As one might suspect, "Chaplaincy" is as fragmented as Christianity itself, the Chaplaincy dating back to AD 700's - with French etymology of the actual word "Chaplain".
It has always been about ministering to those in Government, and those in situations not within a "local Church" situation: thus the terms "Chaplain-&-Chapel" are used instead of the "Pastor-&-Church", though very similar.
This Chaplaincy predates ALL religious institutions except the Catholic, Armenian and Coptic Churches. It took various forms in each nation - and after the Protestant Reformation - it even took a different pathway within each Denomination. Thus Chaplaincy is split-&-Splintered tremendously in terminology.
Thus there are 10,000 organizations in the USA alone - who can "Ordain you to Chaplaincy." Each Denomination has their own standards, and sadly there are many different names for the rankings, though thankfully, they all are quite similar.
However, even though there are thousands of little organizations in operation, there are a dozen major-players, and half of these are secular and homosexual-oriented! Some are barely Christian, some are Christian "in Name-&-Creed only."
Most Chaplain organizations are like the YMCA - Young Men's Christian Association - very Christian on paper, but not in the least in practice. Some are even non-Christian and Anti-Christian.
In fact there is only one other major Chaplaincy organization that we recommend fully - the largest one - who is great in every way. Sadly, they are also the most expensive, requiring dues of 5% of your income during candidacy and as long as you are a Chaplain, even the rest of your life!
(They are CFGC if you want to check them out)
So "IF" sincere Christianity matters, and unless you are in your own Denominational Program (also usually long and expensive, like their regular (Ministerial Ordination), we think we are the best, fastest, lowest cost, least hassle, most-ministry-oriented, Chaplain Program in existence!
In fact, as you "shop the web" for a Chaplaincy Program . . . if you find even a better "part-of-a-program" . . . if you let us know what it is, we will get the better idea incorporated into our own Chaplain Program as soon as possible, and reward you for it!
At Cambridge Theological Seminary, we chose the best of all systems with names that "make sense" to common people, not versed in 1300 years of Chaplaincy. We believe our "Simplified System" - staying true to "history", it's "purposes" and "God's Word" is what is accelerating us to soon be the largest Chaplaincy Program in the USA (by middle of 2010 perhaps)
So however you found us (we do not advertise, perhaps 90% is by recommendation & referrals - Hopefully the Good Lord led you here!) you came to the right place for "Civilian Chaplaincy"
(The U.S. Military-&-Prison Chaplain Program is extremely expensive, complicated, takes over 10 years, and requires "political appointments." We don't want any ministry where all of your hard work - and our investment in you - all comes down to a "political appointment" made on whim because of favors owed to whomever!)
We applaud you - if this is your choice - and we can help you greatly get more than half-way there, but ultimately the "Civilian Chaplaincy" is our major thrust.
[NOTE: Our programs are designed for those of full-age, mature, working, maybe married with children/grandchildren, a home, bills, mature and with responsibility. [If you are age-20, single, college-partying age, non-working or irresponsible, please seek a different direction.]
Please get these designations well-understood before moving on in your studies toward being Ordained "Full-Chaplain".
There have been American Chaplains" longer than there has been a United States of America!
The history of Army Chaplains throughout the War for Independence is a chronicle of sacrifice and service. Early American Ministers frequently raised military units from their own Church Congregations or localities, and often led them in battle.
These early American Ministers were truly the foundation of the new nation, urging the 13 colonies to "Go Forward!" and become the Kingdom of God on Earth where Jesus Christ was the "Only King!" These Ministers bore their suffering and knew hunger, loneliness, imprisonment, defeat, wounds, death - as they Ministered the Gospel - but eventually gained ultimate victory.
FIRST AMERICAN CHAPLAINS:
The story of the Revolutionary War Chaplains begins at Lexington Green and Concord Bridge on 19 April l775. A number of New England Ministers served at Concord.
> > Reverend William Emerson, was the first true Military Chaplain;
> > Reverend Joseph Thaxter was soon after wounded at Bunker Hill;
> > Reverend Edmund Foster, was a theological student who joined the Colonial Cause;
> > Likewise did the Reverend Doctor Philips Payson.
The latter three not only ministered to the famous Minutemen, but also "shouldered their muskets, and fought like common soldiers." It was written of Reverend Doctor Philips Payson: "Seizing a musket he put himself at the head of a party, and led them forward to the attack."
William Emerson served at Concord in the capacity of a Chaplain only, and so has the distinction of being the first Revolutionary War Chaplain.
He later died in the line of duty.
The American Revolutionary Army was built on the old militia system - a plan for utilizing every able-bodied man regardless of age or occupation in life. First to be called were the Minutemen, the younger and more active third of the militia. Next were the militia proper, and finally those deferred until the last, the "Alarm List."
These were the old men, magistrates, paupers (who could not afford to arm themselves), and the Ministers. Some Ministers distinguished themselves by actually fighting in the Alarm List, as did those who led the "Old Men of Monotomy" at Lexington and Concord.
Scores of others were not content to wait for action with this home guard, but joined the Minutemen or militia: Some fighting, others simply as Ministers of religion, but all without military status.
The Reverend Benjamin Balch of Danvers, Massachusetts, for example, served as a lieutenant in an Alarm Company commanded by a Deacon, Captain Edmund Putnam. Following Lexington, Balch volunteered to be the Chaplain of Colonel Ephraim Doolittle's Regiment. In 1778 he became the first Chaplain in the fledgling American Navy.
When George Washington assumed command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts, Chaplains were already present for duty. Washington counted fifteen Chaplains serving with the twenty-three regiments gathered around Boston his journal records.
The Continental Congress gave the Chaplains its official recognition on 29 July l775, when it voted pay for various officers and enlisted personnel in the Continental Army not previously covered in its resolution of l6 July. The reference is to dollars per month, and it reads: "Chaplain 20."
This was the same sum paid Captains and Judge Advocates, and it was the first official recognition of Chaplains by an American government. As such it is considered the birth date of the Chaplaincy.
The Honorable Continental Congress having been pleased to allow
> > a Chaplain to each Regiment, with the
> > pay of Thirty-Three-and-one-third-dollars per month -
> > The Colonels or commanding officers of each regiment are directed to procure Chaplains accordingly;
> > persons of good Characters and exemplary lives -
> > To see that all inferior officers and soldiers pay them a suitable respect
> > and attend carefully upon religious exercises.
Washington said: "The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary, but especially so in times of public distress and danger."
"The General hopes and trusts (Washington often spoke of himself in third-person), that every officer and man, will endeavor so to live, and act as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country."
At the outset of the war, each colony had its own plan for the Chaplaincy, or hastily improvised one.
Virginia established its Militia Regimental Chaplaincy by legislative act in 1758 at the request of Colonel George Washington, yet no Chaplains seem to have been appointed until 1776.
Connecticut had regimental Chaplains appointed by the Governor.
Massachusetts had several systems operating at the same time. The official plan was to rotate the duty among the Ministers of the established Congregational Church. Each clergyman was paid by his parish while neighboring pastors substituted in his pulpit.
Rhode Island had at first no Chaplains, but soon two brigade Chaplains were chosen by the brigade officers. They were Chaplain John Murray, who served without pay, and Chaplain John Martin, who appeared on the rolls as a surgeon.
The New Hampshire troops surrounding Boston chose a local minister as their Chaplain. The only consistent principle was that the Chaplain should represent, if possible, the religious sentiment of the troops he served.
When Congress, in 1777, desired to substitute brigade Chaplains for regimental Chaplains, (reducing the number of Chaplains by 80%) General George Washington protested that the measure might introduce religious disputes, and that the regimental arrangement "gives every regiment an opportunity of having a Chaplain of their own religious sentiments, it is founded on a plan of a more generous toleration ... a Brigade ... composed of four or five, perhaps in some instances six regiments, there might be so many different modes of worship."
From 1775 to 1783 the Chaplains' story parallels that of the Revolutionary Army. Between 222 and 238 served in the American cause. Chaplains were to be found in every campaign and on every battlefield in the long conflict: Bunker Hill, Quebec, White Plains, Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Saratoga, Monmouth, King's Mountain, Camden, Yorktown.
> > accompanying the soldiers into battle,
> > accompanying on the march,
> > encouraging as the trials of war found them
> > preaching in camp,
> > visiting and caring for the sick,
> > visiting and caring for the wounded,
> > and ministering to the dying.
On 2 January 1777, John Rosbrugh was killed in the second battle of Trenton, the first American Chaplain killed during the Revolution.
The Revolution, which began with a haphazard system of volunteer preachers, closed with an organized system of brigade Chaplains. From an original captain's rate of $20 a month, the pay advanced to that of a colonel. Article 4 of the Original Rules and Articles of War, adopted 20 September l776, referred to "Every Chaplain who is commissioned to a regiment, company, troop, or garrison."
In addition to these, the Continental Army had
> > hospital Chaplains,
> > a German Chaplain at large,
> > a Chaplain missionary to the friendly Indians, and
> > one division Chaplain at Headquarters (Israel Evans).
> > All were Protestant except the Chaplain of a Canadian regiment, and a volunteer Chaplain in the West, who were Roman Catholic.
A Canadian priest, the Reverend Louis Eustace Lotbiniere, was the first Roman Catholic Chaplain. Over sixty years of age and a priest of the Diocese of Quebec when Canada was invaded by Generals Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery, he espoused the American cause at great financial loss.
Although he and the members of the two Canadian regiments raised for the American Army suffered excommunication by Bishop Briand, he served throughout the entire war. After the war he lived in Philadelphia in poverty, dying in l786 at the age of seventy-one years.
As the war drew to its close Chaplains continued to play an important and visible role. During the siege at Yorktown, Chaplain Israel Evans was partially buried by an exploding cannonball. Washington having witnessed the incident recommended that the Chaplain keep his tattered hat as a souvenir for his family.
And, on that great day when peace finally came, 19 April l783 - eight arduous years to the day after Concord Bridge - Chaplain John Gano led the assembled personnel in a prayer of thanksgiving for independence and victory from the doorway of the first Army chapel, the "Temple of Virtue," at the Commander-in-Chief's headquarters in Newburgh, New York.
This chapel was built to accommodate a brigade for worship.
Planned by Chaplain Evans and approved by General Washington on Christmas Day, l782, it was built by a Colonel Tupper from materials gathered by a Major Rochefontaine. The materials were obtained by trading alcohol for building supplies: "one-half ration and gill of rum had been given for each 10 feet of timber."
On 15 February 1783, General Orders stated: "The New Building being so far finished as to admit troops to attend public worship therein, after tomorrow it is directed that Divine Services should be performed therein every Sunday by the several Chaplains of the New Windsor cantonment in rotation."
The Chaplains of the Revolution, who had so well served in the crisis of war, also helped in the development of the new nation.
Former Chaplain Abraham Baldwin represented Georgia in l787 at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and was one of the 39 signers of the Constitution. He became a Senator and a founder of the University of Georgia.
His brother-in-law, Joel Barlow, late Chaplain of the 4th Massachusetts Brigade, became a poet and hymn writer of distinction and represented his country in diplomatic missions to France, England, and during the Barbary War.
Nathan Strong became a figure of stature in his church and editor of the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine.
Timothy Dwight, a Chaplain and noted hymn writer, became one of Yale's more famous presidents and was instrumental in the religious revival that later swept that campus and all of New England.
Israel Evans became Chaplain of the New Hampshire General Court.
Thus we see that the Ministry of Chaplaincy as a very noble, grand and glorious history, and has long been recognized as an important ministry apart from "local Church Ministry".