This section is for assisting presbyteries. We designed it to help Presbytery Executives, Stated Clerks, and Committees working with pastors or individuals preparing for ministry to discern an individual call to be a military or VA chaplain. As we work with four different denominational structures, please accept our apology if we are not using the correct term for you situation.
Authority and Roles of Presbyteries and the PCCMP
- US Laws governing Veteran Affairs Chaplains, Military Chaplains, and Civil Air Patrol Chaplains require the national denomination to endorse federal chaplains. The Office of the General Assemblies of our four denominations yearly designated that authority to the PCCMP to execute these endorsements on their behalf. This power includes the authority to provide and to withdraw endorsements.
- Church government clearly requires ministers to maintain membership and standing with their presbytery. Ministers serving as military, VA, or Federal Prison chaplains are still subject to the presbytery’s requirements and discipline. The PCCMP does not act to grant or withdraw endorsement without consulting a chaplain’s presbytery.
- We act on behalf of presbyteries to provide assistance and support for chaplains, especially those working outside the bounds of their presbyteries. This support includes career guidance and pastoral support in times of crisis.
The PCCMP seeks to act in the genuine interest of chaplains, and to work with presbyteries to form a cooperative relationship.
Working with VA, Military Chaplains and Seminarians
- Click here if you are working with a VA or Federal Prison Chaplain.
- Click here if you are working with a Military Chaplain.
- Click here if you are working with a Seminarian or individual in preparation for ordination.
Copy of Presbytery Approval for Ecclesiastical Endorsement
Working Discipline Issues.
Our hope and expectation is that this will never be an issue. However, it happens. When a military chaplain faces discipline issues, the commander has several different choices for reporting those issues and administering punishment. This can result in confusion between presbyteries and our office.
Our office, upon notification that a chaplain is being investigated, will first seek to provide appropriate ministerial support to the chaplain and family. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, further steps maybe required by the presbytery and our office.
If a commander selects not to bring charges or to use an administrative discipline, the outcome and even the investigation will most likely not be reported publicly. On the other hand, if the issue does become public record, we will work with the presbytery in question to handle the situation appropriately.
If we are asked to withdraw the endorsement of the chaplain by the military, we will consult with the presbytery. On the other hand, if the presbytery feels it is appropriate, it too can request us to withdraw the endorsement as well. All of our chaplains must be in good standing with their presbytery to be endorsed.
1) How do we process the Presbytery Permission for the Chaplain Candidate Program Form or the Presbytery Approval for Chaplaincy Form through our presbytery structure?
Each presbytery has its own procedures. We typically would urge you to use whatever system you have in place for review of calls for pastors or your committee responsible for individuals in preparation for ministry. The only problem with this is with the Veterans Affairs Chaplaincy endorsement.
2) Why are VA Endorsements a problem?
The structure of the VA job notification system requires individuals to submit application in matter of days. When a position is listed on USA Job Website, the applicant must submit everything in less than two weeks. Often this requires us to rush the endorsement process. Many presbyteries have had the Stated Clerk or the Presbytery Executive sign off on the permission/approval form as a result.
3) We haven’t heard from our chaplain in years, should we remove him as an active pastor?
Please contact us if this is your case. You should be and stay connected to your chaplains. The reality is that given deployments, changes in duty stations and jobs, combined with life events, we become disconnected from each other. If you have lost contact with your chaplain, give us a call and we will work to reconnect you.