A large number of RCA ministers serve outside of traditional congregations. They are endorsed by the RCA to the specialized ministry of chaplain, and their ministry takes place in various organizations and settings including:
- Military (Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, and Military Chaplain Candidates)
- Corrections (Federal, State, and Local)
- Pediatric and/or Adults with Disabilities
- Public Safety – Law Enforcement, Fire Fighting, Disaster Relief, and First Responder
- Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) – Senior Independent and Assisted Living – Memory Care – Skilled Nursing
- Veterans Administration (VA)
- Workplace – Industrial – Corporate – Community
- Residential Treatment
- Chaplain Candidates or CPE Residents
- Transitional, Retired, or Bi-vocational
- Clinical Pastoral Education Educators
- Association of Professional Chaplains Board Certified Chaplains (BCC)
The highly committed and well-trained clergy serving in these unique settings carry out the ministry and mission of the Reformed Church in America in places that often do not have local churches for people who otherwise may never attend a church.
Chaplains minister to persons who represent a broad spectrum of religious preferences, and they facilitate the religious observance of others whose religious needs they cannot meet directly. They almost always work in the context of a multi-faith team.
Reformed Church chaplains are grounded in their own theological tradition and have a joyful and unapologetic faith commitment, a strong pastoral identity, and a sense of mission to those they serve. Their appointment and continuation as chaplains is contingent upon the approval of the denomination through a process called “ecclesiastical endorsement.” This assures that each chaplain is fully qualified to represent his or her faith group.
Every year all who have been endorsed and certified by the RCA’s Supervisor of Chaplain Ministries to exercise the ministry of chaplain are expected to attend an annual RCA Chaplains Conference. This gathering provides a nurturing place of mutual support and accountability as well as renewal and networking possibilities for participants. The conference provides a place to experience a variety of learning models through theological reflection, and participants identify the experiences as transformative and challenging. The chaplains return to their workplace refreshed and better equipped for their various ministries.
Ecclesiastical endorsement, provided for ordained ministers serving in the specialized ministry of chaplaincy, is the denomination’s official certification of a chaplain’s suitability for this specialized ministry.
For more information contact: Rev. Dr. Alan T. “Blues” Baker, firstname.lastname@example.org