For over 12 years I have served as a chaplain for the Rogers AR Police Department. For two of those twelve years the department had a chief that tried to kill the program. But relationships don’t die that easily, and I, along with some of the other chaplains, continued to serve the spiritual needs of members of the department. Now, for almost two years under the current chief’s administration, the chaplain program has been restored, but only to the extent that we can be called out to minister to families in time of loss. The other role, ministry to the officers and support staff, is still officially in limbo.
But ministry to the officers has not stopped. Some officers still want to talk about their circumstances, and know that their chaplains are there, and can be trusted to bring godly counsel with confidentiality. True ministry is born out of relationship, and on that basis RPD became, in a very real sense, my parish, in spite of administration’s efforts to the contrary.
During the last several months two things have happened that are changing the course of my ministry as chaplain. The first has come as a real surprise to me and involves, for some reason, my inability to connect with the current chief, who would rather not have me leading the chaplain program, a role I have held since the program’s inception.
The second is no surprise, and that is that Sheriff-elect Kelley Cradduck has asked me to lead the chaplain ministry at BCSO. I told Marsha, last night, that perhaps God was using RPD’s chief’s animosity toward me as a way to make sure I don’t spread myself too thin by trying to serve both departments.
Regardless, relationships with many officers at RPD are established, and won’t evaporate under the circumstances. Though my ROLE is changing, my love for the department will not, and I will continue to be available to the men and women in the department, should they choose to call on me.
Meanwhile, it’s a new opportunity, though in some ways it’s not. A number of deputies are former RPD officers, and I’m looking forward to serving them in an official capacity again. And, in the absence of the current SO chaplain I have taken a number of calls for the department already.
To the men and women at Rogers I will always be grateful. I was accepted by you and was able, out of that acceptance, to serve. Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to be there for you. I always will be, if you ever need me. And, to the men and women at BCSO, I look forward to being there for you in the future.
God bless both departments, and all the men and women who serve in our county.