters With God” on Wreaths Across America Radio and serving on five boards, Wreaths Across America, Philippine Mission of the Churches of Christ, US Army Chaplain Corps Regimental Association, Marsh Center for Chaplain Studies, and Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality at the University of Arkansas.

She holds an undergraduate degree in Christian Education and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Lincoln (IL) Christian College and Seminary (now Lincoln Christian University) and a Master of Sacred Theology in Christian Ethics from Yale University. Karen completed all residency requirements for the Doctor of Ministry degree from Lexington Theological Seminary. She was honored to receive an honorary Doctor of Theology degree from Seoul Christian University, Seoul, South Korea.

She is married to husband, Walt, for 44 years and they have three adult children and six grandchildren.

Dennis W. Madtes, Treasurer

Proud father of three Army sons and retired Army Chaplain with a specialty in resources management. After retiring, he continued in resources management working in positions at US Special Operations Command, US Africa Command, and currently HQ Marine Corps Program and Resources in the Pentagon. Active in the American Legion he just completed three years as the Commander of the largest American Legion in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He serves as the membership chairman for the post of more than 1480 members. Most importantly, he holds the position of Retired Pastor in the Church of the Nazarene.